How the oldest bike shop in the world launched its online business during a pandemic

Adaptability is the key to success, says co-director Will Pearson

(Image credit: Image: Pearson)

A lot has happened since 1860, the year that Pearson – the world's oldest bike shop – opened its doors in London. To most of us the global Covid-19 pandemic feels like an ever-present and defining narrative to life in 2020, but in its time this family-run business has seen two World Wars, so it can be forgiven for approaching the whole situation with a little more than a ‘make do and mend’ attitude.

Like a lot of bike shops (and indeed manufacturers) the East Sheen business has seen growth as a result of cycling’s increasing popularity - fuelled by multiple lockdowns, a desire to escape the germ boxes of public transport and travel more sustainably. With the UK's cycling population up as much as 200 percent it was depleted stock across the industry which promoted a switch in attention to own-brand bikes and clothing, revealing a blossoming online business set to take aim at the direct-only models often touted as the nemesis of the LBS.

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