Gravesend bike shop boosted by Wiggo effect
PUBLISHED: 10:08 09 November 2012
Tri the bike shop has seen interest in cycling boom, due in no small part to the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins...
Cycling has had its ups and downs in recent months.
There was Bradley Wiggins’ incredible feat to become Britain’s first Tour de France winner, and there was the revelation that American Lance Armstrong – who won that same race seven times – had been doping for years on end.
Given the hope that the Team GB cycling squad would inspire a generation, Armstrong’s deception has tainted the sport in the eyes of many people.
Joe Tickener, who runs Tri bike shop in Gravesend, has mixed feelings about the former world champion and the effect on cycling.
“I was disappointed, but he has done a lot of good off the back of his cycling so you can’t hammer him into the ground given the millions he has made for charity,” says Joe. “It definitely isn’t good for cycling’s image but that is from a past era and hopefully it is cleaner now.”
Tri, pronounced like the beginning of triathlon which the shop used to cater for, has been selling bicycles from its shop in Windmill Street for the past 40 years.
Joe, 25, has been in charge for seven years after he took over from older brother Adam.
It’s a business run by a family obsessed with cycling.
“My dad still cycles, I cycle, we all do it – perhaps not my mum so much,” says Joe.
Joe learned the trade by working in the shop as a teenager, which gave him the skills to fix the most technical of bikes.
Thanks to the Olympic Games up the river in Stratford, the love of cycling has filtered down to many in Kent.
“We’ve seen a great increase in the popularity of road cycling after the Olympics and Tour de France. You get a lot of people coming in asking if we’re seeing more business and yes, we are.
“Since Bradley Wiggins appeared in the Tour de France, in the one before last, it has been getting bigger,” Joe says.
But he also thinks more could be done in the area to encourage people.
There is the Cyclopark in Gravesend, although its success isn’t a given, Joe says.
“It’s great, but as always, the council needs to sort it out properly and make sure it doesn’t run it into the ground.”
He is referring to the potentially high costs of running the cycle park, and the fees people are charged to use it that he fears might deter some.
He adds: “We are close to the London velodrome so when it opens to the public we should hopefully have people going up there, but in Kent there aren’t enough cycle facilities.
“But I hope cycling will become a big thing here.”