It doesn’t really feel like half a lifetime since I quit a perfectly good job as a Mainframe Systems Programmer with IBM, to make a full-time hobby of running an unusual bike business! It seemed a pretty rash thing to do back then.
I recently found my first (and only) business plan. It makes some interesting reading, in some places ridiculously optimistic – I estimated £100 for tools and £100 for parts! Some other ideas didn’t work out, but the basic idea of a business specialising in niche and unusual bikes has surprisingly worked. Back then, the internet was young and the idea of online selling didn’t really exist – now, of course, none of us would manage without it. One of the biggest differences comparing that old business plan to now is that I just didn’t anticipate we’d have customers all over the world.
Back then, we started out doing repairs like any normal bike shop – that picture up there is Andrew, my mechanic – but over the years the normal bike shop things have died away and been replaced by much more manufacturing and unusual bikes. Life is quite tough for a lot of bike shops at the moment, so I’d like to think this was a clever and prescient move, but really it was mostly accidental!
So, thank you everyone who’s been a customer over those 20 years.