Porthcawl’s new ‘fat bikes’ whet visitors’ appetite for adventure

Specialist bicycles that allow riders to experience the beaches of Porthcawl on two wheels are now available in the town for the first time.

Corum Champion has opened the resort’s first ever bike hire business with a focus on ‘fat bikes’, which have larger, wider tyres that allow the rider to go along the sand and even to the edge of the sea without sinking.

The former business manager for Vauxhall only officially opened his business on the weekend, but he said interest has been strong, particularly from visitors from other parts of the UK, many of which are staying at the Trecco Bay caravan site just a stone’s throw from his shop.

“I’ve had a family come in from Manchester and they wanted to hire bikes but had no idea where to go,” said dad-of-one Corum, 41.

‘You can cycle from Trecco Bay to Rest Bay’

“I was able to show them how they can access the seafront just across the road from the shop via the road that used to lead to the old Sandy Bay caravan park.

“From there, you can ride all the way along to Rest Bay at the other end of Porthcawl if you want without going onto the road at all, so it’s perfect.”

Corum Champion is also doing bike repairs and servicing

Starting his own business has been a risk for Corum, a former business manager for Vauxhall.

But he said his priorities totally changed when, after years of IVF treatment, he and wife Helen had son Darryen, now five.

“I was leaving for work at 7am and not getting home until 7pm,” he said.

“I was spending all of my time at work.”

After moving to Porthcawl from Cardiff to seek a quieter pace of life, Corum heard the town might be getting a bike hire scheme to go with a new cycling and pedestrian route being created by Bridgend council between Sandy Bay, at one end of the town, and Rest Bay at the other.

With an interest in riding and being a qualified bicycle technician, Corum thought he might be able to get a job there.

Thrilled with the response

But when the bike hire scheme failed to appear, Helen suggested that Corum start up on his own.

He now has around 50 bikes available for hire at his premises on New Road which, apart from the fat bikes, include mountain bikes, kids bikes and comfort bikes with larger seats.

He can also provide helmets, stabilisers, trailers for children and tow bars and offers repairs and servicing for customers who own their own bikes, which is already proving popular.

Corum, who lives on Mackworth Road next to Coney Beach, said he has been thrilled with the response of the community too.

“It’s just gone crazy,” he said.

“Even before it officially opened I was at the shop with bikes outside and people were coming along and asking what was going on and word spread.

Some of the bikes that are available to hire

“Living in Porthcawl and doing something like this it now takes me an hour to go to the shop that is two minutes away because everyone stops me to ask about it.”

Corum, who is also a volunteer member of the Porthcawl lifeboat crew, said although many people will want to ride the paved cycle route, with interest growing in the potential of the fat bikes he hopes to offer guided off-road adventures and qualify as an instructor so he can teach local school children.

He is also set to stock Volt electric trikes, which will also be available for hire.

“Everyone seems to think it’s going to work and there’s a lot of positivity coming from the community and the school,” he said.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/porthcawls-new-fat-bikes-whet-11609936