A change of opening times, for a time

It’s been amazing seeing how many people rely on us to keep their bikes rolling, and the messages of support have been truly heartening – thank you.

We’re trying to keep up with demand as best we can, and we’ve made some changes to the way we work to keep everyone safe.

We’re doing lots inside the shop to disinfect bikes, our gloves and our tools and work surfaces, and you may have noticed the shop door is staying locked so that we can help everyone keep distanced. Sorry if it’s meant waiting outside the shop for a while.

The main difference from today – and we’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause – is that on Tuesdays and Thursdays we’ll be in the workshop from only 9am to 6pm and we’ll just be servicing booked-in bikes. So we won’t be open for walk-ins and we won’t be answering the phone on those days, but we will check our answerphone messages and get back to you, so please do leave a message!

This is to make sure we have enough mechanics in the shop at busier times during the day, and to deal with the extra time needed to serve one customer at a time at the door. Basically, to make sure there are enough of us to go round! Thanks for your patience.

An essential service

In the absence of any more specific restrictions, we are self-identifying as an “essential service” and continuing to service bikes.

We’ve kept many NHS workers’ bikes on the road and enabled them to avoid buses, trains and tubes; we’ve serviced many bikes that people rely on for basic transport, their well-being and good mental health.

Like Germany’s government and the governor of New York, we view cycling as an essential part of public transport. And although less of the public will need transport in the coming weeks, those that do will really need their transport to work properly, and that’s where we come in.

We’re making this decision because at the moment the guidance isn’t clear about our status; we are in no way cavalier about the risks of COVID-19.

We’ll continue to make sure we do everything we can to minimise infection and transfer. Our shop door stays locked and we’ll only allow customers in one at a time (there’s our awning to wait under if it’s raining). We’ll continue to disinfect our surfaces and our tools frequently; we wear gloves and we disinfect the contact points of every bike we touch and disinfect our gloves between bikes. And, if there’s anything else we can reasonably do to lessen the risk of infection, we’ll do it.

So, although our door will mostly be closed, we’re going to keep working on your bikes until someone tells us we can’t, because we know how essential a working bicycle is to those who rely on it.

UPDATE: as of 23h30, we’re on the UK government list of specific exceptions to closures – http://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF.pdf – twice!