There Cycling was established February 2011 in West London, targeting a very specific type of customer.
While including bike shop standards – like bicycles for sale and a full workshop – the shop was and is squarely pitched at the ‘non-cyclist’. To elaborate, There Cycling is aimed at the kind of customer that doesn’t ‘do the lycra, reflective thing’, with a quality, unhurried approach.
Jim Kent and Eliza Gomez set the shop up together just over a year ago. Kent tells BikeBiz: “I am a big bike fan. I still race a bit in the Vets and do the odd 10 although I’m more of a ‘joiner in’ than a real competitor these days. My rule is to attack at least once per race, including the TTs.
“I don’t sprint any more after a nasty pile up a couple of years ago. I rode Route 66 in 2001 and the Tour of British Columbia Sportif in 2005. Last year I cycled 850 km to Gourdon in France in three days.”
Kent then decided the time was right to try to turn his enthusiasm for the sport into a business opportunity.
“I looked at opening a bike shop, but the market is saturated,” he explains. “There is a lot of narrow differentiation which supports that view. I then looked at the figures for participation and noticed that only eight to 12 per cent of people in London cycle despite the health and economic benefits. This made me think more about the non-cyclist market,” Kent elaborates. “The people who don’t define themselves as a cyclist and are actually put off by the day-glo and lycra. I found the image of cyclists is one of the most powerful disincentives to non-cyclists – along with road safety and theft.
“We are trying to add value through quality and fitness for purpose. All our bikes come with guards, carriers and most with lights. The bikes we sell fit into the buyer’s portfolio of goods and reflect the aesthetic and quality of their clothes, car, furnishings, watches, etc, and make them an object of desire. So far it is working well.”
Kent is keen to emphasise how separate his customers are from the typical cycle world: “Our customers don’t read Cycling Weekly and they are not in the London Cycle Campaign so we stay away from this end of it and focus on a quality machine as a lifestyle (though I hate the term) product. Women are a big segment.”
The kind of bikes the shop stocks are classic traditional bicycles made in Europe – ‘top quality well built machines’ says Kent. “We go for bikes that are visually attractive, resilient, low maintenance, long lasting and great to ride. An alternative to the ubiquitous Far Eastern offer.
“We don’t have a folder,” he says, “and I don’t think electric bikes will catch on. Too much of the health and green benefits are lost.
“Our offer is quite distinctive. We do Pilen from Sweden and Taarnby children’s bikes exclusively in the UK and we have Retrovelo from Germany. Pashley and Gazelle are more mainstream but still different enough to have clear blue water between us and the mainstream offer. It’s working well. We have a great range of children’s bikes too, sourced in Denmark.”
Kent’s ambitions for There Cycling, staffed by a team of four (including Kent), include an e-commerce site and a second shop – both of which are well on the way to being realised, he tells BikeBiz. Kent is less prosaic about long term ambitions however, which are simply to be happy.
Location: Boston Road, Hanwell, London, W7 3TR
Telephone: 020 8840 9228