Ilyas is the hardest working man in the bike business. After training and working at Westminster Wheels in 2020 Ilyas secured a job at Balfes Bikes. He honed his skills in the workshop gaining invaluable knowledge building very high end bikes. By October 2022 our workshop was getting so busy we approached him with an offer he could not refuse. Come back to work with his old team here. Ilyas brings so much to the shop. First in everyday, workshop vacuumed, shopfloor mopped, tools organised all before anyone else has arrived. He has the amazing ability to both impart his knowledge and with great humility absorb new. As you may guess we are his biggest fans. We love you Ilyas!
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- Meet the People
Barnaby Stutter aka The Old Man, is our project manager. You could find him fixing bikes, chatting to customers, guiding our apprentices, at one of our fundraising events or at his desk in the shop wrangling his laptop. Barnaby started working in the bike trade in the 80s. Learning the industry ropes at Brixton Cycles Co-op. After a quarter of a century with the co-op, he re-trained as a cycle instructor. Teaching kids and adults the joys and skills of bike riding, either in the playground or on busy London roads. Teaching bicycle repairs or Safer Urban Driving to professional drivers. “I love bikes yet what I find truly fascinating are the carbon-based lifeforms that propel them” Barnaby has seen a revolution in the bike trade over the past 40 yrs. From hippy nippy niche to mainstream industry. “what many in the trade fail to realise is that we are in a service industry. Cyclists are nowadays a more diverse bunch who deserve a workforce that reflect this. Providing that future workforce is our mission”.
Tomasz Kruczkowski is our shop manager and maestro mechanic. Tomasz actually trained as a car mechanic but - thankfully for us - saw the light. He worked for 8 years in another social enterprise Bike Works, training other mechanics and refurbishing bikes. Tomasz also learnt all about cargo and e-bikes as head mechanic while working at London Green Cycles. Watching Tomasz repair a bike is a masterclass in professional bike mechanics. If Tomasz is not happy with a repair, it doesn’t leave the workshop. If a part or accessory doesn’t pass muster, he will not stock it. Tomasz is plain-spoken with our apprentices but they know what is expected from them and will move into the bike industry having experienced exceptional quality control.
Abdou al Rahnman Elghazouni: the gentle giant. Abdou is responsible for fulfilling our bike refurbishment quotas. He is also just a lovely young man: really popular with our apprentices and - most importantly - our customers. He completed his 6 months with us and after his 6 months with the shop we decided to offer him an extension to his contract to help us deliver our bike donation program.