January flew by, so here’s the February update…..

Well, first thing’s first…

We are very proud to say that The London Cycle Workshop has survived the all important first year! It’s been a long year full of ups and downs, (mainly ups we’re pleased to say) and with the support of the local community and fellow cyclists along with a growing following of loyal customers, The London Cycle Workshop has become a permanent fixture of St. John’s Hill.

Those of you who were with us from the start, or have been following these updates, will have seen quite a transformation over the months. When we first started we had no money left for stock so the shop looked a bit thin. As the year has gone by and we have met and talked to our customers, we have been adding more and more stock to the shelves week after week. In fact we are already running out of room!

Probably the biggest addition to the shop was the recruitment of Nick as a second full time bike mechanic. This also meant re-designing the workshop to make space for a second workstand and set of tools, (to which we also add to week after week – a guilty pleasure of ours!). This has enabled us to keep up with the growing demand for bike servicing and repairs.

The vat increase and its impact on prices.

We, like all others have been affected by the recent increase in vat. Throughout January we froze our prices on both stock and labour rates. We have decided that the stock we had in hand as of the vat increase will stay at the marked price. New stock will be priced at the new recommended retail price, which has crept up a bit. The prices for labour will stay as they are, (a full menu of which can be found on the Workshop page), and we will review them later in the year. We really want to keep the labour rates as they are more or less, as we think we have got them about right, reflecting the time it takes and the complexity of each job. And, to be frank, we have seen the high prices some shops charge for jobs and it seems unfair.

The shop and stock.

The first priority for us when we opened was just making it through year one. Now we can tick that off, year two will be about improving the shop space we have including the workshop, and increasing the range of products we have on the shop floor. This will mean opening new supplier accounts and creating more display space in the shop. So far, almost all of the accessories and clothing we have in the shop are there because we have listened to what our customers would like to see in their local shop. In a shop our size it would be impossible to please all of the people all of the time, but we try our best to try and find a good balance. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated.

In order to use the shop space we have more efficiently we will be carrying out some shop alterations including building a new shop counter and installing an additional work bench in the workshop. Please bare with us if the next time you visit the shop looks a bit messy during these improvements!

The workshop.

As mentioned above, the workshop, as with the shop, is growing and improving every week. We are constantly adding new tools and expanding the amount of parts we can keep in stock for repairs. It is hard to express just how many different parts there are for bikes, and it would be almost impossible to have everything at hand all of the time, try as we might. We aim to complete each repair job within a day, depending on parts. No work will be carried out without either it being agreed upon when the bike is dropped off, or after a telephone call to explain. Every bike service and most repairs are completed with a full hand written workshop receipt detailing the work undertaken and a full breakdown of costs.

As many of you will know, we don’t run a diary or appointment system here at The London Cycle Workshop. You can bring your bike in for servicing or repair at your convenience, we will have a look at the bike with you and then agree on the work that needs to be carried out and the deadline for collection. We are flexible when it comes to storage BUT we are also a small shop with limited storage so we are always grateful when a bike is collected on the day that been agreed. We really don’t want to ever turn any customer away because we don’t have the room to store their bike so please help us by collecting yours on time!

We also carry out many repairs, including puncture repairs, while you wait. There is seating for waiting customers and normally a selection of reading material on the counter!

On a personal note…
Both Nick and Simon are building up new road bikes for 2011 as we both want to get out and do more longer distance cycling. Well, what is actually happening is a lot of procrastination regarding groupsets and so on, (Campag vs Sram vs Shimano etc) but by the end of March if not sooner they should be together and ready to go! We are both cyclists for the love of cycling and don’t take it too seriously, but at the same time we are both serious about getting out on the bikes more.

Ambitiously perhaps, what we want to do is form a bit of a shop cycling club so we can go out cycling with some of our customers. We plan to get some jerseys made up and would like to go out once a fortnight if not once a week. I start this paragraph with ‘ambitiously’ not because we lack the dedication to make it happen, more because the shop keeps us pretty busy and time seems to be flying by already! What we will do is put up a sign up list in the shop so if you would like to come cycling with us, leave us your e-mail address and we can keep you updated.

In fact, it will be our London Cycle Workshop shop team cycle route organiser extraordinaire, Jim ‘Every Gram Counts’ Dutton, who is in charge of planning! Well done Jim.

Right, that’s all folks… drop back for future updates of which there will be more this year!