Holly & Brad, Preston

Holly & Brad relocated from Preston, read their story here!

Their story...

Couple, Brad and Holly, relocated to the Isle of Man from Preston in the UK in July 2022. Brad a bike mechanic and Holly, a bike shop sales assistant, work for local business Cycle 360, a unique space on the Island where cycling and café culture meet under one roof. Holly, a keen cyclist, is one of very few females in a bike shop sales role in the Isle of Man. 

Landing on the Isle of Man 

Holly:
I’d visited the Island on many occasions over the years, coming here for holidays since I was a little girl. It become a home from home for me, and I always knew in my heart it was where I wanted to be. Through our love of cycling, over the years my family and I had grown to know many members of the Isle of Man cycling community, and it was one of these connections that reached out to me about a bike shop sales assistant role at Cycle 360. At the time, Brad and I were working at a UK-based performance bike brand. Both of us were feeling unchallenged in our roles, and when the call came in, we were immediately excited – we were up for the adventure. 

Brad:
I’d not visited the Isle of Man before, but Holly always spoke so highly of it. I’d always harked for a more rural way of living and knew the Island could more than feed my cycling passion! When Cycle 360 got in touch with Holly, we asked if they’d be interested in hiring a bike mechanic too – they said I was just what they were looking for – fast forward a few months and we were packing our bags to start our Isle of Man adventure! 


An employer that has gone above and beyond  

Holly:  
Our relocation to the Island really was the start of a new chapter for us as a couple; not just because we were moving to a new country and starting new jobs, but also because it was the first time Brad and I would be living together. We were excited at the prospect of the move, but a little daunted too. However, Cycle 360 couldn’t have been more helpful in supporting us with the transition. They helped us acquire our work permits, pointed us in the direction of Locate Isle of Man who couldn’t have been more helpful, found us a rental property, and have supported us with short-term relocation costs. The property they found us is out of this world – a cosy apartment overlooking the beach in Laxey. We have panoramic views of the bay, privacy, and a short bike commute to work. I’m still pinching myself that I get to live in such a beautiful place. 

Brad:
Cycle 360 has gone above and beyond to help us with our relocation; they’ve supported us with rent and buying bits and pieces for the flat. From day one they have shown a real commitment to us as employees. They want us to have as good as time outside of work as we do inside – the entire team have been so welcoming and we’ve both been so overwhelmed at how much everyone wants to help us.   
Even in the few short weeks we’ve been on the Island, I’ve supported Cycle 360 as a mechanic in several local cycling events. It’s been a great way to meet new people and has given me the opportunity to challenge myself as a mechanic – only last week I supported the Cycling Club Isle of Man team at the Manx Telecom International Stage Race and helped at the Isle of Man Gran Fondo. There’s a great cycling community in the Isle of Man – with plenty of groups to join and events to take part in. The Island itself is great for cycling with a mix of terrains to choose from – all right on your doorstep. 

A rewarding working environment 

Holly:
My previous role was behind the scenes of the bike shop – supporting mechanics and tinkering with bikes here and there. At Cycle 360 I’m customer facing, and it’s been life changing! I used to only see the bike – now I get to see the person! For many, cycling is more than just a hobby - it’s a lifestyle and life changing thing to participate in. People may take up the sport to improve their mental or physical health. For others it may be a way to grow their confidence, or to aid recovery after an illness – so to play even a small part in someone’s journey is incredibly rewarding.  
To be one of the very few females in a bike shop too has been incredibly rewarding; it’s been wonderful to share a women’s perspective on cycling, and on products such as bike saddles, as bike shops can often be intimidating places for women. I’ve already had numerous women come up to me in the shop looking for advice and guidance.  

Brad:
I’m absolutely loving my role at Cycle 360. Not only is it a lovely warm environment, with a friendly team, but one where I can learn from the very best. The team is made up of some of the Island’s most well-respected mechanics; their combined knowledge and experience is a great opportunity for me to gain on-the-job learning.  After my probation period has ended, Cycle 360 has already said they will fund and support me to obtain my Cytech qualification, something my previous employer was unwilling to do.  
Of course, there is the added benefit of a daily allowance we can spend at the café plus unlimited coffee! 

Space to breath and unwind

Holly:
Already, living on the Isle of Man has made a huge difference to our work-life balance. The pace of life is slightly slower, but things always get done. There’s no ‘rat race’ here, but still plenty going on to make life a fulfilling one.  
We can both commute to work on our bikes, which takes all of 35 minutes! The roads aren’t as busy here, and there’s plenty of space to really enjoy your ride. The route can be as scenic as you like, and we’ve already explored a lot of what the Island has to offer in terms of cycling. From off-road biking in the plantations and open green lanes, to road cycling on the coastal roads and windy back-lanes; there’s a real freedom here for cyclists, which you don’t get as much in the UK. I also feel very safe here to ride out on my own; if I broke down, I know I’d be fine – I either wouldn’t be too far away from a point of contact or that someone would stop to help – because everyone is so friendly!  

Brad:
I agree, the people here are incredibly friendly, trusting, and helpful. This has certainly helped us settle into our new home. We also have more time to ourselves – now that we live together and are in close proximity to work and things to do, it gives us more time together. Cycle 360 is a really flexible employer as well; they’ve been very accommodating of our transition, and the fact that we will have to occasionally head back to the UK to see family and friends.  

An Island full of surprises  

Brad:
The Isle of Man is perfect for those that love the outdoors. The landscape is diverse, and has a lot to offer, whatever your outdoor interests are – from cycling, hiking, and water sports to open-water swimming. We’re hoping to get a sea kayak this summer – Laxey beach is a stone’s throw away from our flat so we can just hop down after a day’s work and take in the fresh sea air – and hopefully spot a dolphin or two!  

Holly:  
I was amazed at how much incredible wildlife there is to see across the Island. In our first week I saw more dolphins and seals than I’d seen in my entire life! The Island is full of wonderful surprises; although it’s only been several weeks since our relocation, we have been pleasantly surprised at how much goes on in the Isle of Man. We’ve already been to several events including the Southern 100 Races, the Port Erin Beach Festival, and several high-profile cycling competitions. I actually think there is more to do here, than in Preston! 

Brad: 
The food and drink scene here is also amazing – there’s plenty to try, and you can tell that the hospitality businesses really care about their customers. People value good food here – and I think this shows. Local produce and independent businesses are really championed on the Island, and it’s great to see town centres and high streets full of independent businesses, rather than the typical high-street chains.  

Holly: 
It really has been a life-changing experience for us, and our quality of life has drastically improved as a result. I used to live by the motorway – now the buzz of cars has been replaced by the sound of waves, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!