Evans Cycles is to reopen a limited number of stores across the UK to help support key workers and those using bikes to make essential journeys.
While bike shops have been allowed to remain open during the UK's coronavirus lockdown, Evans Cycles closed all of its stores last week after heavy criticism aimed at its parent company Frasers Group.
Frasers Group, run by billionaire Mike Ashley, had originally decided to keep its chain of Sports Direct shops open after non-essential businesses were ordered to close by the government, claiming that selling sporting and fitness was essential for Britons forced to stay at home.
The group, which also owns House of Frasers, backtracked after immense pressure and closed all of its stores including its 52 Evans Cycles outlets.
On Tuesday, Frasers Group announced it would reopen 11 of its Evans stores in built up areas of the country, including Manchester (Trafford), Sheffield and three London locations; King's Cross, Clapham and Notting Hill.
Evans says it is opening to provide assitance to key workers and those making essential journeys, saying it will provide a free 'bike MOT' to key workers and those working on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Staff returning to work in store during the lockdown have done so in consultation with the company and have volunteered, Evans said. Limited numbers of customers will be allowed to enter stores at one time, with two-metre zones marked out on shop floors as well as no touchpoints during checkout and paying.
“We have already seen that the bicycle is becoming a preferred means to keep key workers moving," an Evans Cycles spokesperson said in a statement.
"With this in mind, where it is possible and safe to do so, a selection of our stores will reopen focusing on essential maintenance services or to provide parts that will help people stay safe on the road. Early feedback from customers has been very positive and they clearly value the support we are providing at this time.
“This is not business as usual. Maintaining the wellbeing of our store colleagues and customers is essential and, as such, stores will follow stringent measures on social distancing and cleanliness.
"We urge all customers to follow the government’s guidance and only travel to our stores where necessary. We will continue to review which stores are open, ensuring we strike the right balance between providing essential services and protecting the health of colleagues and customers.”
Evans has also suspended its click and collect service, encouraging customers to use its online shopping and delivery service where possible.
The full list of Evans Cycles shops to reopen are:
Manchester - Trafford
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Follow on Twitter: @richwindy
Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).
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