A CWMBRAN man made the most of the coronavirus lockdown, but setting up his own bike repair business in his garden shed.

Nathan Shephard, 28, decided he wanted a change of direction after he was laid off from his previous job in January 2019 due to an injury.

Inspired by time spent with his grandfather building and taking things apart, as well as his own love of cycling, Mr Shephard decided to launch his own repair business.

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“I have always been into bikes and have a very mechanical mind,” said Mr Shephard. “As a child, I was always taking toys apart and putting them back together again and I used to build things with my Gramp – Ray Burt – in his garage.

“I think this spurred me on to start this business and I was driven by a firm belief that if you enjoy your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.

“It’s very therapeutic to see a problem with a bicycle and get it working again.

“I had one customer who had been to a large cycle shop and was told repairs would cost £200. I checked it over and was able to do the work for a fraction of that.

“There’s not really any places that do bicycle maintenance around here, so I went for it and here I am today.

“I've just moved house, and luckily the previous tenant had a big shed round the back of the house.

“My ultimate goal is to have a shop and sell bicycles and do repairs.”

With the help of Communities for Work Plus (CfW+), Mr Shephard was able to apply for a grant of £1,500 to cover his training qualifications, and he completed his platinum qualification in December 2019.

Working with CfW+, Mr Shephard was able to put together a business plan, secure insurance and purchase tools to get his business off the ground.

And in May, Mr Shephard was ready to open for business.

“Some of the information you get when you start a business is overwhelming,” he said.

“Thankfully, Torfaen Council’s Communities for Work Plus programme helped make it so much easier. I really can’t thank them enough.

“At first there were a lot of customers – at one point I had about 15 or 20 bikes booked in and was a bit washed off my feet.

“Everyone is out on their bikes at the moment, and need them in top condition.

“It’s going really well.”

For more information or to book your bicycle in for a repair, you can call Shephard’s Bike Maintenance on 07367 180775.