Buying a bicycle has changed a lot from the days when the only option was to mosey on down to your local bike shop and ask for a recommendation or a shiny new rig you saw in a magazine.
The internet has made sure of that. It’s a different ball-game now, with so many different frames on the market, all readily available at cut-rate prices somewhere or other online, and the components to go with them all in the same boat.
The result has been the rise of the online seller and the gradual fall of the local bike shop, but with cycling – from road cycling to commuting and mountain biking – booming like never before, surely there should be more than enough trade to go around?
“If you want independent bike shops to be here then it needs to stop…”
The sad truth is that even with the increasing numbers of cyclists, there’s been such a significant shift in shopping tendencies in the past 10 years that many local bike shops have been left struggling. If people can save money elsewhere, they’re obviously likely to do so.
But what’s the real cost of saving some cash online? Are we at risk of losing many of the local bike shops which we rely on for maintenance, for putting a physical form to a purchase before we buy it and for those emergency accessories and quick fixes that we couldn’t ride without? The answer if nothing changes, is undoubtedly yes.
“Bicycle shops in the past few years have had a big hit, mainly down to the internet,” Chris Fowler told us. He’s been in the bicycle trade over 26 years and has been running Freewheelin’ Cycles, a traditional bike shop in Edinburgh, since 2001.