Following the commencement of the voting process for the BikeBiz Awards 2021 in association with Tannus Tyres, we’ll be highlighting each and every finalist from our list of expertly-curated accolades.
The final decision will be placed in the hands of those that know best – professionals that work within the industry day in day out and prosumers with a passion for cycling.
The online vote will close on Friday 3rd December and the results will determine the winners.
Today, we’re showcasing the retailer awards: Best Independent Bike Dealer and Best Omnichannel Retailer. Vote for all categories here.
Best Independent Bike Dealer
A Different Gear
‘A Different Gear is Sheffield’s only community-owned bike shop and workshop. Being community-owned, our customers are at the heart of everything we do, from excellent customer service to professional workshop repairs, servicing and advice. Our staff team are passionate about riding bikes and sharing our love of cycling with our customers, whether you’re planning on riding around the world or riding to the shops with the kids. Focusing on adventure, utility and e-cargo, we only stock products and brands that we believe in and use ourselves so we know that we’re providing well-informed and trusted expertise.
‘We’ll even help you plan a route and loan you some bikepacking kit to get started. And for the more hardcore explorer, we host an annual bikepacking event, All Points North. As well as stocking a range of new bike brands, from Bombtrack to Urban Arrow, we also run an e-cargo bike loan scheme, and a bike recycling scheme. As we are a ‘trust managed’ business, all of the profit we make is invested back into our local community. Our aim is to make cycling as accessible to as many people as possible, no matter what your budget allows.’
‘Criterium Cycles has responded to the challenges and opportunities of the last 12 months in a really proactive way. The many things we have done include: – New premises: moving to a new 6,000 ft2 complex with more space for product and services
– Core values: maintaining our obsessive approach to service and delighting the customer irrespective of whether they are buying an entry level hybrid bike or the top of the range carbon superbike
– Superb staff: our team of sales and service specialists cover a full range of skills and product knowledge and are all focused on excellence in customer service
– Innovation: making everything as hassle-free as possible during the pandemic. Facebook and Instagram Direct Messaging, Zoom consultations and Home delivery all helping in this regard
– National home delivery service: we launched this partly because many customers prefer receiving goods at home these days. We do not use couriers / ship bikes in boxes (and we never will) but use our own staff and vehicles. On delivery the customer is given a comprehensive handover, just as they would if they collected in store
– Website: launched a brand new website (www.criteriumcycles.co.uk) with full e-commerce capability including a content portal (the Criterium Hub) where we post Blogs and host our popular Video Library
– YouTube: One of our most exciting initiatives this year has been our collaboration with YouTuber ‘PetrolPed’. With over 125,000 subscribers on his car channel, PetrolPed is one of the leading motoring YouTubers in the UK and a keen cyclist. We have produced a very popular series of videos that follow the specification, fitting, building and handover of his dream bike. The videos so far have had total views of nearly well in excess of 50,000’
Cycle Spirit London
‘This newly founded store aims to be the number one store for city cyclists and commuters. Strategically placed in an area that received funding for cycle infrastructure nicknamed ‘Mini Holland’. Our retail strategy included placement on the busiest commuter cycleway into the city. Selling brand new bikes and an equipped servicing centre has become the winning choice locally. A growing NHS and school teacher customer base. Engaged with the community, serving demand from the over 50’s age group from challenges faced with transport during the pandemic. Service plans have adapted and are flexible to help prioritise needs while allowing customers to budget since household incomes have been impacted.
‘Staff have over 40 years bicycle knowledge, this expertise is invaluable in achieving high levels of customer service, aiming to create a “culture of excellence” in cycle independents. During the pandemic the team were super proactive by spending 2.5 months and forming an out of hours point of contact, they were able to support keyworker repairs during or after late shifts. The team also secured stock by building strong connections with distributors. 57% revenue growth achieved in its 2nd 12 month rolling period from the fantastic effort staff members put in.’
Happy Days Cycles
‘Happy Days is a different sort of bike shop. Not only do its profits support a homelessness charity, but its staff are committed to getting people on bikes, whatever their budget. Their mechanic, Dieter, is the kind of guy that can’t say no – he’ll find a way to get you rolling again, even if it takes a deep dive into his parts box and a pile of ingenuity. He’s even been known to pedal home for a key component he knows he’s got in his own personal supplies. The shop sells donated and refurbished bikes at prices that let anyone get out there on two wheels, but can also order and build you your dream bike to order, and has a small selection of reasonably priced new bikes too.
‘There are group rides from the shop, and a whole growing community of people discovering the joy of bikes – away from the marketing of the bike industry. Very much a place where it’s about all people on all bikes, with staff that make you want to get out and ride, and a shop that puts a smile on the face of every visitor and customer. Are you there for the repair, or the enthusiastic chat? Go for both, and leave reminded that there are still places where keeping you riding on what you’ve got comes before upselling you something new.’
‘MB Cyclery offers excellent customer service. Incredibly friendly attitude to all their customers. They have expert knowledge in high-end MTB and Road cycling. They offer professional wheel building, specialist suspension servicing, bike fit for new bikes. Delivery service of new bikes to local customers. They’ve created an awesome culture & community around the shop with regular rides and social evenings with a full beer fridge.
‘They offer expert products in a carefully curated range but still cater to all cyclists. One of the best Instagram accounts in the country for awesome and authentic videos and photos. In their spare time, Mike and Ben support world cup racer Brendog all whilst managing the shop and families at home.’
‘For over 25 years we have supported diversity and social quality within our business. Our staff is 90% ethic in our team of 6. We have constantly tried to push through to the cycle industry to do more and be more diverse, it’s always been met with deaf ears. I think now change will have to happen as it’s becoming more company policy for many of the industry leaders. Too little too late in my eyes they think by putting a black male/female face of a model on their websites they are being supportive this is just ticking boxes.
‘Most cycling companies and retailers do not represent the diversity of their cities and towns they trade from. Throughout the pandemic, we offered many free minor repairs and adjustments to staff on bikes on-the spot to get them on their way to work and delivering. We are not your typical cycle store.’
Best Omnichannel Retailer
‘Since the first shop opened in 2008, Balfe’s Bikes has remained a specialist business, passionate about offering great product and amazing service. We cater for every type of rider and will always go the extra mile for our customers, and each other. Our customer service policy is to be flexible, generous and to make our customers’ lives as easy as possible. (Reflected by our excellent ratings on Google/Trustpilot). Each store features a carefully curated range of bikes, clothing, parts and accessories plus a full workshop for repairs and servicing.
‘Our website offers our full range (including over 30 major bike brands), available for next day delivery or click & collect and our customer support team are available across multiple channels, ensuring we maintain our high service standards. Our in-house training facility enables us to invest in the development of our workshop teams to the Cytech standard, ensuring we’re able to deliver the best technical support for our customers and suppliers. Clever purchasing teamed with our large warehouse facility has enabled us to stay well-stocked throughout the pandemic and we have seen huge growth over the past 18 months, including opening 8 new stores with more on the way!’
‘Our team is contactable six days a week, responding to all enquiries within twenty-four hours via social media, fast-chat, email, phone line and in-store and service appointments. We have 70 eBike models on our website and over 250+ eBikes in stock from our ten premium manufacturers offering same day collection, next-day delivery or international shipping. Riders can speak to a specialist virtually, in-store, or enjoy our new bespoke home or office test-ride service. We have ‘Sales Gurus’, e-cargo experts for businesses, eBike and eCargo mechanics and a technical support team. Our marketing department creates fun educational content, tripling our brands’ following in the last 12 months across Youtube and LinkedIn.
‘Our riders benefit from an online service booking system. Our 10,000 sq/ft service centre is tailor-made to meet the demands of a booming market, playing host to a workshop, a steady flow of inventory and an eCargo Showroom that caters for families and businesses that doubles as an event space. We work alongside ‘Bikes for Business’, raising awareness for cycling in London Bridge and provide the NHS with eBikes for the Neighbourhood Nurses. Fully Charged has still seen considerable revenue growth in 2021 vs 2020 despite global supply chain shortages.’
‘Hargroves Cycles is currently celebrating 40 successful years as one of the UK’s leading independent bike retailers. Over those 40 years Hargroves have traded with aim of providing riders with the best products the industry has to offer coupled with outstanding customer service. We believe the cornerstone of our customer service comes from the ability for anyone to pick up a phone, pop in to store or drop us an email and speak to a knowledgeable and enthusiastic member of staff all with a passion for cycling.
‘With four physical retail stores and a fully integrated, successful e-commerce store we are able to offer industry-leading products and services seamlessly online and in-store. Our huge range of MTB, Road, Hybrid and Electric Bikes from brands like Specialized, Orbea and Scott are available across all of our channels and are all assembled to exacting standards by our fully Cytech qualified mechanics. The last 18 months have seen unprecedented levels of growth in all sections of the business while remaining focused on delivering quality products with the utmost level of service in a timely manner.’
‘Ribble is the UK’s premier and award-winning cycling omnichannel retailer. Retail Insider’s 2021 Transforming Retail Awards acknowledged Ribble’s innovative and disruptive world-class retail proposition awarding the brand ‘Best Connected Experience’. As a multi-channel digital business and renowned premium world-class bicycle manufacturer and retailer – Ribble has redefined omnichannel by blending the digital with the physical to create a brand new bicycle retail proposition and a unique brand immersive consumer experience to showcase and provide access to the entire range of 40+ models, which cover Road, Hybrid, Gravel, MTB, Tri, CX, Adventure and e-bike categories.
‘Ribble’s aggressive physical retail roll-out programme has seen the brand show confidence in the high street and UK marketplace and has dramatically increased its growth in 2021. The Lancashire landmark state of the art flagship reimagined bicycle retail and set the precedent with principles that cascade across all new showrooms. The flagship has been designed to showcase every bike in the range with a generous amount of space to allow the customer to interact with the bikes and appreciate the design in detail. Sense of space also expands to consumers being given control over their own environment with information immediately at their fingertips: dedicated product information is contained on digital display screens beside every bike on display, allowing the customer to truly experience the bike in action alongside key information including spec, geometry, pricing, FAQ’s and reviews.’
‘Celebrating 40 years, Rutland Cycling has 250 staff across 14 stores, an industry-leading website, and a Digital Sales team. Our stores are open 7 days a week, and 83% of customers’ issues are resolved within 4 hours by our Customer Care team. Our dedicated Digital Sales & technical advice team offer online chat, phone & email advice 7 days a week & until 10pm Sun-Fri. We offer bike fit, cycle hire, Cytech accredited workshop services, finance, cycle to work schemes and buy back schemes, with delivery options including Premium Delivery – same day despatch/delivery of fully-built, ready-to-ride bikes.
‘Offering the best brands across all categories and expert e-bike knowledge, this year we’ll launch a new salesforce e-commerce platform and new back-end system offering an end-to-end omnichannel experience unrivalled in the bike industry. Supported by cross-channel marketing campaigns based on high-quality, experience-led content, we also work with a leading Digital Marketing agency, Impression, to support our online performance. In addition to our own rides & events and local business support, in 2021 we partnered with four local Mind offices, to support & raise awareness of mental health services in areas across our store network. This year to date, we have raised £6.5k for our charity partners.’
‘At Sigma Sports, our number one aim is to leave customers not just satisfied, but thrilled with their interactions with us. An almost fanatical attention to satisfaction metrics (such as our 4.9/5 rating on TrustPilot) helps us measure against our customer care targets. Stocking some of the industry’s leading brands, we take seriously our responsibility to inform our customers on the right products for their needs. From road bikes to cycling jerseys, Sigma Sports is home to over 400 brands and upwards of 50,000 SKUs available online, app & in store.
‘Community is central to our success, we enjoy group rides from our stores as well as involving ourselves with both local and national cycling events; including sponsorship of the Women’s Tour, Tour of Britain and more local races such as the Guildford Town Centre criterium races. Despite huge pressures on our industry over the past year, we’ve maintained customer satisfaction while doubling the revenue of the business, driven by our leading website which was re-launched in 2020 to improve customer experience yet further. As we look to 2022 we look forward to continuing to support initiatives such as #BikeIsBest and drive the uptake of cycling.’
Tannus Tyres will act as the headline sponsor for this year’s Awards, which is returning for its 13th iteration in a digital format. The winners will be revealed online on Friday 10th December. Vote for all categories here.
For sponsorship and promotion opportunities, please contact Richard Setters.