There’s been a cycle repair shop on the corner of New Cavendish Street and Hanson Street for as long as I’ve lived in Fitzrovia. Now it is boarded up and the staff of Fitzrovia Bicycles have made a deal to carry on trading as part of Velorution in nearby Great Portland Street.
Fitzrovia Bicycles, which was run by three mechanics since buying the store from the previous owner in 2010, was facing a huge increase in rent and rates and had planned to move to cheaper premises nearby. But the cost of running a retail workshop in Fitzrovia did not seem viable in the long-term.
Instead, earlier this month Velorution announced that it had come to an arrangement to take on the staff and their workshop expertise and become part of its growing business.
Velorution managing director Jonathan Cole said: “When Fitzrovia approached us we made a very quick decision to move all their retail and workshop facilities to our Great Portland St locations less than 500 metres away so that customers could continue to enjoy the Fitzrovia customer experience uninterrupted.”
Velorution, which has two shops in Great Portland Street, specialises in up-market stylish cycles, tweed clothing and leather shoes, and publishes a cycling lifestyle magazine. It has boosted its finances by running a successful crowd-funding strategy.
A year ago Velorution acquired Islington’s Mosquito Bikes after it too fell into financial difficulty. The Essex Road store is due to reopen, but the permanent closure of the New Cavendish Street shop brings to an end nearly four decades of cycle retail and repair on the site.
In the early 1980s the New Cavendish Street shop had a large part in popularising the British mountain bike boom when two entrepreneurs Drew Lawson and Ari Hadjipetrou started a business importing off-road cycles and selling them under the name Muddy Fox.