20/05/2017 12:53:41

Words by Simon Nurse

A winning combination – building a relationship with you and your bike


Cyclopaedia is now in its 23rd year. That’s almost a quarter of a century of carefully handling bike bits of all colours and flavours, matching riders requirements to suitable bikes, fettling and mending, helping,  guiding, organising, arranging and professionally bike fitting. That’s an awful lot of servicing the cycling community.

Over the years, Cyclopaedia have been involved in pretty much everything. The club that carries our name on its jersey (Cardiff JIF) has organised mountain bike, road and cyclo-cross races. It’s produced national champs and riders that have enjoyed professional careers. The mechanics from the shop have been seconded to international events and worked for national teams. Recently we took great pleasure in servicing the race bike of June Mace a Claude Butler built from Reynolds 531 tubing, a bike that competed in the Tour De France during the 1960s and witnessed a glorious racing life. The combined experiences of our staff add up to many years of shop service and top level involvement. We’re quite proud of that. But this article is not necessarily about us. It’s about shops and shopping and customer experience.

Bike frame

Buying a new bike requires a bit of thought. What type of use will it get? Where will you use it? What are your aspirations as a cyclist? Is it a bike for a specialist job or a generalist, to be put to a variety of uses? How should it fit? The considerations are long and sometimes, unclear. Take my favourite bike for instance. It’s a Focus CX Mares; a cyclo-cross bike bought for racing, but also for comfortable long rides on the road, achieved with a quick change of tyres. It fits me like a glove, rides like a dream and functions like clockwork. But  given that I wouldn’t even consider carbon as a frame material until convinced by experienced voices, this great bit of bike fitting couldn’t be achieved in a vacuum. I relied on the help and guidance of shop staff who know me better than I do. This is where a relationship with your local bike shop is worth its weight in bottom brackets.

The burgeoning power of the world wide web has resulted in more shopping options than ever. You can buy bikes and bits at the click of a mouse. Just sit back and wait for the courier to arrive with a giant package. At no point has human interaction been required. Cyclopaedia has also done (do!) internet sales. There’s nothing wrong with it. But there is a rub. Chopping out the people means chopping out a vital process; removing access to advice, guidance and future support that you can’t put a premium on. This is where your local bike shop comes in.


Wherever you live in the UK (or further afield) you won’t be too far from a bike shop. Do the rounds. Have a look. Ask a question or two. Seek out the shops that store bicycles that tick your boxes. Then embark on a relationship that will help you enjoy many years of commuting/leisure riding/training/racing (delete as applicable, or in many cases, not at all). Having an understanding with your local store is going to get you matched to the right kit and have it maintained by people who understand. After all, unlike machines, its people (like wheels) who make the world go around.

From the shop

If you’re an existing rider – and perhaps one with future goals in mind – arguably the best thing you can do for your riding is getting a bike fit. This service shouldn’t be seen as something that applies solely to buying a new bike, but rather an analysis of your body type, riding position and optimal setup that can have an immediate impact on your riding and colour any future buying choices. A bike is much more than the sum of its parts, though each of those parts has a huge bearing on the performance of the whole. Adjusting the length or angle of a stem can improve streamlining and comfort. Appropriate seatpost and saddle position can improve efficiency and avoid injury. The right crank length will help to eliminate flat spots. Our standard bike fitting service starts at £50. Advanced bike fitting also includes 3D real time pedal analysis.