HAVING one bike in bits in the back garden is enough to drive some people mad – imagine having 130 there!
That is what one Hattersley man – and his very understanding other half – face after a project to replace stolen bikes gained a life of its own.
Michael Woods established the Hyde Bike Project in January after reading about a child having his stolen tugged at his heart strings.
Little did he know just how well it would go down, to the point where he has had to rename it the Tameside Bike Project.
And as well as bikes, he is now sorting out wheelchairs and mobility scooters for the disabled.
“I started it on January 26 after seeing a post on Facebook from a young child who had his bike stolen,” said Michael.
“I had to say I could help him, so I built a bike for him and handed it over. Since then, it’s gone completely nuts.
“Now we’ve handed out more than 350 bikes, four wheelchairs, two mobility scooters and three bath chairs!
“Now we’re sorting out wheelchairs for people too and someone had a three-wheeled trike.
“The chair was bad for weeks and weeks, so I was looking for her and her family. Eventually, I found her a new chair and gave it to her and her family.
“I’ve even started doing recovery of things within five miles home. Say someone gets a puncture and need it fixing, I’ll happily go out and help them.
“And I’m working on an order for a school at the moment so my kitchen is a bit of a bomb site too!”
Even after Michael formed the bike project, he was told by some people not to bother.
However, a desire to help meant he shrugged off the doubters and has gone from strength to strength, with the prospects of national holiday firm Center Parcs coming to an agreement with him.
One thing he is definitely not in it for, though, is the money.
Michael added: “We’ve had our ups and downs. People said to me, ‘Give up,’ but I don’t give up.
“Seeing people having bikes stolen and struggling made me think, ‘I’ve got to do something’.
“I also know that people can’t really be spending silly money on replacing what they’ve either had taken or got that’s not in a good condition, that’s where we come in.
“We kept on coming across people having their bikes stolen and a lot of posts were people couldn’t afford a bike either for themselves or a family member, so we thought we could help the community of Tameside.
“We collect bikes from the community, even if they need a lot of TLC.
“All we ask for is a donation, no-one is benefitting from it other than the people who receive items.
“The money is to help buy parts for bikes and things we are doing. All it takes is £1-£10, anything as long as I can buy things like inner tubes and things like that.
“I’m running it from my back garden at the minute and there are just short of 130 bikes in it being worked on!
“Now it’s really taking off. I’ve had contact from Center Parcs, who have said I could maybe have the bikes they rent out at their holiday parks.
“I’m not sure how many that is but I do know that is from all over the UK!”
• If you need help from the Tameside Bike Project, you can approach them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/615018512290309/ or call Michael on 07751 315471.