Manchester bike brand Insync Bikes is championing the vital work of bike shops to mark Independents’ Day UK this Saturday, July 4.
Insync, owned by India-based Hero Cycles, is celebrating the service provided by its network of local bike shops, which has proved invaluable during the pandemic.
Independents’ Day UK is a campaign that exists to support and promote independent retail businesses across the UK all year round, but with an annual focus on July 4. Independents account for about 65 per cent of the approximately 290,000 retail outlets in the UK and are at the heart of local communities throughout the country.
Insync, which has its Hero Global Design Centre in Manchester, sells its bicycles through a network of around 400 independent bike dealers nationwide, a number it is looking to expand upon.
Bike shops have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the few businesses able to continue trading in lockdown.
Cycling has experienced a boom period over the last few months as thousands have taken up the sport as one of the government’s permitted daily activities. Others have taken to the saddle to commute to avoid the use of public transport.
Wayne Clarke, head of IBD sales at Insync, said it was important to champion local shops, both on Independents’ Day and all year round.
He said: “Independent retailers are the lifeblood of the high street, offering diversity of choice and a personal service. At Insync, we are proud of our independent bike shops, which offer a wealth of knowledge to shoppers. They usually have the answers to all manner of questions related to cycling, as well as aftercare support to give you peace of mind. Local bike shops have contributed to the growth in cycling during lockdown, enabling many more people to take up riding, and we look forward to seeing this trend continue.”
Insync brand ambassador Shanaze Reade, an Olympic BMX rider and track cyclist, has always used local bike shops.
She said: “When I started racing, I used an independent bike shop in Crewe and they were always supportive of me, helping fix my bike at short notice when it needed repairs and offering me advice whenever I needed it.
“They contributed to my love of cycling and I still call in to the same shop when I’m back home. It’s hugely important that we all support independent businesses to ensure the diversity of our towns and cities doesn’t die out. Their uniqueness and expertise undoubtedly contributes to bringing through generations of cyclists who may not have the same access to the sport if they did not exist.”
Bolton-based e-bikes specialist Ebike Capital has built up a strong relationship with Insync after stocking its Lectro range.
The specialist shop opened to cater for the growing demand for e-bikes in May 2019 and has 100 models on display. It is the shop’s wide range of options, and the expertise of staff, that manager Pat Aherne and owner Martin Cairns hope will set it apart from other stores, which tend to devote only a small section to e-bikes.
“You go into a big retailer and 95 per cent of bikes are mechanical, so we wanted to offer the end user a different option where they could look at 100 bikes rather than, say, six,” said Aherne, who speaks from experience, having swapped his mechanical bike for an electric version for his commute to work.
The shop advised a 92-year-old cyclist who had thought his cycling days were over. He took an e-bike but for a test ride and immediately placed an order. “He loved it,” said Aherne. “We get a lot of customers with impairments, for example, hip and knee replacements, lung or heart conditions. They’ve cycled all their lives and once they get on an e-bike they realise they can do what they did before.”
Insync partner Ian Collins had told his high school careers teacher of his dream of owning the independent shop that is now his, Devereux Cycles in Sale, Greater Manchester.
Having visited the shop regularly since 1982, he took the keys in 2005, taking over from previous owner Peter Devereux, who had taken him under his wing as an 11-year-old.
“I was very passionate about bikes growing up and my mum was a single parent so we didn’t have much money,” says Ian. “I came to the shop not long after it opened and Peter took me under his wing and helped me because he knew my situation.”
The business is a real family affair, with Ian’s son, Kyle, working full time in the shop and sharing his dad’s love of bikes – regularly impressing customers with his photographic knowledge of the facts and figures of various models.
Hero Cycles background
Hero Cycles Limited was founded in India in 1956. It is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world by volume producing 19,000 cycles per day and 5.2million per year. This represents one out of every 20 of the world’s bicycles. Hero Cycles has manufacturing units in Ludhiana (Punjab), Bihta (Bihar) & Ghaziabad (UP). It is part of the Hero Motors Company which has revenues of $400million and $1.2billion in assets employing circa 8,000 staff.
The company exports to more than 70 countries through a network of circa 250 suppliers and 2800 dealerships. Its bike range includes road bikes, hybrid bikes, children’s bikes, electric-bikes, mountain bikes, BMX and roadster models. Hero in India also manufactures automobile components like chassis for cars, safety components and transmission for motorcycles.
In August 2015, it acquired British brand Avocet Sports with 51pc stake targeting high-end bicycle market in Europe and now has full ownership. In 2015, it also acquired Firefox Bikes – India’s largest premium bicycle brand with an established presence Pan-India through a network of 160 outlets. In 2016, it acquired a majority stake in Sri Lanka’s leading bicycle manufacturer BSH Ventures, further boosting its manufacturing capacity. As part of major expansion plans across Europe it launched the £2million Hero Cycles Global Design Centre (HGD) in Manchester, UK, in January 2017. The design hub is led by creative minds from across the world including innovators from India, Taiwan and Denmark.
Hero Cycles is ISO9001 & ISO14001 Certified from BVC of UK and recognized by the R&D department by the Govt. of India.