Why cycling clubs and bike shops are made for each other
Up and down the country, for over 100 years, there have been strong links between cycling clubs and their local bike shops. Has the advent of online retailers put a stop to that, or does the club/shop connection have a place in today’s world?
Here at St Margaret’s Cycling Club, we find that our relationship with Richmond Cycles is going from strength to strength, with benefits for both the club and the shop. Indeed, the biologists would describe it as a “symbiotic relationship with mutualism.”
Faced with a challenging retail environment, Richmond Cycles has had to evolve and make changes. In our experience, every customer is greeted warmly and is respected whatever their level of cycling knowledge. The shop team is incredibly friendly and always prepared to offer honest, objective advice. For the more technically minded, their expanded workshop facility is part of the shop, so it is easy to get mechanical insight or a slight tweak to one’s bike. St Margaret’s Cycling Club members also enjoy a small discount on servicing, cycling clothing and accessories.
As a club, we have organised rides on Sundays and Wednesdays, but there are club members who seek more regular group rides. Such club members are welcomed to the ranks of the shop’s Friday rides, often adding experience to the shop peloton. With new routes, different coffee stops and new faces to ride with it’s win-win for us all. And through this participation in shop rides, the club has gained a number of new members – the lifeblood of any cycling club.
Richard and his team (two of whom are members of the club) would probably be better placed than me to set out the benefits of the relationship from the shop’s perspective, but I would suggest that in return Richmond Cycles enjoys a closer relationship with a knowledgeable segment of their customers and probably experiences more business as a result. After all, as Richard said recently when the shop and the club had another combined social evening, “We are all bike people.” I will drink to that!
Chris Rees, St Margaret’s Cycling Club