Mark Sutton swings by to hear all about his latest venture…
Having taken on a derelict retail space without a roof last October, the early days of London’s first BMX specific store were spent rushing together some sort of structure on which to build John Dye’s vision of what a BMX store should look like. Hundreds of teabags later and with plenty of handyman work from shop rider Jimmy Rushmore, Volt stands out on an otherwise dull Stoke Newington street.
“The building had been derelict for over 17 years and was a total shell,” says Dye. “Everything you see in-store was built by United and Bicycle Union rider Jimmy Rushmore, who also kindly lends his name to our five-man shop team. Rushmore has just this month scored the cover of Ride BMX UK magazine, too.”
Now settled and with word spreading around London’s BMX riders, the store is doing well for an upstart, especially given that Dye confesses he had little idea of what to expect from his own store. “I was working with Cyclone Cycles for over 11 years, though the first month or so was still quite a scary experience as we didn’t know what to expect. I think we’ve created a smooth atmosphere that seems to be drawing riders from all over the city, as well as the surrounding area. We are BMX focused, though for the most part we won’t turn away repair jobs, so we do get passing trade too.”
Volt’s atmosphere is slightly reminiscent of the old Cyclone days, with a few chairs set out for waiting customers and some reggae music lending an upbeat vibe to the store. However, a few quid off purchases in exchange for making a brew or three, as Cyclone occasionally did, may have to wait until the business has settled further.
“We’ve been trying to organise a BMX jam for a while now to promote our business further, though we’re not having much luck with being granted permission by the local council,” explains Dye. “This is just one of many ways I’m hoping to get the Volt name out there, along with magazine promotion and also through our shop riders.”
Internet sales are something that Dye anticipates will become a far bigger part of the business as word gets out. However, it’s trade within the city that has mainly spurred Volt’s creation. “A couple of big-name riders have moved into the area from the north, which has really boosted the already strong London BMX scene. A few skate parks have also sprung up in recent years, many of which are within a borough or two of Volt – namely Camden and Finsbury Park’s concrete offerings. While the sun’s out we make a point of hitting these after a hard days work and mixing with the locals.”
Dye has more to promote than just his store, though. As well as being a regular contributor to Ride BMX UK, he’s also the mind behind the now global Bicycle Union brand, which is carried in the UK by 4Down Distribution. This means that, even in the days before Cyclone Cycles, a large part of Dye’s schedule was and still is dedicated to the design and manufacture of the brand’s catalogue of hard and soft goods, which can be seen over on www.bicycleunion.com
Telephone: 0207 275 8660
Address: 2 Cazenove Road, London
Opening Hours: 10am until 6pm, Monday to Saturday