It's a BMW, Jim, but not as we know it.....

Billed as the 'first BMW dealership in the country to feature a full bike store and dedicated cycle workshop' Stephen James Cycles opened in Enfield two weeks ago on the first floor of Stephen James BMW. They have their commercial reasons of course but it helps that the company's MD is a keen cyclist.

If that building looks suspiciously like a car showroom, it's because it is indeed Stephen James BMW on Lincoln Road, Enfield, one of four BMW and Mini dealerships the company owns across London and Kent. As of mid-October the first floor has been rebuilt as one of Trek's dedicated bike shops under the Stephen James Cycles name. Although perhaps not surprisingly they are selling BMW-branded bikes as well.

Road.cc spoke to shop manager James Hewitt yesterday and he was full of enthusiasm for the new project, "I was brought in by Ben Collins because of my background in sports science, my interest in cycling and I've even done a bit of journalism for PezCycling News in Canada."

Ben Collins the MD of the Stephen James Group describes himself as a recreational cyclist and the rising interest in cycling has been clear to see. "The worsening congestion in London means we're all looking for new solutions." as Hewitt puts it.

James Hewitt at the controls

The new store is geared up for both Trek's Project One 'build-yourself-a-custom-Madone' web-based manufacturing scheme and Trek Fit which uses trained staff, some cunning measurements and a rollers-on-video system to fine tune the rider to a new bike. All the workshop staff are fully trained on the Cytech scheme, according to Hewitt.

Trek UK's general manager Nigel Roberts told UK trade magazine BikeBiz  "It's got to be good to expose motorists to the benefits of cycling. This store has the potential to reach people who we might not otherwise be able to reach."

Indeed, when we asked James Hewitt how many bikes he'd sold in the first two weeks to BMW car customers that had wandered intrigued into the bike showroom for a coffee while their cars where serviced, it didn't take him long to look up that they'd sold two Treks and two BMWs.

"The dealership had a good business plan," according to Trek's Nigel Roberts, "the BMW angle sounded interesting and there was a gap in territory for us. We have a mature network of dealers; we don't often add to this network. Stephen James Cycles ticked all the right boxes for us."

Considering that some of the very first motorcycle and car dealerships back in the late Victorian glory days of the bicycle were bike shops keeping up with new technology, it may be that we're coming full circle. We're told by road.cc's local Porsche dealership that the Bike S we posted about last week and just arrived in the showroom attracted more excitement among the staff than any new recent car model.

Details: Stephen James Cycles