Sidwell Cycles Closes its Doors for the Last Time

On the 25th of January 2012 Sidwell Cycles closed its doors to the public for the last time. The rising costs of overheads and the struggle to compete in a market now dominated by online retailers forced the local bike shop out of business.

I would like to say a big thank you to Reg, Frank, Connor and of course Ben for going out of their way to support me.

A prime example was just before I went to the Alps in 2010. Me being me I left bike fixes till the last minute. The damping cartridge in my Boxxers was dead, but Frank installed one of his own and because of his fast handy work my bike was ready the day I set off. During the Sidwell interview, when I asked what his most unusual customer experience was, he replied:

“Making you a set of boxers to take to the Alps about an hour before you left!”

Earlier that summer I had an episode of destruction when I broke a frame, a fork and a headset in quick succession. Sidwell’s good work meant I hardly missed a moment off the trails.

It makes me smile that the last time I went into the shop, on my last day in Exeter before I moved last Autumn, I was greeted with a beer by Reg and Frank. There couldn’t have been a better way to say bye.

While the Internet may be home to the best prices, which for people strapped for cash (most riders) is hard to resist, you only get the experiences I reflected on in person, face-to-face. As Tim Ruck from The Boarding House said:

“Winstanley’s don’t lend you the tools to fix a flat five minutes walk from Flowerpot do they?”

The essence of the story is, if the people in the bike shop down the road are friendly and support the riding scene, then before you go online to save a fiver on a part, think about what it would be like without them.

Thanks for all the help guys, you will be missed.

Thank you edit coming soon.

Sidwell Cycles Interview

Post by Ben on Sidwell Cycles Facebook page, 25 January:

So thats it then! Time to put my angle grinder down and go look for a job :(

I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been a part of Sidwellcyles!!

From customers to suppliers even Dale O'Connor :) but not the f*****g landlord!!!

We all made a lot of friends (a couple of enemies ) but it was a fantastic place to be working in.

I'd like to thank Frank & Reg for being like my family and having to put up with my ups and downs and generally just being there for me, and the sacrifices you both made to keep the shop going in hard times.

I'd like to also say sorry to anyone who has been effected by us folding, I never wanted it to end this way, I'd like to say a massive thank you to a few of our suppliers who were 110% behind us! And you know who you are.

We basically fell down because of the massive overheads and it's gutting that it's happened but it's time to take a break and dust ourselves down and look to the future.

Who knows? there may just be a chance we'll be back.