A popular bike shop that opened in the 1960s is facing closure if new owners aren’t found.
Tri the Bike Shop in Gravesend has been run by husband and wife Ted and Sue Tickner for 25 years, but they have made the difficult decision to retire.
Ted, 71, from Rainham, said: “We’re too old for this now and we don’t need the hassle of running a business. It’s a tough decision and has been very tough.
“Business is tough in every way at the moment. The bills are getting bigger and we had to cut our losses somewhere.
“We’ve had a few people interested in taking it over, so hopefully someone will come along and keep it going.
“It’s the last surviving bike shop, apart from Halfords, in the area, so it would be nice to see it taken over.”
He and Sue, 66, are now looking forward to spending more time together without the stress of a company and taking trips in their motorhome. They plan to visit Scotland on their first retirement vacation.
The store, in Windmill Street, has been open since the 1960s and was formerly known as Bridge Cycles.
This is an independent, family-owned bike shop that has grown to include a ground and upstairs showroom and a service station in the back.
Manager Leo Brown – who has worked at the store for 15 years – said: “The owners are retiring. They now just want to relax and not have the responsibility of running a day-to-day business.
“An older couple owned it, but it was just the front of the store and they lived upstairs. There were also apartments at the back.
“It’s grown a lot over the years. Since I’ve been here, it’s expanded all the way to the top.
“I’m going to miss it. It really feels like a second home. Everyone came with lots of stories and memories.”
It provides everything from children’s bikes to e-bikes, those costing as little as £200 to more elite models at around £4,000, cycling accessories and other services.
“The changes in cycling have been huge,” Leo said. “Now there are e-bikes and newer models. It was pretty simple back then.
“We started to see more people buying e-bikes. Covid was really good for us too, we sold out pretty much everything.
“It was the best we had done in some time. We were allowed to be open as an essential service for people who needed bikes or needed them repaired and used them for work.
“It was really good. It was quite fortuitous for us. We had to close for a little while but a lot of people started taking bikes for exercise.”
The store had announced its last day would be October 31, but Ted said that could now be pushed back to the end of November – and hopes it can be saved.
Of its potential closure, former customer Glen Brown said: “Sorry to hear this is happening. I don’t ride a bike anymore but spent hours as a teenager in the store looking at bits and pieces. , good luck to all of you in the future.”
Mike Martin added: “I am disgusted to read this as I have just started (thought this was going to be in progress) a customer bringing my Voodoo for their first service and one of your guys convinced me to watch maybe more road or gravel oriented bike.”
Another customer, William Speed, said: “Sorry to hear [this]. You are a great bike shop and maintenance service. I wish you all the best in what you do in the future.”
If a new owner is not found, it will leave town with only one other bike shop – Halfords at Imperial Retail Park, Thames Way.
Ted confirmed he would be talking to potential buyers in the coming weeks.