Long-standing London bike shop Brixton Cycles is urging people to donate to save the business from closure.
The community shop suffered its worst financial year in two decades in 2023, which was compounded by a three-week power outage in November.
Now, the business is struggling to patch a “big financial hole,” director Lincoln Romain told Cycling Weekly, and has launched a crowdfunder with a £30,000 target for its survival.
“Everything is tight anyway,” Romain said. “Then when you have a situation beyond your control, it just throws everything completely off the rails. For three weeks to a month, we had no phones, no power. We were operating, but trying to do repairs and run a shop wearing head torches.
“We still have areas in the shop where there is no electricity because we just don’t have the funds to overhaul the whole electrical system.”
A slump in trade after Covid, increased rent and utilities, and a rise in online spending habits made last year one of the most challenging in Brixton Cycles’ 40-year history.
“Things are pretty tough and closure is a real thing," said Romain, who has worked at the shop for 34 years. “We're not overexaggerating. I don’t want it to close because of the history of this place. A shop like ours is needed in places like Brixton.”
Founded in 1983, Brixton Cycles is a community-focused enterprise, which organises workshops and teaches skills to schoolchildren.
The shop has also served some of Britain’s best pro cyclists, including current national road champion Fred Wright, who shared the crowdfunder on his Instagram.
“Fred has been associated with the shop since he was in a baby buggy,” says Romain. “Seeing people like Fred sharing it just means so much, because he’s known the shop all his life. He’s not in here every week but he’s been a part of our life in some way, shape or form.
“There is a lot of love out there for Brixton Cycles. You can see that in the donations that people have given. We’ve put the work in over the years, and it’s being acknowledged, which is fantastic. We have a real fight on our hands and we have some tough days, weeks, months ahead. We’re just trying to get on as best we can. We’re not giving up.”
Brixton Cycles’ crowdfunder has already raised over a third of its £30,000 target in the 24 hours since it launched.
Romain explained that the next few months are “very, very crucial” for the business if it is to survive.
“You do slightly feel a little bit embarrassed to ask people, ‘Can you help us?’, but unfortunately it's just a necessary thing now,” the director said. “We appreciate every bit of help that we’ve gotten over the years.”
Donations can be made to the ‘Help to Save Brixton Cycles’ campaign on GoFundMe.
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