As I started doing some research for this series of posts on Local Bikes Shops in Derbyshire I was quite amazed at the number of such shops which exist(ed). The last article talked about Wylds which opened for business in 1928 and continued trading for almost 70 years.
And the increase of the number of shops entering the market seems to show no sign of abating. One of the latest to open for business is Birkins Cycles which is on Sutton Lane, Foston. Let's get one thing clear from the start. The owner is Tim Watt and the place gets its name from the land on which it is situated, Birkins Croft Small Holding. Tim opened for business in December, 2012 when he took a large garden shed and converted it to a work shop. Obviously a cyclist himself, I think it is fair to say that he proved to be no elite cyclist and discovered that he enjoyed tinkering with bikes as much as, if not more than, riding them.
He now provides three lines of business, Servicing, Repairs and Restoration and from the number of bikes waiting attention then the business seems to be going well.
Being a pretty small enterprise, Birkins do not stock spare parts or accessories but buy them in as and when required. For me the most interesting part of the business is the restoration side and when I was there Tim was working on a 1970s Dawes Galaxy which had been stripped down and the frame resprayed, the forks and stays chromed using local craftsmen for these specialized tasks.
Like many local bike shops, Birkins are keen to promote cycling in the local community and are helping to set up and support Hilton Cycling Club as an umbrella group for local leisure cyclists.
Whilst Tim has ideas of where he would like the business to grow, that is for the future, and for now he is happy just consolidating the business and providing lots of tender loving care for a steady stream of restoration projects.
I am hoping to visit Mercians for my next post in this series, a Local Bike Shop with a World Famous reputation.