Former SAS man pedals his own course in new venue

The Oxford Times: Mick Murphy at his shop, Mickey Cranks Mick Murphy at his shop, Mickey Cranks

When Mick Murphy left the RAF he knew just what we wanted to do – start his own bike shop.

A keen racing cyclist, he trained as a cycle mechanic as part of his resettlement and last week opened a new shop in Witney called Mickey Cranks.

Having started in the RAF as a physical training instructor, he moved into parachute training and served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the SAS.

He said: “In the military I had a very stressful job but after a long bike ride everything disappeared.

“More and more people are getting into cycling and it’s wonderful,” he added.

Mr Murphy, 40, has converted a former golf shop at the Two Rivers Industrial Estate, with a specialist workshop and two other full-time mechanics. His 'bike-fitting' technology uses LEDs to provide a 3D-image and report on the best riding position for each individual.

He will sell Scott and Canondale road and mountain bikes, as well as hybrid city bikes. There is a cafe area and 160 people have joined the Mickey Cranks Cycling Club via Facebook.

“There's a bit of a cafe culture in cycling. We want it to be friendly and welcoming, a place where people can come in for a chat about bikes, or stop while they are out on a ride.

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“There's a bit of a social scene in Witney. People wave when you are out on a ride. A lot of people ride with two or three friends and we want to make it a bit more social."

His wife Kirsty, whom he met while at RAF Brize Norton, will provide the administration back up while continuing to work full-time at Farnborough Airport.

She is keen to encourage more women to cycle.

"We want to promote cycling across the board, not just for men,” she said.

“One of the reasons women don't cycle is because they are scared and they don't know what to do with the bike."

Free women's safety and bike maintenance training was on offer at their launch day last week, when the shop was opened by Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron.

Mrs Murphy said: "We hope to be an example to other ex-servicemen and women by making a success of Mickey Cranks and having a positive effect on the community."

Mr Murphy is delighted at the success of the club, with members aged up to 70.

He said: “We can all ride together, which we couldn't if we were running. You don't get many injuries with cycling.”

He added: “They say that cycling is the new golf – it’s very sociable – so it’s good that we have moved into a former golf shop.”

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