Boris Johnson Doubles Apprenticeship Incentive for London SMEs

London Mayor Boris Johnson aims to bolster the uptake of apprenticeships by small andATG_BorisJohnson_180613 medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the capital by doubling the grant normally available to employers recruiting an apprentice. Johnson has set aside £1.5 million for that purpose in a move that could help a thousand young people join apprenticeship programmes at London companies, has reported.

Companies taking on an apprentice typically receive an incentive payment amounting to £1,500. However, Johnson is offering SMEs £3,000 as part of his campaign to create more employment opportunities for young Londoners. Johnson recently provided further evidence of his support for apprenticeships by launching a scheme that allows apprentices to reduce their London travel costs by as much as 30%.

As a result of Johnson’s work with the National Apprenticeship Service, the number of apprenticeships created in the capital since 2010 has exceeded 100,000. The mayor has set himself the goal of lifting that number to 250,000 by the end of 2016.

Commenting on the latest initiative, Johnson pointed out that SMEs were the backbone of London’s economy and a key provider of employment opportunities for local young people. Businesses that have recruited apprentices are already aware of the benefits to be had, including a boost to profitability. The aim is to encourage more companies to join the apprenticeship push. The latest incentive is targeted at SMEs, and business owners from all over London should grab the opportunity it presents. As they reap the benefits associated with apprentices, local SMEs will also help drive the wider London economy, Johnson added.

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Smartphone App

The new ATG Training i-phone app is now available from the i-tunes market. Just search ATG Training and you will find it. Smartphone App home page screen
Alternatively follow this link.
The app features
•         Part of a bike
•         Cytech Training course information
•         120 question quiz, broken into 10 random questions bite sized peices
•         Google maps of the training venues
•         Our social media pages
•         Contact information with direct phone and emails from the app 
It is free to download. An Android version will shortly be available too for those of you who have that technology.

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Aston Clinton Scout Group gain Cytech experience

As part of their preparation for riding the annual Wheel Power Tour De Vale ride, Aston Clinton Scout Group paid a visit to the Cycle Academy at ATG Training in Aylesbury to learn some tricks of the trade.

Jules Thrasher, who is a cycle maintenance guru delivers the training to professional cycle mechanics from all over the UK, was on hand to help the boy and girl scouts learn what to check on their bikes for safety. Using the principles of the ‘M check,’ the Aston Clinton scouts all reviewed their machines for the prime safety requirements.

Scout Leader David Wall outlined the programme that the Scouts were following over the coming months. ‘Cycle safety is a paramount concern of ours and when we heard about the Cycle Academy in ATG Training it was an obvious place to go in preparation for our training rides along the Marsworth Canal tow path next week. It was great to hear from such an experienced trainer as Jules what to look out for as a precursor to setting out on a bike ride. He was also able to show the Scouts what to do in the event of a puncture whilst out on a ride. We learnt a lot during the evening and I’m sure this will help on the Tour De Vale in June’.

The Scouts plus their Leaders visited the Cycle Academy workshop, each bringing their own bike to check. They were able to find a few faults to adjust and were given access to the tools in the workshop to make the adjustments required. This then became a quick and easy task, now they know what to look for.

Ian Harper - CEO ATG Training

Ian Harper

Ian Harper – CEO of ATG Training said: ‘It was such a pleasure to see the Scouts keen to learn how to maintain their bikes. Their enthusiasm to pick up the basic maintenance techniques was encouraging and I’m sure will stand them in good stead over the summer cycling adventures they are planning’.

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It is day 4 of National Apprenticeship Week 2012!

Today we are in Hale Leys Shopping centre discussing #apprenticeships with passers-by.

Future Centre

Future Centre

Last night the Government confirmed an incentive of a £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 year olds. More details are on our website

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It’s Day 2 of National Apprenticeship Week 2012!

CEO Ian Harper will be on the radio today discussing the current issues pertaining to apprenticeships. The following stations will carry the message.

  • BBC Radio Oxford
  • Big L
  • BBC Radio London
  • Inspiration Fm
  • 106 JACK FM Oxfordshire
  • Represzent 107.3

If you are in the High Wycombe area, come and see us at the Job Centre Apprenticeship Fair being held in the AMF Bowling Centre from 2pm to 4pm this afternoon. We’ll be able to answer all your Apprenticeship-related questions and discuss our current vacancies with you.

See you there!

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London Bike Show – Free Prize Draw Winners

The London Bike Show returned bigger and better than ever for its second year at the ExCel, London.

There was a much larger bike presence than the previous year, with the cycle’s area dominating a whole hall.

The ACT were at the show to promote WorkRiders, the new cycling to work programme, and ATG Training, ActSmart’s partner Cytech provider.

The ACT partnered with the London Bike Show to support the Cycling Stage which was host to Cytech demonstrations delivered by ATG Training, guest speakers and auctions throughout the four day show.

Cytech Technical Advice ActSmart’s runner up Partner of the Year 2011, and Cytech Training Providers, ATG Training were on hand at the Cycling Stage to offer technical advice and carry out demonstrations. The demos were a huge success with crowds gathering to learn about everything from preparing your bike for commuting to truing a wheel.

 After watching Cytech demos, visitors were glad to learn that it has never been easier to get qualified as a cycle mechanic, with Cytech Technical One Theory now available completely online, and until the end of February, with 50% off the price.

The interest in Cytech courses was evident through ATG’s prize draw to win home mechanic gear, with over 1000 entries received. 

Of all the completed entries received the first to be drawn by the independent adjudicator was:

Mr David Coxhead. Proprietor, Bristows Cycles

David wins the Wheel Truing stand 

Park Tools

Park Tools Wheel truing stand

Next to be drawn was:

Mr Robin Warr
from Greenich – London
Robin wins the Advanced Park Tools mechanic kit

Park Tools Advanced Mechanic Tool Kit

Park Tools Advanced Mechanic Tool Kit

Congratulations to both Messrs Coxhead and Warr. 

If you have not won a prize don’t be sad, there is much to be gained from attending a Cytech course at one of ATG Training’s world class cycle workshops. Course dates and venues can be found here

Thanks to all of you who entered.

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Ian Harper at the London Bike Show 2012


ATG Training were at the London Bike Show between 12th and 15th January 2012. CEO Ian Harper took a few moments out from speaking to some of the 1,000+ visitors to the Cycle stage we shared with The Association of Cycle Traders, to share his knowledge and experience of the event. This short video will give you a flavour of what happened at Excel in London Docklands.

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Juice (lube) me up!!

Product of the week!

Suspension units need to be well looked after and serviced in accordance with the manufacturers specifications in order to keep them factory plush. We all know this right?

One of the products you can use AFTER EACH AND EVERY RIDE to keep the dust wiper seals from becoming to draggy and to reduce the applicable stiction that this causes (resulting in a slow and stutter fork – with possible foam wiper ring damage) is the (incredible) Fork Juice from Juice Lubes.

Using Fork Juice also prevents dirt from sticking to the stanchions reducing the chance of them becoming scratched and drawing muck into the expensive internal workings.

Juice Lubes themselves confirm that this is not ‘a fork service in a can’ but will help to prolong the useable life of the fork.

To quote from the back of the can “as the single most expensive component on your bike it makes sense to lubricate your suspension – after all, you wouldn’t ride your bike without lubing the chain would you?”

Fork Juice can also be used to prep your bike for a muddy ride – spray onto the downtube to prevent the horrible build up of cack that will inevitably happen at this time 364 days a year here in the UK.

The only pre-requisite for use is to ensure that you wipe of any existing dirt and grime before application (oh and keep it well away from your disc rotors and pads…)

A top product of the week, if you don’t have some in your workshop, go buy some today!!!

Check out for more info, and a big thanks to Will from Velo Brands for kindly sorting us with a big box of Juice Lubes FOC for use on our Cytech L3 suspension courses. Top work!

If you’d like to find out more about suspension care and servicing procedures – book yourself onto one of our L3 suspension courses here at ATG-Training pronto!!

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The Apprentice speaks!


When Jules asked me to write a blog for the ATG website I didn’t know where to begin. After some thought I realised that I should share my first experiences here.

 On my first day I was pretty nervous as I didn’t have any experience as a cycle mechanic!!!

Walking into the workshop for the first time was very daunting; there were tools that I had never seen before. Jules and Mat made me feel really welcome, like there was no pressure to rush and cram everything into my head all at once. As time went on I started to use these random tools that only do one job and cost loads! I started to gain knowledge into what the tools are and how to use them. This Knowledge made me feel much more relaxed; I still had to do the usual boring jobs like:

  • Hoovering;
  • Cleaning;
  • And a huge amount of photocopying…

 It was cool though because it made me feel like I had contributed to the way that the workshop looks. Even now I’m obsessed with how clean the workshop is.

 So far I am really enjoying it at ATG, it is so much better the college and I am going to make the most of it while I’m still here…

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Cytech top tips

Today we will help you take some of the pain away from removing an internally routed cable. We are using a Commencal Meta 55, but the same procedure will work on other bikes with the cable routed in a similar way.

Step 1;

 Make sure you have the correct tools before you start and always wear the correct protective equipment. Safety first kids!

You will need;

a pair of good quality cable cutters.

 A 5mm allen key

 A sharp pick

 Some wet chain lube

 Lint free cloth or wrag

Step 2;

 Disconnect the derailleur inner wire from the cable clamp bolt using the 5mm Allen key. Remember to use the short edge section of the Allen key not the ball end.

 Take the gear shifter dust cap out of the shifter using a sharp cross Phillips head screw driver. Note on some older sram shifters you will need to back off the top two allen key bolts on the shifter to release this dust cover screw.

 Pull the cable out of the shifter and the outer cable and discard.

 Step 3;

 Put a drop of wet lube on the wrag and pull the new inner wire through it a few times. This pre lubes the cable and also takes away the protective transport lubricant (lanolin) that the cable is coated in from new.

 Step 4;

Remove the Ferrules from the outer cable. If you do not do this you run the risk of them dropping into the swing arm and your job will take a lot longer…

 Run the new inner through the old outer backwards so that the head of the inner wire is at the derailluer end.

 Lightly clamp the cable into the cable clamp on the rear mech.

 Now you should have your inner wire running through the old outer in the bike with the open end of the inner exposed. This allows you to pull the old outer off of the new inner leaving just the new inner wire in the bike.

 You can now use the inner as a guide to fit the new outer!

Step 5;

 Cut your new outer to length using as little outer cable as possible. Make sure the bikes handle bars can turn 180 degrees before pulling on the cable and that it doesn’t snag anywhere in the suspension linkage when its compressed. A clean route into your cable guides is advisable and make sure the outer cable doesn’t rub on your fork crown as this can cause wear and damage very quickly.

 use the pick to widen the ends of the cable outer. Pour a small amount of wet lube into the outer. This ensures there is minimum friction in the system.

 Feed the new outer onto the inner that is in the swing arm of the bike (Don’t forget to re-attach the Ferrules once you have the new outer cable routed through the swingarm).

 Your new outer is now fitted without having to resort to torches, magnets and other home made contraptions to get the cable fitted……I think hey presto is the correct term!

Step 5;

 Now you simply have to undo the cable clamp on the mech and pull the inner back out of the new outer and fit through the shifter the correct way.

 Once fed through correctly re attach to the mech and torque to the manufacturers recommended settings. Remember to make sure your shifter is in bottom gear (9th or 10th if your posh!) and your mech is sitting in the bottom gear also before attaching the inner cable.

 Fancy Learning more top tips? why not book yourself onto a Cytech course with us here at ATG-Training!!

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