The secret hidden in the alley

In such a materialistic world, great number of people are too busy with their work, the concept of community is fading. However, there are groups of people who are committed to building up a better community and never tired of it. What is their original intention to do this?

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“See you!” Daniel waved his hands and sent away the customer, turned around into the workshop, continued to spend time with his old friends. By the way, these old friends are not human, but bicycles.

Daniel is the owner of a bike shop in canton, who has been there for two years. Interestingly, his workshop is so difficult to find out, which hides from a long and secluded alley.

Usually, a room that one lives can reflect one’s characteristic. Daniel’s workshop is not dirty or messy like other bike repair shop at all, but more likely to be a private room with delicate and vintage decoration. Notably, there are some old bikes from 20th century suspended on the wall, and you can hear songs of Beatles echoed in the air, which filled with art atmosphere.

Bikes suspended on the wall
Tools and stuffs on the wall

Nowadays, people immerse themselves into their busy work too much, they keep moving ahead and hardly stop a bit, hence they pay less attention to the things around them, like relationship with neighbors, especially in community. Meanwhile, trust between people is going to fade.

However, there are groups of people who are dedicated to building up a better community and try to rebuilt the trust between people and reverse the situation. Daniel is one of them.

“When I was a kid, I just like take things apart and fix them, bikes, television and computer, anything,” he recalls.

“It is interesting to see how everything works and I enjoy the time with them, that is the idea I run this workshop. You know, it’s like a kind of communication with them, and I like communicating with people as well.”

Actually, Cardiff is a close city to where he grew up and he used to come here when he was a teenager. He knows Cardiff and has friends here. His girlfriend, his fiancée now, is also from Cardiff. They’ve been together for about nine years, they started to become friends and know each other before she moved to London.

“When she moved to London, kind of ten years we had a long distance relationship. I thought if we’re going to have a relationship, we have to live together, we have to be closed, so we decided to move back here from when we left London. We’re engaged, actually she’s pregnant.” He blushed, and smiled like a shy boy.

Now he has to focus to make sure of safe for money, so he has to be more intelligent with business, otherwise it’s good because he works for himself. But it’s quite flexible for him as he can be here, do what he wants to do.

For him, he could have go to a high street and try to find the money to rent a big shop, which means more customers would come to his place. But he didn’t. “It’s nice sometimes to be smaller, and you create a better trust with your customer, a little more the long-term investment are they. It takes a lot more time to build up, so you make a good foundation.”

As for the reason he set up his business in such a rotate area, he responded, “I know it is hard to find here. For my kind of business, how I want my business to be, I wanted to be local, about the people.

“I think nowadays people want to recognize the people they speak to, there’s a lot of businesses you don’t know who owns them, you never speak to the manager. And I think it’s important to trust people, especially when you’re working with bikes or something like that, something you might use every day rely on us and you need to know it’s safe.

“It’s just a good way to have a relationship with the customer, even though this space is difficult to find sometimes, for local people it’s kind of like a small secret, and people like that, it’s kind of private and then people slowly find it but it’s when they do, they are really excited, because it’s like very cooperative space. There are similar businesses here, we’ll help each other, it’s good for the businesses mentally as well, you know, we will help each other. It’s a community!” He spoked in an excited way, with eyes flashing lights.

When it comes to the plan for the future, he said, “It would be nice if I work with other people that have different skills, so you help each other, but hopefully will be the future, and I’d like to expand my workshop, the shop where people can by and come in, hang out, maybe I think the future for bikes like service can be more social, but you see bikes repaired, cafes, it’s about the community. People can come and help and they can fix their own bike, then kind of giving other people skills as well.

“I can’t imagine a different space if I were somewhere else, I wouldn’t have these people around me, and it would be sometimes lonely, if I’m in the workshop of my own but if I go in there, I can have a cup of tea, talk to other people, that’s nice, isn’t it?”

Yes, hopefully he will never leave this place as well as his old friends, and never forget why he started.