‘I felt totally useless because what could I do? I couldn’t do a thing. All I could do was hold my wife’s hand. It was the first in my life that I felt completely useless. One minute it’s just the two of you and the next minute there is another being with a personality and character just out there. That’s the most amazing thing about it. The miracle of the whole thing is just amazing. When he was born, it was like looking at a picture of myself as a child.
‘Before you just lived life for yourself and your partner and all of a sudden you stop and live life for someone else and try to make a future for them.’
‘I want to see a space that encourages people to learn from each other. These days everything is a money spinner around formalising education and getting qualifications but we’ve forgotten about just doing for the sake of and learning through doing. We want to get people talking again.
‘That’s what I did with my bikes. I learnt from my father in law who used to live in a village in Greece and he didn’t have access to tools so they used what they could get their hands on. And my next door neighbour is a retired mechanic so, through the act of doing, I learnt.
Do you think that an initiative like this fills a void where traditionally it would have been passed down from generation to generation?
I think that’s a really interesting way to look at it that we need to create these community opportunities that previously organically created themselves.
So far we have about 170-180 members. Interest keeps growing before we’ve even opened the doors of the workshop. There are a lot of people owning motorcycles now. Deus Ex Machina has done a great job over the last ten years to raise the profile of the customised motorcycle making it accessible to everyone.
We have a few female members but not enough. We definitely want to raise the profile of women motorcyclists as well because they’re just as capable and as confident on the tools as they are behind bars out on the road.
Our challenge though with Council is that in the old model, businesses have their own zones. We’re a hybrid business so we’re not just the one thing. We’re using both the ramen bar/café and workshop to feed each other. There isn’t a box for Council to tick for us.
If you read what the LEP environmental concerns are, they just don’t exist for us. We’re not disposing huge quantities of oil. We’re not parking bikes or cars out on the street. We’re not painting. We’re not emitting fumes. We’re not running our bikes. We’re not doing any of those things. It’s the same as what somebody would be doing in their own garage at home.’