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Keighley’s Aire Valley Cycles forced to close despite Tour effect and being voted one of UK's top bike shops

Owner, Bernie Burns, plans on offering a cycle repair service

Bernie Burns, the owner of Aire Valley Cycles, has sadly announced its closure. Named as one of BikeBiz’s top 20 independent bike dealers last year, the Keighley shop had been in business for 25 years.

“Cycling in Yorkshire has never been better,” wrote Burns on the shop’s website. “Last year The Tour de France boosted local businesses and the region’s people. So I write this with a very heavy heart. Unfortunately Aire Valley Cycles has closed down.”

Burns, a former professional cyclist, said he had been proud to be a part of the Aire Valley team for the last 20 years and thanked his many customers from down the years.

Another ex-professional cyclist, Sid Barras, told the Telegraph and Argus that the closure was a big loss to the town.

"I know Bernie – I feel desperately sorry for him and wish him well. I had a shop in Keighley in the 1970s and it's not an easy trade. People have got to support these local shops. You always received great service at Aire Valley Cycles and once you lose these places there's nowhere to go if you have a problem or need advice."

BikeBiz founder, Carlton Reid, told us that while there were a number of challenges facing retailers these days, it was still possible for independent shops to thrive.

“It’s always sad to see a bike shop bite the dust, especially one of the well-known ones. To be successful, independent bicycle shops have to face down a number of challenges, such as deep discounting from certain online retailers, the re-entry of Halfords into “enthusiast” territory, and the expanding empires of the likes of Evans and Edinburgh Bicycle, but there are some great bike shops out there which aren’t looking over their shoulders.

“And it’s not just about adding an espresso bar – although that seems to help. Bike shops that move with the times and are meaningfully connected to their customers are holding their own.”

Burns, it seems, already has plans for what to do next: “I personally am not ready to give it all up just yet and will hopefully be offering a cycle repair and maintenance service, which I hope you will all make use of.”

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Liaman | 7 years ago
1 like

I realise that this comment is very late. I found the article when looking for local shops in my area (I live in keighley and had always been curious why AV cycles was closed).

The reason that a lot of local bike shops  had failed to keep up with online sales was that Shimano's proceses made zero sense. There was a fixed "shop" price that they would sell to stores at, but this price was above what Shimano could be found at online. For LBSs to price match, they would have had to lose money on the parts. 

This has recently been rectified - Hence the increase in Shimano parts online (for example, at time of writing, a 6800 chainset is £140 on Wiggle and £160 on CRC. They were going for £110 a couple of years ago).

ciderman_100 | 9 years ago

in the 80s I worked in a hobby shop and mail order was the big thing (old style internet) and we used to match the mail order prices charge postage if the mail order company did at their rate and had the same deal with suppliers that if we paid the credit bill within 14days we got an extra 10% of the trade price. it was a lot of hassle for a sale but it kept the shop open in the face of v/stiff competition, this along with good customer service and coffee (instant) made the world go round. people are so aware now but when they are spending a lot of money or a little money they want to feel that they are your most important customer ever. any lbs shops doing well have some or all of these attributes.

ianrobo | 9 years ago

I do not believe a shop with the right ethos, good CS and maintenance and decent prices would struggle now. To claim Halfords is biting into the trade is a bit laughable for me.

Sometimes it is just that a shop might be in the wrong location or frankly is still stuck in the old times.

Yorkshie Whippet | 9 years ago

Must have been a different shop than the one I use to head to a few years ago. They weren't interested unless you were spending thousands or finally caught someone near the till. I loose count of the number of times I called to see if something was in the shop, told it was, headed over to be told it's internet order only.

KiwiMike | 9 years ago

Before anyone piles into Carlton, when he says "Bike shops that move with the times and are meaningfully connected to their customers are holding their own." I'm sure he's NOT saying Aire Valley wasn't. Just that the customer relationship is more important than ever, with commodity products and bikes themselves moving online (and many shops themselves maintaining online too).

Couches and good coffee and the craic sure helps - might mean an order through the store that was £5 or £50 more to the punter.

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