The Jo Cox Way: Meet the two Leeds mechanics ‘vital’ to cyclists finishing Cleckheaton to London ride
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The riders departed on their challenge, in memory of the former Batley and Spen MP, from Princess Mary Athletics Stadium on Wednesday and, as of day three (Friday afternoon), are making their way through rural Northamptonshire and are due to finish in the capital on Sunday.
However, two mechanics, Dwid Matyjs and Amelia Di-Clemente, from The Bikes College, a social enterprise which refurbishes unwanted bicycles with a commercial workshop, have been offering their services - which has already included 61 riders using a pump; six brake pads replacement; seven tubes to replace punctures; six chain links given away; four saddles tightened - for free.
“They have been completely key to it,” admitted a grateful Tim Smith, one of the organisers who was on the receiving end of their support. “Without them, an awful lot of riders and bikes wouldn’t be able to complete the journey.
“My back wheel broke last night and without them providing a replacement I couldn’t have continued. They are completely vital to it.
“And they give up their time for free. They are providing support for us over five days at no cost at all. They are doing a brilliant job.”
Tim revealed that the riders - who have been making new friendships - have been provided friendly welcomes from towns and villages throughout the journey so far, while Jo’s sister Kim is the group’s “loudest cheerleader.”
He said: “People have been so friendly and so hospitable. We are stopping in village halls every day, we have had coffee shops offering donations to the Jo Cox Foundation, people waving and clapping us as we go through villages and towns. We have had a welcome wherever we have gone.
“There are lots of friends being made. One of our riders, just before she did the Jo Cox Way, went on holiday with two other women who she met on last year’s ride. Lasting friendships are being made, of all ages and all backgrounds.
“Seeing 17-year-old Yaseen from Batley riding with 77-year-old Kath from Keighley, those two people would never have come together if it wasn’t for the Jo Cox Way.
“Kim is cheerleader in chief, handing out flapjacks and bananas and to keep us all going. There are quite a few support vans, but Kim is by far the loudest and most enthusiastic of all.”
The full extent of Dwid and Ameilia’s contribution is listed here: Ten gear set ups; six brake pads replacements; three bar tape refits; 61 riders using the pump; one wheel replacement (which involved Ashley from Bikes and Sports in Hinckley promptly assisting); three gear cable and outer replacements; four saddles tightened; three wheels trued and tensioned; four chains reconnected; seven tubes given away to replenish those used to repair punctures; two dérailleur hangers straightened; four bottom brackets tightened; two sets of pedals tightened; six chain split links given away.