Published: 00:01, 17 December 2017
To many he is known as Mike the Bike and there’s a very good reason for that.
Michael Furness, of Dola Avenue, Deal, has recycled almost 1,000 bicycles a year for the past 18 years.
The 75-year-old took up the hobby when he was medically discharged as a chef from the Royal Marines.
He has written to KentOnline's sister paper, the East Kent Mercury, to thank everybody who has donated bikes and parts over the years.
Repairing up to 20 a week, he believes he has now hit the 17,000 mark, and has told the newspaper he will carry on “until he drops”.
He said: “I’ve always liked bikes since I was a kid.
“When I left the Royal Marines, I thought I’ve got to do something and I’ve been doing them ever since.”
Mr Furness has a friend at the dump in Southwall Road who reserves any old bikes that are deposited there. He also has a poster displayed at the site encouraging anyone with old bike or parts to send them his way.
As well as cycles of all shapes and sizes – including four tandems over the years – he also takes in scooters.
When fully repaired he donates them to various charity shops including Barnardo’s and Cancer Research, and sells some privately to pay for new parts.
He said: “I sell a good bike for £10, never any more. That money pays for cables which I get from Curwens Cycle Repairs.”
Not even a heart bypass in June and severing his nerves in one of his hands has stopped him. He said: “I’m still doing it. I’ve just got to be careful what I do. It keeps me busy and I’ll keep doing until I drop.”
When asked what his best tip for bikes was, he said: “Frying oil on the chain. You don’t need to use anything else.”
Mr Furness also worked as a chef at Meadowside Care Home in Liverpool Road, Walmer, for 15 years.
He has been married to his wife Carole for 55 years. He has five sons and a daughter.
If you have any old bikes or parts that you would like to donate to Mike, call him on 01304 367168.