Workers seize control of bicycle shop

Bicycle barricade. Fitzrovia Bicycles is now being run by the proletariat who believe they can not only do a much better job than the prevous bourgeois owner but they will no longer will they be alienated from the fruit of their labour. Picture: Victoria Pendleton

Bicycle barricade. Fitzrovia Bicycles is now being run by the shop workers who believe they can do a much better job than the previous owner. Picture: Linus Rees

A bicycle shop in Fitzrovia has been bought from the owner by the shop workers. The long-established shop on the corner of New Cavendish Street and Hanson Street was bought by three shop workers in September this year. Fitzrovia Bicycles, formerly known as Cavendish Cycles, is now run by three bicycle mechanics –  Alex, Tom and William – who specialise in repairs of all kinds and a variety of bicycles for sale. They had previously worked in the shop for three years and felt they would be better off running the shop themselves rather than being employees. “We thought we could do a much better job at running the business than the previous owner,” said William Taylor. So they formed their own company, arranged some finance, and put their own money where their collective mouths should be.

William is a fine artist by trade and has put this creativity into the shop. Tom Hipwell also comes from an artistic background being a graphic designer. Alex “phaser-gun” Polakowski is the mechanical expert and overseas all the repairs and bike-building. What they lacked in business knowledge they sought advice about. But the three of them learnt an awful lot from the mistakes of the previous owner.

Alex announced the shop takeover on the popular London Fixed Gear and Single Speed forum back in August saying: “I know a great deal of people on this forum have frequented the shop in the past and some of you who’ve been in recently may well have noticed that our stock levels have been poor if not somewhat non-existent, and to anyone who we’ve let down I can only apologise. Unfortunately we’ve been at the mercy of the current owner, who for some reason didn’t seem to willing to put in the money to keep decent parts in stock. So when offered the chance to take over we’ve jumped at it.

“The most notable initial change will be the shop name, it’ll be changing to Fitzrovia Bicycles. Although the Cavendish Cycles name seems to be quite well known, we’re also keen to mark a fresh start. It may take a few months for things to change to how we want them to be, as funds may well be tight for us to start with, but bear with us and we’re hoping to make the best of it. We’re seriously looking forward to making some exciting changes, and no doubt we’ll keep you all posted on developments,” he told the forum readers.

Tools of the trade. Alex surverys his domain

Tools of the trade. Alex surveys his domain. Picture: Fitzrovia Bicycles

Alex told Fitzrovia News: “We do all sorts of repairs and we do it very quickly in our own workshop here. If you bring it in early we’ll do it the same day. We also do repairs and service for the Brompton folding bicycles as we an authorised service dealer.”

Tom says that their range of stock is much better than before. “We have all the popular components from Shimano, Campagnolo, Stonglight, and Chris King. We’ve also got Phil Wood track components. And we can get pretty much anything. We have Sidi shoes for the first time and gear from Velocity, Endura and Bagaboo.”

“One thing we are really excited about is the new steel track framesets we are selling which are made by London framebuilder Tim Slack. These Slack frames are available in 631 and 953 fillet or lugged steel,” says Tom.

Fitzrovia Bicycles, 136-138 New Cavendish Street, W1W 6YD
020 7631 5060
fitzroviabicycles.com
Same day repair service if brought in before 11.00am. Brompton spares and service. Fixed gear, single speed, racing, and commuter bikes.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.00am to 7.00pm; Saturday 11.00am to 6.00pm; Sunday Closed

8 Comments on Workers seize control of bicycle shop

  1. Best bike shop in the area. Unfailingly helpful, speedy repairs, reasonable prices. What more do you want? Not part of a chain 🙂 Support your independent bike shop!

  2. Great article and a great bike shop!

  3. Gareth Alexis Brinkworth // 10:16 am, Tuesday, 21 December 2010 at 10:16 am //

    I actually recently bought my first ever bike from this shop and was really impressed by the service and the price. Definitely recommended.

  4. Have been a cyclist pretty well all my life since the mid Fifties and wish the 3 proprietors every success for the future. One quibble though – the headline – buying out the previous owner hardly smacks of “workers seizing control” in the sense in which such sentiments are usually projected.

    • I hope you are not accusing me of having a false consciousness with my headline, comrade. I truly believe the three members of the proletariat will now cease to be alienated from the fruits of their labour. The trouble with you economic reductionists is that you have never considered any humanistic writing of Marx to be of importance. Yet you have nothing to lose but your (bicycle) chains.

      Linus

  5. Oh Linus would I accuse you of slick headline use? I mean would I? Time for a cup of SUPER SLICK-PHOO TEA. Karl Marx? – wasn’t he a friend of Princess Diana’s Paul Burrell. Yes that’s him.

  6. Great to see this, friendly place and a perfect antidote to faceless Evans.

  7. And such a nice place to go and shoot the breeze while the guys mend another rear wheel puncture on my brommie.

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