A lengthy report on the Edinburgh Bike Co-op in the business section of last night's Edinburgh Evening Post makes for revealing reading. For instance, a fifth of the shop's income comes from its website (which is the fastest growing part of the business) and the shop gets lots of orders for mudguards from America. And what does one of Britain's best bike shops think of fellow IBDs, and UK suppliers?

Today Edinburgh, tomorrow the world?

In an article entitled ’25 years in saddle, but co-op won’t hit brakes’, Edinburgh’s biggest bike shop – which recently expanded its empire by buying Aberdeen’s Cycling World – is profiled via Alan Nestor, the shop’s sales and marketing manager.

The co-op was started with three staff in 1977, and now employs up to 85 people during peak periods.

www.edinburgh-bicycle.co.uk was launched in 1996 and now has 10 000 customers on the weekly email list. E-commerce sales account for around a fifth of the shop’s turnover and net sales are "growing substantially faster than any part of the business" said Nestor.

"The market is almost limitless really, the thing that limits you is your distribution abilities. For instance, in America, you can’t get mudguards. We get people from the States e-mailing us asking for them, but they’re the worst thing in the world to post."

Edinburgh Bicycle’s turnover is expected to reach £4 million this year, but Nestor told the Edinburgh Evening Post that the cycling industry is not as lucrative as many imagine:

"Because it’s made up of so many independent retailers, it’s difficult to get an accurate picture of how the industry is doing. The supply chain is extremely under-developed, to the extent there are only four or five medium-sized distributors, and hundreds of other guys literally working out of sheds."

Nestor said the many stereotypes about bicycle shops, which can be intimidating for the uninitiated, still ring true.

"There is an inordinate amount of people wearing greasy overalls and not offering a good service," he told the paper.

So, does Edinburgh Bike Co-op plan to mop up any other fellow travellers? Could Scotland’s Alpine Bikes chain be the next in the Co-ops takeover plans?

"I’m never going to say never. If the price is right we might be interested," said Nestor.


The full article can be found at


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