This article was published in 2015, in Newsletter 122.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign is sorry to see the closure of another independent city centre cycle shop: Cambridge Cycle Centre in Botolph Lane will be shut by the time this newsletter reaches you. However, the expertise of its owner, Luke Godliman, will not be lost, as he is joining Blazing Saddles, in Cherry Hinton Road. Monica Frisch interviewed him to find out more about his plans for the future.
Luke, Cambridge Cycling Campaign is very sorry to see Cambridge Cycle Centre closing. How long have you been running Cambridge Cycle Centre?
It’s been eleven years on my own, plus two years before that with Mark. (Mark Peters, see below.)
How did you get into the cycle repair business in the first place?
I was originally a car and lorry mechanic at 16 years old, at Welch’s Garage in Shelford. After three years there I moved to Cycle King on Mill Road. Then after two years Ben Hayward Cycles were advertising for a mechanic so I applied. After I serviced a bike for them they took me on and I was there for twelve years. I was really able to refine my skills -twelve good years. They allowed me to become as good as I could be.
I gather you are quite well-qualified…
Yes, I am Cytech tech level 2 and 3 qualified and went for a further qualification in professional wheel building. I am a good cycle mechanic and my work has been praised.
The Cytech website explains: ‘Cytech technical three represents the pinnacle of technical proficiency. This level can be attained only by experienced cycle technicians with a full understanding of the advanced engineering behind high-end performance cycles. Cytech is the internationally recognised training and accreditation scheme for bicycle technicians and delivers training and promotion of technical skills to the cycle trade and enthusiasts worldwide.’
You must be upset at having to close but I understand the landlord is not renewing the lease.
I am upset. It’s been tough running a shop on my own. I never envisaged that; I really prefer to be round the back. But it has been a great experience for me. It has taught me a lot about customer care. But at the end of the day I’m a mechanic rather than a salesman.
So what are you going to do?
I figured out that it’s hard to run a business on one’s own. Time to do anything outside the business is hard to find. My friend Mark Peters at Blazing Saddles is in very much the same situation. So working together with someone who is as adept as I am at the mechanical side should work well. The work will always be the same high quality. We both take a lot of pride in our work. We don’t like getting things wrong. It’s really about quality of service. And it helps us as our doing a good job usually leads on to further work. If a bike we’ve serviced or repaired is brought back we know what we’ve done, we are familiar with the bike and that makes the work easier. It ends up saving money and time. And we’ve got happy customers.
What services will you be able to offer at Blazing Saddles?
We are going to be offering fast, very high quality, service work, so punctures can be repaired while you wait. Service work will be second to none including cleaning the bike after it has been serviced.