ROB Fox first sat on a motorcycle at the age of two, when he was lifted aboard his uncle’s by his dad.

“It seemed huge, this huge silver motorcycle. They started it up. I pressed the horn button and there was a loud beep.

“It was actually terrifying, but it gave me such a rush – kind of a cross between panic, adrenaline, fear and excitement – and I just got hooked into bikes because they can be very exciting and dramatic.

“Sometimes I think motorbikes are silly things because you get cold and wet and hot and sweaty and uncomfortable, but they give so much back.”

Rob got his licence as soon as he was legally able, and later became involved in the motorcycle club racing scene until starting a family made him lose his taste for potentially dangerous pursuits.

He subsequently discovered Moto Gymkhana, in which riders race against the clock through complex courses marked with cones and suffer penalties for touching cones or touching a foot to the ground.

Memorising courses is a major aspect of the sport, and one which he initially found difficult, but now he is the reigning national champion, having taken the title four times in as many years.

He has been in charge of Wheels Workshop for eight years and teaches Moto Gymkhana skills.

“I work with children, mostly boys for some reason, aged between 13 and 16. These children are struggling in school.

“They’re either not in school – not going to school recently, or haven’t for a year or more – or still in school but on their last chance.”

Some are already familiar with motorcycles because they’ve given in to the temptation to ride them illegally while too young to do so.

The Wheels Workshop logo contains four images. They are a car, a motorcycle, a spanner representing the mechanical skills participants learn and cogs representing the thinking skills they are also encouraged and helped to acquire.

“Motorcycles are quite a special thing. It’s not just a form of transport. For many people it’s a passion and a way of life.

“I think motorcycles are particularly attractive to young people. It’s easy to access them – they’re around and they’re cheap – but more importantly it’s the way they feel when you ride them.

“They give a feeling of speed and excitement. They’re dynamic and they give a feeling of freedom. I notice, particularly with the children I work with, that it’s a kind of therapy to get out on a bike.

“You have to concentrate very hard on what you’re doing, otherwise you’re going to fall off! You can’t worry about school, you can’t worry about your parents, you can’t worry about your friends – you have to concentrate on what you’re doing.

“An hour of riding is good for them.

“I try to raise their game to ride in a more controlled, coached sport environment which gives them more, ultimately.”

Success stories are many. In one recent example, a young man with attention difficulties was taken by Rob to visit a garage, and Rob watched from a distance as he calmly and methodically helped a mechanic.

“It was wonderful to watch. This lad looked professional – he looked like he worked there. He just fitted right in.”

Wheels Workshop’s search for a new home has been prompted by the imminent redevelopment of the site and the surrounding area for housing.

The group’s needs are fairly simple:

“Specifically, the largest tarmac space we can get – from the size of two tennis courts up to a football pitch and a half.

“The important factor is that it must have a boundary. It’s got to be fenced off for safety reasons.

“Also, it can’t be a nuisance to the community nearby. I’ve been offered a place which has no fence and is right next to houses, which is really not ideal.

“It doesn’t support the message I’m trying to give these young riders about enjoying your mopeds but not at the expense of other people’s peace and quiet or feeling of safety.

“That’s one of the things we’re trying to cultivate – a feeling of responsibility towards others.”

Rob can be contacted on 07905 650651 and at