Well-known local man Trevor Halstead is celebrating 25 years at the helm of his successful Gainsborough Cycles business.
Often seen out and about town on his bike, Trevor, by his own admission, ‘lives and breaths’ cycling, so it’s little wonder his business is flourishing a quarter of a century later.
“I took over, what was back then, Gainsborough Cycle Centre, from a guy called Tommy Tait in October, 1998.” Explained Trevor. “I ran the shop on Church Street as Church Street Cycles for 15 years.”
The shop moved to its current location on Ropery Road, now Gainsborough Cycles, 10 years ago and today prides itself in offering a service that specialises in everything from cycling sales to advice and support.
Trevor says he has been involved in the cycling industry in various guises since 1977, initially working by himself repairing them, before taking on the current business. He had a spell in the catering trade and was also a freelance photojournalist for nearly a decade, but the world of cycling was never too far away.
It might come as a surprise then, that Trevor’s love for cycling was borne out of necessity rather than a driving passion.
“Living out at a village near Caenby Corner, I found myself in the situation of having no transport and so bought a bike and it was at that point I discovered the joys of cycling.” said Trevor.
His first ‘serious’ bike was a Raleigh ‘Equipe’, drop-handle bar, racing bike, which took him pretty much everywhere he needed to go. But Trevor points out cycling technology has come a long way in the 40-plus years since.
“Cycles are a lot lighter these days. It’s the carbon fibre and alloy used now that is behind the weight difference and of course when I got my first bike there was no such thing as ‘index gearing’. Back then you had to pull a lever and put it into gear, whereas now you just flick a switch, and it puts it into the correct gear for you.”
Technology has also changed things for Trevor in other areas of the business. Buying stock has improved with the onset of the internet, meaning cycles can be ordered in seconds, where before it was all done over the phone or through cycling reps visiting the shop.
And although the internet has speeded up the sourcing and purchasing for Trevor, he has made a conscious decision not to sell his bikes online, concentrating on over the counter sales and the customer service he says comes with it.
“I’m still very much bricks and mortar – a touch, feel, smell, hands-on shop – which is why I’ve always considered it to be a traditional cycle shop. A bike isn’t something you should really buy online as it can be complex to put it together when it arrives, and of course it’s much easier to size up to make sure you have the right bike when you buy from the shop.
“Being here so that a customer can actually walk into the shop and actually talk to someone and be able to order and talk to someone face-to-face, is still extremely important to us.”
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