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Cycling is great for the family and the business

Andy Pailor, 53, is a father of three from Wolviston, for whom cycling is in the blood. He is Managing Director of a CNC precision machining company in Hartlepool, a business that has always encouraged bike riding as a means to stay fit and healthy. We found out more about what cycling means to him…

Andy and his sons

How did you first get into bike riding?

All my life, I saw my dad riding a bike and cycling was always really important to the business as well. Back in the 1920s and 30s, there was even a company cycling club for the workforce. I’ve heard stories of how the granddaughter of the founder of the company was discouraged from cycling because it was unladylike but she did it anyway. Good for her.

As kids, we would go to scrapyards and build our own bikes, made from the bits of scrap we found lying around. Over the years we upgraded and bought ‘proper’ bikes but back then, it was just what we could get our hands on.

How often do you cycle now?

These days, I enjoy cycling with my family – the wife and three kids. I don’t call myself a cyclist, I just enjoy riding a bike, about two hours is my limit!

I probably go out about once a week, either for a leisure ride or to go into town on a Saturday morning to do errands. There are good routes from where I live to get into Norton or Middlesbrough, which is great, but we could always do with more.

When I cycle with the kids, we tend to get out more into the countryside. My son even asked me if we were in North Yorkshire once, as we were right in the middle of nowhere! It’s great fun for the kids! And we always take the bikes on holiday with us.

How and why do you encourage cycling at work?

We have had a cycle to work scheme so people can buy a new bike with a salary sacrifice scheme. We have had a tough year and have had to make some redundancies but we do have a few cyclists and I noticed a lot more people cycling during lockdown. I would love to see that continue, so we can say that something good has come out of this awful Coronavirus situation.

What does the future hold for your cycling ambitions?

I’d love to do more to help people get access to cheaper bikes. It’s such a good way to travel and it’s a shame that cost is sometimes prohibitive to people wanting to buy a bike. I’m looking at ways we can use our skills in the business to make bikes available to people on lower incomes, but it’s just a pipe dream at the moment… but who knows what the future holds!

What would you say to anyone interested in riding a bike?

I’d encourage anyone to try it, it’s brilliant! Just find a safe route and away you go!


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