Universal Channel is shining a light on people from around the UK and Ireland who inspire others through their determination and extraordinary character.
These rare individuals have the spark to dream big, matched with a steely resolve to pursue that dream with unwavering commitment. They are authentic, talented and 100% character.
This is Amir Miah’s Story – Bike Entrepreneur
Amir grew up in a rough London estate which made him see things differently. Knowing that more young people went into prison than those who’ve continued education, he felt the need to take action.
At a young age, Amir used to buy and sell stolen bicycles for pocket money, his parents couldn’t afford to buy him gym clothes for school so he found his own way of doing things, he soon realised that there wasn’t a positive outlook ahead for himself or his friends, he had to find his own out of the situation. Amir came to realise a bike was not just a piece of metal, it was something of value, something much more.
With this new outlook Amir realised he could do much more for those in his community, he created ‘Your Bike’, a project that gives young people training and employment opportunities.
Being from a school where you are more likely to be in a prison cell rather than studying A-Levels in a classroom, he decided to set up his own company. Not to make money, but to do the right thing for his local area.
Amir believes that the people he works with have many hidden talents that need to be found, honed and channelled. He uses his bike maintenance courses as a way to unlock the potential in young people that could have otherwise been used for something destructive to them, their family and community. He works with Ex-offenders, those in serious organised crime, gang violence, or those who are not in employment, education or training, they get the chance to swap the streets for bike grease.
Amir has had his own bike stolen from outside the shop. “I think that’s probably karma. I was just opposite getting a coffee – the kids there are quick!”
More than the money, Amir’s drive stems from his ability to change someone’s life for the better. He believes that by throwing a stepladder back to where he came from can help others step up as well.
Amir is truly inspiring and is a guiding light in what can end up being a hopeless outlook for kids who have been left behind by society, giving them confidence, skills and emotional support at a time of life that it’s most needed. Bringing them into the cycling community provides them with an extended family.
We get bikes from the MET Police. We up-cycle them and then we sell them on to provide training. We get our trainees to learn the retail side of things as well, to learn customer services skills and the value of bikes.
Lorraine was inspired to become a Lifeboat Crew Member after she capsized with 4 others at sea in an area with no rescue service when she was just 17 years old, but luckily they were rescued by a fisherman who just happened to be going home with his catch.
She and four other rowing crew spent almost 3 hours in the water losing hope of being rescued. She used this experience to fuel her drive to save others and undertook rigorous training to become a lifeboat volunteer.
In 2002 the inshore rescue was taken over by the RNLI and Lorraine is now one of 16 volunteers with Wexford RNLI who are on call 24/7. Check out Lorraine’s full story here: www.universalchannel.co.uk
With the summer finally arriving and the long school holidays on the horizon we asked Isla Rowntree, ex-national
cyclocross champion and founder of Islabikes how to approach teaching you child to ride a bike.
What are your thoughts on stabilisers?
For years children’s bikes have come fitted with stabilisers, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right thing to use. We encourage parents to avoid stabilisers as they prevent children from learning to balance naturally and actually make the process of learning to ride a bike trickier.
Far better is to let your child use a balance bike before starting to learn a pedal bike. A balance bike will teach them the basics of balancing on two wheels and make the transition to first pedal bike much easier.
How old should my child be?
Most children learn to ride their first pedal bike unaided between the ages of 3 1/2 and 4 1/2. But children develop their cycling skills at different times. If it seems that your child isn’t quite get the hang of it, don’t worry, let them keep enjoying their balance bike for a few more weeks and try again later.
How do I teach my child to ride?
Find a large, safe, flat open space to use as your learning zone. Something with tarmac or a fairly firm surface is perfect. Long grass is too tricky for new riders to pedal on.
Now adjust the height of your child’s saddle so they can get the balls of their feet on the floor.
Put your child on their bike and stand behind them, holding them under their armpits. Don’t hold any part of the bike. We want the new rider to feel how their bike naturally moves underneath them.
Push your child along and let the bike wander in any direction. You can help steer the bike by leaning your child right and left. Doing this will let your child learn that leaning is part of the steering process.
If your children have learnt to balance on a balance bike, they may take a little while to grasp the concept of forward pedalling. Encourage them while they practise pedalling forwards.
If your child is ready to cycle unaided they should quickly get a feel for balance and you can gradually let go, but stay close by to catch them if anything goes wrong.
For nervous riders, you may need to stay with them a bit longer. That’s fine. Just let them know that you’re there, but you’re very gradually going to loosen your hold on them. Eventually they’ll be cycling unaided without even knowing it. The look of delight when they realise you’re no longer holding them and they’re cycling all by themselves is a moment to treasure.
The final part of the jigsaw is learning how to set off from stationary unaided. For this, have your child put one of their pedals just past the top most part of the pedal circle. That means around the ‘5 to the hour’ position with the left leg, or ‘5 past the hour’ position with the right leg.
Now ask them to give a good push on this leg. With enough forward momentum they should be able to transfer both feet to the pedals, start pedalling and be a completely independent rider.
Islabikes build quality lightweight bikes that are gender neutral in their aesthetics, CyclingShorts.cc will be reviewing them shortly – so watch this space.
Ok. So “Spin” the show, was spun into something a tad more than it ought to have been. I’m saying no more about the show, but nothing is completely bad and in amongst some very quirky stuff, were some very interesting products indeed and what follows is a concise (for me) look at the best and the noteworthy if only…
Jivr (Jiver) was the first exhibit we saw and it definitely has the WOW factor. Yes, I said an electric bike has the Wow factor. It is a folder that packs down into a size as compact as a Brompton (yes, I know nothing folds like a Brompton…until this) up and back down again in 22 seconds… and that was me at my first attempt. Martin Piatkowski, its designer and head of the company can do it in about 18.
It is light too at a mere 10 Kilos, which when you consider that it houses a motor, a battery and a chain free drive system, that is pretty amazing. The company claim a top speed on its motor of 25 km/h which is governed to make it legal in the company’s widening market place. Jivr also clocked in at 30KM on one charge, which if you only use the motor to arrive at work without needing to change your sweaty shirt because you’ve been climbing hills, will do you just fine. Pedal the remainder or indeed all of your journey although, because of its direct drive (hidden in the single beam of 7005 aluminium) peddling looks odd….no chain rings.
A fast nimble little folding electric bike that is stylish (my partner Carol wants one) light enough and looks amazing, make this a serious contender to Brompton. Yes its more expensive, has a two hour reachable battery and high tech motor and drive system on board. But if you’re after a commuter for on and off the train and you’d like the extra help of a motor to help with your briefcase etc, then its very well worth a look. If you can push the boat out to £1,200 plus for a Brompton, then I would suggest that the hike up to 2K must be in you remit. Especially when you take into account their unique way of selling this brilliantly crowd funded initiative. Jivr will place 70 hand made bikes per month on the market. Getting one initially works like this; pay £99 deposit refundable in 48 hours if you change your mind. You then go on the waiting list. Each month the waiting list members will be given the opportunity of getting their machine on a first come first served basis. Pay your balance and away you go.
Cycling Shorts unleashes Santa’s Little Helpers.
Yes the panic is setting in, so much to get organised and so little time, so we’ve all got together to give you a list of gift ideas that won’t disappoint the fussiest cyclist or cycling fan in your life.
We’ve split our choices into four perfect price packages, click on the images to be taken to the retailers website.
Wishing you a Merry Festivemas from all at CyclingShorts.cc!
As the nights have become dark we all need to make sure we can see and be seen.
Bontrager’s Glo and Ember lights might not be quite the thing if you want to see but they will certainly allow you to be seen.
For the last couple of years I have been using the cheap £2 frog eye lights that are available by the shed load on eBay. While they do a job there is certainly a question over the level of lumens they produce and to be honest there ability to withstand the elements is suspect. I thought it was time to try out something a little more up market, even though this might go against my cheapskate grain!
As soon as I picked up the Bontrager lights I could tell they where going to perform significantly better then the cheap frog eyes.
The marketing blurb on Bontrager’s website describes the lights as follows:-
Test lights supplied by Bikechain Ricci
Instantly add front or rear safety lighting with the Glo headlight and and Ember tail light. Used as a stand alone system in twilight conditions, as additional lighting or as an emergency back-up, these compact, bright and stylish lights can be run in either steady or flashing modes and provide over 40 hours of run time. Each includes two CR2032 batteries and an elastic strap for attachment to a variety of surfaces including helmets.
The blurb on the packaging is slightly more generous with the run times, 50/100+ hours (Glo front light) and 100+ hours (Ember). The Glo offers 5 lumens and the Ember 3 Lumens.
Ember provides a bright rear light even in daylight.
Fitting the lights is dead simple and the multi hole bands allow for very secure fitting to either seat-post or handle bars, as well as potential use as a helmet light.
These little bad boys are way brighter then any lights of this type I have used before, certainly making them worth the money. They really are great lights to allow you to be seen by but not so good for you to see the road ahead. I frequently use them as my road lights riding city streets to and from the dark lanes or off road ride areas, where I switch to my high power Cree LED lights.
If you are looking for something that will help make you visible on your town or city commute in these dark winter months then get yourself along to your local bike shop and pick up a pair of Bontrager Glo and Ember lights.
A definte one to ask Santa to leave in your stocking.
A CyclingShorts.cc Star buy at 90%
Retails for around £25 – £30 per set (can be bought individually).
Cycling apparel brand, Vulpine, are excited to announce from the weekend of 28th June they join the online roster at House of Fraser.
This is a considerable move for the brand, established two years ago with the ethos of producing fashionable yet performance ready cycling apparel. The collection features light-weight merino wool, breathable and technical Dri-Release material, the fabric is tough yet soft and wicks away moisture fast.
With the ever-increasing popularity of cycling, the desire for stylish, fit for purpose apparel for all kinds of cycling and use off the bike becomes more apparent.
Nick Hussey, Founder and CEO of Vulpine had this to say: “This is a huge move for us. In the two years since we began we’ve always made cycling apparel that works on and off the bike. Stylish enough to be stocked by House of Fraser – home to some of the best-known brands in international fashion – after such a short period is just mind-boggling.
In addition to this we are their exclusive cycling brand as the British public readies itself for the Tour de France in the UK. The reach House of Fraser can offer us is enormous, particularly as they expand into international markets. Perhaps we are the first modern cycling brand to be accepted into the twin temples of both apparel and fashion on this scale.”
Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping! Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk
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