ONE of Lancashire’s best loved independent bicycle shops has announced it has shut after 60 years in business.
Sutcliffe Cycles, based in Preston decided to close this Christmas Eve after serving thousands of people across the North West over the years.
The closure has come about, despite unprecedented demand for cycling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, due to owner Martin Sutcliffe’s decision to enjoy a well-earned retirement.
He said: “I have always considered I entered the trade at just the right moment
“Up to that point bikes had largely been a beast of burden, a mode of transport that got you to and from work, with the idea of a bicycle as a leisure item for adults still in its infancy.
“I took up my spanners and allen keys and watched all that change.”
The closure comes 105 years after Sam Williams, the Sutcliffes’ maternal grandfather, opened his first bicycle repair shop in 1915.
For much of its history, the shop has dealt in Raleigh’s, one of the world’s oldest bike brands, at one point buying thousands of the famous bicycles a year.
Mr Sutcliffe said: “Becoming an exclusive Raleigh dealer for over forty years from 1977 to 2017 we estimate that we’ve sold somewhere in the region of 45-50,000 Raleigh bikes, ranging from the humble play trike to top-end road and off-road lightweights.
“I consider myself privileged to have witnessed the swathe of Raleigh designs sweep through our shop over the years.
“Looking back I can see it all as one would see the ascent of man, the ascent of bike.”
Meanwhile the company that supplied Mr Sutcliffe’s much-loved bicycles said his shop would be sorely missed and fondly remembered.
Raleigh area account manager Mike Harrison said: “Sutcliffe Cycles has been a cherished partner to Raleigh for over 60 years.
“With both British companies offering decades of knowledge and expertise to their customers, Sutcliffe Cycles will be sorely missed by both us and Preston’s cycling community.
“As displayed over the past year, we believe firmly that cycling has the potential to completely reshape lives for the better, and it’s local treasures like Sutcliffe Cycles that are at the heart of this.”