One week on from opening and it feels like we haven’t stopped – the fuel tank is definitely running on empty, but none of us are interested in the red light just yet…
Sitting at one of our big communal tables for lunch I’m flanked by hardcore roadies on one side and a family on the other. The family are studying the OS mapping which adorns the table top with an aim to organise the afternoon’s escape into the country, whilst the roadies compare Strava times from the mornings ride – both are shortly interrupted by breakfast burritos and coffee.
The roadies seem happy enough with the calorie count on offer and the family are pleased that their youngest is being kept entertained by the racing on the big screen. It’s tempting to hope that this may inspire the next Wiggo or Froome, but even if it merely helps to get one more child on a bike then it’ll be a job well done in our book.
The Mum and Dad offer a couple of books to me for our library, which anyone is free to swap and loan books in or out of, before explaining to the kids all about the racing on the screen. A trip to the workshop to have a look at a custom Parlee being built alongside a Scott that’s in for service help keep the youngsters wide eyed, before heading off for a ride.
The roadies likewise make a trip upstairs to the shop to have a look at their next Ritte, whilst also considering Lightwieght, Scott, Focus and Colnago. n+1 is discussed and it’s decided that they actually need several bikes! One of them settles for a new Capo jersey and some socks instead, for today at least. Naturally a discussion upon the correct length of sock follows, based around the correct tan lines for a racer.
The big difference that I’ve noticed between The Velo House and everywhere else is the relaxed way that everyone learns about bikes and cycling – from the previously uninterested passer-by through to the hardcore racer everyone is taking little bits of information in and enjoying the atmosphere. The quality of the food and service helps, but the main thing is the quality of our staff. I’ve been overwhelmed since day one of the project by the level of commitment from every single staff member. Everyone has gone so far beyond what could be expected it’s truly inspiring and makes my job an absolute pleasure…plus I get to build and repair the best bikes in England all day long! Long days, but happy days…
Photos by Glen Whittington.
Glen rides a Colnago Master and races a Scott Addict at local road races. He races a KTM Aera Pro 27.5 hardtail in the UK National Points Series, the Eastern XC Series and the Southern XC Series. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen and THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY. He’s also supported by Lazer helmets.The KTM team is supported by Continental Tyres, Torq Fitness and Four4th Lights.