Peterborough has cut car journeys by 12 per cent in five years thanks to Sustrans and DfT cash, but are the bike dealers of the city ready to provide potential cyclists with classic-style ‘sit-up-and-beg’ bikes? Mystery Shopper investigates...

MYSTERY SHOPPER: Peterborough Part One

Bristows Cycles
Based in a picturesque suburb of Peterborough, Bristows Cycles provided Mystery Shopper with near-perfect customer service and a shopping experience that was hard to fault.

I was greeted on entering the modestly-sized store and a staff member was soon discussing the sit-up-and-beg-style, providing useful information and advice.
Assuring me that the sector was currently in fashion, I was shown a selection of relevant models from Giant, Trek and Ridgeback, all largely sub-£500.

The sales assistant was happy to go into the specifics of the bikes too, including the pros and cons of steel and aluminium frames. Before leaving I was handed a catalogue detailing the bikes – replete with contact details – and the staff member went to the trouble of writing manufacturer web addresses for more research.

In short, Bristows ticked all the boxes, whether it was information-packed signage or great service. The store provided an excellent shopping experience where nothing seemed to be too much trouble and was, in the opinion of Mystery Shopper, hard to improve upon.

Woodston Cycles

Encouragingly, the second shop visited on the day also served up a decent bike shopping experience. Woodston is well placed to benefit from passing trade, set on a major road, and closer to the city.

Outside the shop were eye-catching displays encouraging customers to buy bikes for Christmas and check out attractively-priced second hand cycles.

An enthusiastic staff member greeted me on arrival and guided me to the relevant part of the store. The sales assistant also emphasised the type of bike was on-trend and informed Mystery Shopper that several of the store’s models were selling through quickly. Prices ranged close to £300 and despite the store not stocking a higher-priced alternative, the assistant did take the time to discuss models with a higher price tag.

The staff member showed one model – priced at £260 – which came with a dynamo-powered light and advised buying more lights to increase visibility in the dark winter months. He also offered to get the bike out for me to try. With a range of relevant models and good service, Woodston provided another great experience.

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