Well we’ve certainly been making rapid progress with our new Bike 4 Health HQ at Thorneyford Farm, Kirkley, home of Kirkley Cafe since our first post announcing our plans with support from the Big Lottery Fund.

So work commenced in earnest on the 11th December with a lot of clearing and cleaning of the old Calf Rearing Barn which we are re-modelling (slightly!) to be our new and first official HQ.

It’s quite serendipitous that the Barn previously used for rearing young calves will now be used to support the development of young people, to be strong, confident and resilient through their cycling adventures. #morekidsonbikes

We have already been sharing some photo updates via social media but we thought the blog would allow us to record and share the story behind the photos.

And so the work begins…

One of the biggest challenges in the first week was removing a lot of agricultural fittings, as you might find in a barn. The biggest was the Water Tank set high up in the rafters on a steel girder frame. Two days of cutting the water tank out and another day for the frame was an experience I don’t want to repeat too soon – if ever again!
Thanks to Tim Irwin (our new Landlord) and his good friend Rob Gibb (no not the Bee Gee!) who was equally successfully strutting his stuff with the cutting torch whilst staying alive!
Time to start building, quite literally with blocks! We had some doors, windows and holes to block up to get ready for the next phase of fit out. With the benefit of the 4.5m high access platform, hired for the Water Tank challenge, we were able to sort the gable ends of the barn readying them for nice big windows, keeping as much natural light as possible and blocking up any holes that weren’t supposed to be holes!

With a few more hands on deck, including master builder, @bikedoctordave we started laying out and building our internal and nicely insulated workshop area. The workshop area needs to be well insulated to ensure none of the heat generated by our busy mechanics goes to waste. Our bike storage within in the barn will not be fully insulated, at least at first, although a nice little wood burner has turned up on site to take the chill off the larger barn.

The work has continued through Christmas and will into New Year with first fix for our roller and access door at the front of the barn. More pictures on this to come next week.

There is still a lot of work to do; electricity fit out, water fit out, bike racks, storage shelves and tools and equipment – not to mention moving our kit from our various stores! Will keep you posted with progress and any volunteer helping opportunities.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.