Brixton Cycles fights back

Brixton Cycles coop members receive award

Brixton Cycles collect the award for London’s best small bike retailer from Jeremy Vine. Picture: London Cycling Campaign

Yet another of Brixton’s iconic retailers to be threatened by gentrification is fighting back with a community crowdfunding campaign.

Brixton Cycles, a fixture for 32 years, faces expulsion from its current premises on Stockwell Road near the skatepark because they are to become “luxury” flats early next year.

The shop has served South London cyclists since 1983 and is the oldest worker-owned bike coop in London.

Brixton Cycles was named as the capital’s best small bike retailer at the 2014 London Cycling Awards hosted by the London Cycling Campaign.

The shop inspires fierce loyalty, frequently lends tools for free and supports young people who want to take up cycling.

Brixton Cycles has had to move before, in 2001, when rising rents forced the coop to leave its home in Coldharbour Lane. That move cost more than £80,000 and the coop expects the hit will be even bigger this time.

But, as a cooperative, it does not have the capital to cover such costs, so is seeking help from the community to crowdfund its survival with a campaign to raise £40,000.

The campaign kick offs with a launch party in Brixton on October 22 supported by Brixton Brewery with music by The No Frills Band and Balham Ukulele Society.

But the shop already has an established community of supporters. Nearly 900 people from all over the world have signed up for updates on the campaign and #savebrixtoncycles is being shared extensively. More than 350 people have added a yellow ribbon to their social media profiles to show of solidarity.

Lincoln Romain, who has worked at the shop for 26 years said: “We’re disappointed to be leaving our current premises. Brixton Cycles has played a key role in the development of this community over the last 32 years. Now we are being excluded from the next chapter of Brixton’s story.

“However, with change comes opportunity and we are hopeful that, with the support of our community, we can make the new Brixton Cycles even bigger and better.

“Our jobs are on the line, so we’re going to give this campaign everything we’ve got. We have amazing rewards to offer our customers and we hope that they’ll support us.”

Look out for more when the campaign launches …

About the Author

Alan Slingsby moved to Brixton just as the 1981 uprising began. His nearest pub was the Effra and nearest off licence the Frontline — long gone in an earlier wave of closures of treasured community establishments. He works out of an office in St Matthews and before that the Bon Marché. Has edited newspapers for the National Union of Students and National Union of Teachers. Now makes a living designing magazines and books and anything else people will pay him for.

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