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Cadence Cycles: Is this the future of the local bike shop?

Will Leedham | 2 years ago

Cadence Performance cycles have launched a crowd cube fundraiser, looking for investors within the cycling community to help open three new cycle shops across the country.

Cadence Performance Cycles crowd cube campaign allowed us to have a rare glimpse inside the accounts of a local bike shop. Members of the cycle and triathlon communities were courted to become investors in their expansion, and so the details of their growth over the past few years are available for all to see.

cadence performance cycles the cycle show ITV recording

Cadence Performance Cycles business has been built on the premise of providing a centre for cyclists and triathletes. From the start, they have been more than a bike shop. They are a coffee stop for cyclists with provision made to safely leave your bikes. They are a mechanics, a bike fitter, and a studio offering a huge range of services including Watt Bike spinning, Pilates, pedal stroke analysis, and sports massage.

Over the weekends, Cadence’s large central space is shared between their bike shop and café concession, selling the sort of coffee endlessly and inexplicably popular on Instagram. During the week, the space is cleared for presentations and exhibitions.

We escaped for a work outing over the summer to see Team Sky rider Nico Roche talk about cycling and his autobiography (Incidentally, Cadence also fitted his custom insoles for the Tour de France while he was there). We have stopped by on several occasions to watch the filming of ITV’s The Cycle Show which has found the shop a good location for a semi regular studio location; and as a company with several members in the Clapham Chasers, have often stopped for a drink and healthy snack on a weekend club ride.

Cadence Performance Cycles have seen their sales increase over the past four years of business from just over £10,000 per month to over £80,000 per month. The breakdown of their annual pre tax sales are equally impressive:

  • 2012-13    £188,390
  • 2013-14    £401,365
  • 2014-15    £792,078

It is no secret that a lot of our local bike shops are struggling to compete with online Goliath’s like Wiggle. We are sadly seeing fewer and fewer independent stores on our high street, with claims of customers coming in to try things out for size, only to head online to make a purchase. I think it’s something we are all guilty of to a greater or lesser extent.

While a not insignificant part of Cadence Performance Cycles’ revenue comes from their diversifying initiatives, 76% is still from ‘traditional’ services; namely bike sales, components, their workshop, and bike fitting.

As a proof of concept, a specialist, independent cycle retailer such as Cadence can quite happily compete with the online stores, and their success seems to hinge on giving cyclists a reason to come.

After being attracted over to Crystal Palace to see a talk with pro rider or nutrition expert, maybe you’ll go a little out of your way to stop there on your next ride. You’ll have a coffee and a cake, and next time you’re in, maybe you’ll book a training session while you’re there. By the time you come to upgrade your bike, perhaps the brand loyalty will be enough to tempt you off the internet and into the bricks and mortar store. You’ve heard good things about their bike fit after all, and they offer good advice on the incomprehensible component options.

Cadence proudly point to a 2015 report based on Strava data which shows it to be 2nd most popular cycling cafe in greater London. There is a little bit of spin on that statistic, but it nevertheless proves their popularity within the cycling community. If visiting at the weekends or a weekday evening, the shop is always busy. Cyclists and triathletes are rushing in and out of back rooms, coming and going from spin classes, trying bikes for size, or enjoying the coffee and cake supplied by an artsy concession.

The Crowdcube campaign seeks to raise funds to expand the business, opening new stores across the country, and potentially developing a franchise which could be rolled out overseas. As with our coverage of the Vulpine fundraiser, we aren’t going to make any kind of recommendations, but rather watch and see where the future takes them.

Cadence Performance Cycles seems to be bucking the trend of falling sales among independent bike retailers. Their determination to be everything a cyclist needs, and not just a shop, has seen them grow year on year with plans now for expansion. Is this what a modern bike shop needs to look like? Perhaps it’s time some others took note.


Yellow Jersey offer bespoke Cycle Shop Insurance and we’d love to hear from you if you need a quote. Visit our dedicated page here or ring 0333 003 0046 for quote.

Will Leedham

| 2 years ago

About this author:
I wasn’t given the choice as to whether or not I wanted to get into cycling. My family bike shop (Leedham’s Leicester) was founded in the 1850’s, and to avoid bringing dishonour to my ancestors, took up the two wheels out of reluctant duty. That said I do head out for the odd spin and know rather a lot about bikes.

I take care of YJ’s digital marketing among other things. Ever noticed those ads that seem to follow you round the internet and all over Facebook? Yep, I’m that guy.
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