For those who’ve not heard of CycleGeezer before now, the firm is a specialist in turning old bike bits into anything from medals to homeware. BikeBiz talks to founder Joe Lodge about the upcycling business:
What bikes do you own and where’d you ride them?
I’m a mountain biker at heart. In my current stable there’s a Kona 120 Deluxe and Cannondale Synapse road bike, which has actually been getting more use lately. My wife and I live in Yorkshire Dales, so my personal favourites are the trails around Wharfdale.
I was told the other day that since the Tour’s arrival, the Ilkley cycling club is fastest growing cycling club in the UK.
How did you come up with the idea for CycleGeezer?
My wife and I were away and we wanted to find a way to fund more time away together. I had been gifted a recycled tyre belt by a friend and really liked the idea and so CycleGeezer was brainstormed over a few cocktails. From there we decided to commit to giving it a go as a side project. At the time I was a caterer, but it’s gone so well that I packed that in in September to take the business forward full time.
We’ve been going two and a half years, having launched at NEC in 2012. Initially we had around half a dozen sales a week, but now it’s the same amount daily. There’s been a big upturn in trade since we’ve had time to focus solely on the site. We’ve a good social media following, excellent word of mouth and repeat business is very strong for us. It’s down to customer service really.
Is it a seasonal business selling recycled bits?
35 per cent of our business comes in six weeks running up to Christmas, which can be said for a lot of online retail businesses. Trade dips in the early winter, but is steady the rest of the year.
The business has diversified a little to allow us to grow and plan for the quieter times. We’ve just launched a bicycle-friendly business website under the CycleGeezer banner, but called Tripfinder. On the site you’ll find bicycle-friendly cafes, luggage carriers, B&Bs and many other businesses all in one place.
If you click onto our homepage, the Tripfinder button takes you through to our directory. You can then search by county for bike friendly businesses. To list all you have to do is click in top right hand corner to list. There’s three options; free, £30 and a £90 listing.
Listing is free of charge. £30 includes extra wording, web links and ways for users to interact. The top package allows a business to upload multiple pictures, add social buttons, contact details, mapping and much more. Each listing is live for 12 months.
What’re the best-selling items?
It’s got to be the clock range that we build around recycled wheels and sprockets. At Christmas it’s more stocking fillers – anything from keyrings to candle holders.
I’m trying to develop the CycleGeezer as a brand and we’re working with a lot of innovative partners. I make a few bits with a guy who sells via NotOnTheHighStreet.com. There’s a Girl from Country Durham making inner tube parts for us too. Any gear using recycled chain is sourced from York. If somebody is looking for an outlet to sell quirky recycled bike goods they should get in touch and see if there’s potential to work together.
How do you decide on what product to make next?
We’re inspired by plenty of outside sources, but the finished item has to be immaculate. We were looking at doing some recycled mudguard shelves. In my head the idea seemed great, but once prototyped it was difficult to make sense of the idea. Some ideas sink, others swim. We’re considering jewellery as a new avenue for 2015.
Tell us about the link up with Cycleplan:
This was another project that developed out of a need to insure my own bike. I shopped around and got chatting to Cycleplan and we now work together.
I didn’t want to be connected with anything shabby, but they’re great on price and service, so it’s a pleasure to have a mutually beneficial partnership.