We have interviewed a few London based companies recently, but thought it was time to branch out into lovely local bike shops as well! In the first of our bike shop profiles, we headed to East London favourite, The Hackney Peddler to find out what makes them tick.
The Hackney Peddler opened its doors in Hackney Downs Studios in April 2013. Since then they have gained a great reputation for custom bikes built around old school steel frames. They also have a sister workshop at Netil Market (The Market Peddler), and most recently opened a brand new shop in Shoreditch at the beginning of Kingsland road.
We asked Alex, the owner, a few questions.
What made you open a bike shop?
What would you describe the focus of your shop to be?
“It was just about putting people on bikes initially. We had a very vague strap line of ‘more bikes for more people’. A lot of it is getting people on their first bike in London and allowing them to bypass the Gumtrees and Ebays and the problems of stolen bikes they may encounter that way. The push is getting people cycling, we don’t push any particular brand. We sell used bikes that are serviced and guaranteed that are better value than what you can often get new.
“We really enjoy doing the touring bikes and the custom builds, but in terms of what we sell, its definitely about getting people on reliable things that are nice to ride.”
Selling bikes is not the only thing The Hackney Peddler are concerned with though. They want people to be out on their bikes regardless of where that bike came from, so they also focus on maintenance and keeping bikes running. “London is expensive and a bike can be someones lifeline. If you commute to work on it, you want to know it is going to get you there and work properly.” Therefore, a strong maintenance offering is also important to them.
What kind of maintenance do you offer?
“Everything! We do really everything from servicing hub gears, bleeding hydraulic disc brakes to full carbon 11 speed performance bikes. Complete rebuilds are a normal thing for us, as well as a bit of metal work here and there. Between them our mechanics have over 40 years of experience and are extremely passionate about all aspects of cycling. We’re all more then happy to share our knowledge with people and show them the ins and outs of how their bikes work. I think that’s one of the things that sets us apart from other shops – the sharing”
“We are regarded as a one stop shop for bicycles other bigger shops wouldn’t want to touch. The experience and knowhow of our staff is key, the mechanics experience fixing bikes is key and they are usually capable of fixing anything brought to them. We can do Bromptons as well. Pretty much the only thing we don’t really do is electric bikes!”
The new shop is very conveniently situated on a major commuting route into the City from the most areas of North or East (it is on my main route in from Walthamstow) and is only a short walk from Liverpool Street station. Coupled with some seriously commuter friendly shop hours of 8am-7pm, it is a great place to get servicing done during your working day.
What 2 things do you think every London cyclist should know?
“Well, our two locations of course! E8 2BT, E2 8AA and E8 3RL”
“Other than that, knowing when your bike needs a service. If it’s not making nice noises, or its feeling a bit wobbly – know when you need to maintain it. Bikes need TLC and upkeep in the same way that humans need food and water. It will pay back in dividends.”
What bike do you ride and why?
“I ride a Dave Quinn – Summer time Dave as I like to call him. It’s a 1980’s, handmade steel framed path racer – a track frame with eyelets for mudguards. It’s mainly new components with a few classic bits. I like Dave because he is low maintenance, he is very stiff and responsive to ride so I can get some speed up, and he is just a lot of fun.”
What cycling accessory can you not live without?
“Lock” was the very definitive, rapid answer from Alex. When asked if he had a particular preference, it turned out to be the Knog Strongman, my current favourite. We then went on to watch a few Youtube videos of people picking other types of locks, even newish style Kryptonites. It was some uncomfortable viewing!
“Kryptonite have been around for so long, people know how to attack them. One of the things I like about Knog is they are fairly new to the market and the lock is fairly heavily protected, covered in a rubbery layer so it’s hard to attack with an angle grinder. It’s small size is a good thing as well, the smaller they are the harder they are to get into.”
What is your favourite bike ride in London?
“I don’t get out enough to answer questions like this! I just like being able to get around, visit friends in other shops. Cycling because its a choice, because you can and it is a way to avoid public transport. I think I have used the tube twice this year and that was to get to the airport.”
We talked about nice routes you can take everyday without needing to be going somewhere. London Fields and Broadway Market was a particular favourite that came up as it is in-between both shops and near Nettle Market. “It’s quite pleasant and for 5-10 minutes you can feel like you are away from the hustle and bustle of it all with nice leafy streets and a park to go through.”
The Hackney Peddler’s two locations are:
Hackney Downs Studios
Amherst Terrace E8 2BT
Open – 10-7 7 days a week
1B Kingsland Road, E2 8AA
Open 8-7 Monday -Friday
The Market Peddler
Swing by and check them out, there are some lovely steel frames up for grabs, and some topnotch servicing on offer. They also have a great Instagram feed!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.