LIFE IN A LIVERPOOL BIKE SHOP DURING LOCKDOWN

Bike Shops are important to our communities – what a nice surprise!

On Monday 23rd March Boris Johnson announced that all non-essential retailers were being forced to close as part of the Government’s measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.  Giant Liverpool is a family owned independent bike shop and the family were expecting this announcement.  We made plans to all meet at the store to put signs on the door and alter our website.

What a shock then to see that we were listed as essential to the Government’s strategy and were allowed to remain open if we wished. Ministers had at last acknowledged the importance of daily exercise and listed cycling along with walking and running as being allowed. Key workers were possibly commuting by bike and needed to be able to get their bikes repaired or serviced. With participation in all sport being cancelled and gyms forced to close then perhaps there would be a surge in demand form people returning to cycling?

Of course we had to assess the risk on the health of our staff and customers. We thought we should try and support those who wanted to ride and thought we could trade safely.

Lots of people had campaigned for cycling and bike shops to be judged as a special case. The chief executive of British Cycling wrote to the health secretary urging ministers to add cycling to the list of recommended activities during the Coronavirus outbreak. Also, a group of nearly 50 academics and experts on public health and transport wrote an open letter to the government urging ministers to encourage walking and cycling amid the pandemic, noting their vital importance in the wider public health issue of combating inactivity. Precise figures are hard to estimate, but one often quoted statistic suggests that in England alone 80,000 plus people die every year due to the health consequences of inactivity.

One week into the heightened lockdown and what has happened in our bike shop? Footfall has been steady, and we have managed to maintain social distancing with ourselves and our customers. We have a hand sanitiser at our front door (which is more than our local Sainsbury’s does) and notices in store. Of course our cleaning regime has been massively stepped up.

We have seen signs of people returning to cycling but we are only one week into the new regime and things could change at any time.  We too could be forced to close or if we fail to cover our overheads we could choose to close. 

On my daily rides it is wonderful to now see the numbers of families riding on our quieter roads where they feel safe.  Maybe all these new walkers and cyclists will keep this up even when we return to normal life. What will the “new normal” look like? There are predictions for massive business failures.  

In the long term though this brings me onto wondering about the importance of bike shops in our community.  

There were no bike shops in or around the city centre when we opened 11 years ago when Giant asked me to open their first brand store in Europe here in Liverpool.   Our nearest competitor has just closed and another chain has announced it’s intention to follow suit.

The leader of Preston Council, Matthew Brown, coined a phrase “guerilla localism” to explain their strategy for transforming the city’s fortunes. They positively encouraged organisations and individuals to spend locally. The Federation of Small Businesses has published research by CLES showing that for every pound spent with a small or medium-sized firm, 63p is re-spent locally. That drops to 40p for every pound given to a large or multinational company.

Please read the full article at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/31/preston-hit-rock-bottom-took-back-control

Of course that makes sense.  All four of our directors live and work on Merseyside – so do all of our staff. We have paid Liverpool Council over £92,000 in Business Rates. We pay National Insurance and Corporation Tax at the proper rate. We don’t employ anyone to devise ways of dodging our responsibilities. We have taken on apprentices over the years and would like to do so again. We would like to employ more people but need to be more confident about our future.

When all of this is over we will get the community and the High Street we deserve.

Colin Trigg
Director, Liverpool Bicycle Limited and Liverpool Bicycle Co-operative Limited

Hightown Cycle Repairs
I run Hightown Cycle Repairs a small workshop based in Hightown. I initially closed when the lockdown was announced I have type 1 diabetes. I had so many phone calls I reopened last Monday with some social distancing measures in place. ‬
‪I have had a super busy ad exciting week, with the vast majority of work for new customers using their bikes for their daily exercise. It’s been great to see people getting their bikes out of garages and sheds and starting to ride. I was out riding one evening with my son and overheard a young girl riding with her Mum, she said Mum this is ace can we do this more. I hope that many people will have to rethink there leisure time and use their bikes even more once the lockdown is rescinded.‬
‪Stay safe and healthy.‬
Tim Mercer ‪
07806 784917
hightowncycles@virginmedia.com

Quinns Bike Centre is closed over Easter, open again on Tuesday 14th.
379 Edge Lane, L7 9LQ

MCC meetingS

In line with advice being given by most organisations to avoid unnecessary gatherings due to ongoing Covid-19 crisis – MCC meeting will not be taking place. We will be holding a telephone conference call instead.

Bike Life survey published

Sustrans has just published its Bike Life survey. It shows that there is a significant appetite for cycling in the Liverpool City Region as well as the demand for more and better cycle routes.
69% of residents support the creation of safe, separated cycling routes to encourage more people to ride bikes more often, particularly for shorter journeys. Two thirds of all journeys taken in the Liverpool City Region are less than three miles, but right now, around 50% of these are still taken by car.
The survey is representative of all Liverpool City Region residents, not just those who cycle.
Download the Bike Life report HERE

Forthcoming meetings

Merseyside Cycling Campaign Monthly Meeting
Monday 17 February – 6pm
Fodder Canteen, 65a Norfolk Street, Liverpool L1 0BE

Liverpool City Council Active Travel Forum
Thursday 20 February – 5pm
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust, Eaton Rd, Liverpool L12 2AP

Riverside Drive Protest
Thursday 27 February – 3.30pm
At the pelican crossing  point on Riverside Drive between Priory Wood and the entrance to Festival Gardens
Liverpool City Council has announced it is working on a £45 million project, prioritising car travel in South Liverpool.
This ignores the climate emergency, air pollution and  pedestrian and cyclist safety.
The plan is to make Riverside Drive and Jericho Lane a dual carriageway.

Riverside Drive Protest


Thursday 24th October at 3.30pm
At the pelican crossing between Priory Wood and the entrance to Festival Gardens

Liverpool Council has decided to push ahead with plans to construct a dual carriageway along the route of Jericho Lane, Riverside Drive and Sefton Street. LCC has declared a Climate Emergency, but building a road will lead to more car journeys and will generate more carbon emissions. Air pollution will worsen in the area around the road.

This LCC report from 2018 was not presented to the public at consulations in 2019: https://liverpool.greenparty.org.uk/news/2019/09/13/south-liverpool-road-plan/

Cycling for All