Cycling’s benefit to the UK’s economy is measured at £5.4 billion when you consider the wider benefits including health, reduced pollution and improved congestion. The UK’s cycling industry can be attributed to nearly £1billion of this with a bike being sold every 10 seconds and each bike sold contributing £1,800 to this wider economic value irrespective of the value.

At the centre of the UK’s cycling industry are local independent retailers who have been looking after the UK’s cyclists since bikes have been sold and are at the heart of many of our cycling communities.

Here are the five main reasons why we think you should consider choosing your local bike shop over the online giants.

1. The wealth of knowledge

Staff in your local bike shops know their stuff, and you can bet that they’re just as big of a bike nut, as you are. Happy to chat away about bikes all day, the staff can help you decide whether it’s worth buying puncture-proof tyres, upgrading your saddle or what helmet will suit your riding best.

After buying a car, a bike might be one of the largest single purchases that we make, so it’s worth getting it right. You could easily walk into your local bike shop with an idea of what you think you want and need, but then come out with something completely different. Rest assured though, it’ll be the product that best suits you from the size and geometry to the style and fit.

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Image: Race Scene (Bikmo retailer)

2. Building a relationship

As we mentioned already, the sales staff aren’t just after your money. They want to build a relationship with you, not only to help your riding experience but because they actually care.

When you buy a bike from your local bike shop, they’ll often provide free servicing for up to a year and will always put themselves out to get you back on your bike click-free and void of any rattles or squeaks. Bikes are becoming more and more integrated, electronic and complex, so it’s more important than ever to have a good relationshp with your friendly local bike shop who will take a look for you and get your gears back singing in harmony again, without you even needing to get your hands dirty.

There is a real sense of community at your local bike shop, and you might even end up being that customer who not only pops in-store to take a look around the shop but who’s also there to grab a coffee and have a natter with the staff.

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Image: Pedal Heaven (Bikmo retailer)

3. Building a stronger more sustainable local economy

Another reason to use your local bike shop is that you’ll be helping sustain local business which drives the surrounding economy. A strong culture of buying locally is the foundation of a sustainable local economy.

According to the mobile-based loyalty card organisation Cally, for every £10 spent with a local independent shop, up to an additional £50 goes back into the local economy. Add to that, the shop owners and staff who you give your money to are the same folk who shop at your local butchers, coffee shops and so on, so the money you’re spending at your local bike shop will circulate throughout the community to help your local area thrive.

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Photo: The Bike Factory (Bikmo retailer)

4. Try before you buy

We’ve all done it, order one in every size you think you are and send back those that don’t fit, but, you can’t really do this with bikes. When it comes to bikes and even cycling kit, there is no substitute for getting your hands on it, making sure the material feels nice, trying it for size and maybe most importantly, making sure it looks good and matches the rest of your kit. Anyone who has spent countless hours shopping for a helmet that doesn’t make their head look like a mushroom will know this first hand.

At your local bike shop, it’s far easier to try on that Giro helmet to check the size and make sure it looks good with your shades or to get sized up on that new Specialized before taking it for a quick spin to make sure it’s right for you.

You can read all the reviews in the world but there is no substitute for slinging your leg over a new steed to see how it feels or seeing how a material feels against your skin or whether the colour is the same in the flesh.

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Photo: Moose Cycles (Bikmo retailer)

5. Value

We could discuss value all day and what one person thinks is good value another might not. As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to looking for a bargain and trawling through Google pages to find the cheapest price, but does this always deliver value for money? It could actually be argued that getting a bike in a box, actually represents poor value, even if you’re saving 30% when compared to buying it from your local bike shop.

As we’ve mentioned already the expertise from your local bike shop can be invaluable, and while a bike might work fine straight out of the box, it won’t take long before it needs a tune-up to get things running smoothly again. Add to this, if something breaks or needs to be sent back under warranty, you’ll be left with a bill for any work that needs to be undertaken.

It’s not just bikes though and while major online retailers have the advantage of economic scale and can afford to slash prices, it’s easy to waste money on products that you end up not actually liking, that doesn’t fit properly or that you just bought because the price was good.

The old adage, buy cheap, buy twice, can definitely apply here and not because the product was poor quality, but maybe just because it didn’t fit, had the wrong compatibility or looked different in real life so you had to buy another.

We have a habit of perceiving value purely in monetary terms, however, a price is only half the story and with bikes becoming more and more integrated, complicated and electronic, the experience, expertise and continued service you receive from your local bike shop is in our opinion, PRICELESS.

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