A Facebook post about a bike mechanic who lost his job at Halfords and his home after he was diagnosed with cancer and is now fixing people’s bikes outside Liverpool Street station in London has gone viral, being shared more than 1,400 times on the social network in the past month.
On 9 November, Karun Chhokar posted that he had gone to a Cyclehoop Deluxe Repair Station by the bike racks at the station with his brother Saran, whose front brake needed replacing.
There, they discovered 56-year-old Maxwell Emmanuel, originally from Guyana, who offered his services to them and also fixed a puncture for a Deliveroo rider who had stopped to see what was going on.
“We all got chatting and established that he used to be a bike mechanic at Halfords,” Chhakar wrote.
“Unfortunately, Maxwell was diagnosed with cancer in the bladder last year. Therefore, he could not work during the period of having his bladder removed and going through chemotherapy treatment, so he lost his job.
“Subsequently, Maxwell had no income to pay his rent and once he actually beat cancer, there was no other choice for him but to live on the streets.”
For fixing the brake and the puncture, Maxwell made £15, and since the news spread, Cyclehoop says that more than 20 people have approached him and offered him donations in exchange for repairs to their bikes.
Karun and Maxwell (picture via Cyclehoop)
Karun wrote in his post: “A hardworking man who wants to earn a living has been dealt a difficult hand, however all he needs is the support and belief to get his life back on track. Our aim is to get Maxwell into permanent accommodation as well as getting the word around that he is eager to offer his skills in exchange for a fair price.”
This post isn’t about us getting recognition, it’s to spread awareness of the following points:
1) Maxwell the mechanic is outside Liverpool Street station between 3pm – 8pm everyday (Bishopsgate entrance, in the direction towards Shoreditch, opposite the police station, usually where the Stansted coach service stops off) and he is more than happy to help anyone with a bike issue, so spread the message to anyone you know who would benefit from his expertise!
2) There are a lot of homeless people out in London who could do with a little human interaction – it only takes a couple of minutes out of your day to stop and talk with a homeless individual. You really don’t know what surprises might pop out of this conversation and how you may be able to eventually support them.
3) See past the stigma attached to homeless people, a lot of them just need someone to understand their situation and give them belief that they can turn their lives around.
4) The CC Foundation will be holding a food/clothes bank donation point down the Brentwood High Street on Saturday 16th of December, from which we will be able to assist Maxwell and other individuals like him survive through the winter months.
Cyclehoop added that it was “happy that one of our products has enabled someone to earn a bit of money and hopefully improve their circumstances and want to share this story with our community to raise awareness of Maxwell’s story.”
The company has asked anyone who may be able to helpnicky [at] cyclehoop.com ( to email them).
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.