Fat Birds Don’t Fly has a business model based around attracting customers passionate about titanium bikes from far and wide. Carlton Reid asks Richard Bird how the business thrives on long-distance loyalty...


How’s business?
Despite the weather you mean? We’re doing alright. We sell upmarket products to people who travel to get to us. We don’t sell much to locals, we’re not into £100 or £200 bikes.
We have 100 road bikes in stock at any one time and don’t stock the usual suspects. We specialise in titanium road bikes, there are 30 in stock right now; brands like Van Nicholas, Merlin and Litespeed.
After taking over a fishing tackle shop next door, we now have a 100 foot frontage. Undercover we have 3,000 square feet of retail space to fill.

Who travels to the wilds of north Norfolk for a bike?
We have people who will undertake a 400 mile round trip to see our titanium bikes, because they’re stocked in depth. People will come for the weekend; it’s a stay at the seaside. Our location really helps the business stay constant.
We couldn’t survive on local custom. Hunstanton has 6,000 residents and the average age here is 68.
I double-up as the town mayor and am nearly at retirement age, yet I’m the youngest mayor for a long time.

As mayor could you install bike lanes overnight?
We’ll have cycle routes within the next 12 months but that’s not because I’m mayor. I’ve spent 15 years campaigning for cycle routes in this town, including four years as a local councillor. Our routes are billed as cycling and wheelchair routes.

What else do you do for your local community and for cycling?
Our ladies cycling team is still going strong, as is the shop cycling club. We’re active in the local cycling scene. Three members of the Kings Lynn cycling club work here, including the president.

How many work at Fat Birds? And do they all cycle?
We have nine full and part time staff. Most ride. Our staff are either very young or very old.

About Fat Birds Dont Fly:
Directors: Peter Flett
Telephone: 01485 535875
Established: 1995
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 9-5.30; Sunday 10-4 or by appointment.

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