Thirty Years Ago Today

Posted by chdot on August 1, 2007

recycles ad
A small bike shop opened at 3 West Crosscauseway. Three young people had decided to create jobs for themselves repairing bikes and selling new parts and second-hand bicycles. At the time Edinburgh didn’t have as many cyclists as today or the variety of cycle shops. It was surprisingly hard to get machines repaired, shops often had “No Repairs Meantime” notes on the door.

Recycles, as it had been decided to call the shop, set out to repair bikes within 24 hours. One of the first customers working in a nearby book shop and came in with a puncture. She cycled home the same afternoon. Another early decision was that the shop would open at 10.00, this was to suit the staff/owners!

Of course there were people who thought it wouldn’t work – a small shop in a South Side side street. It was chosen for its cheap rent, (it was semi-derelict and all the houses above were empty – the grand plans for “Comprehensive Redevelopment” of the area had stalled), and the fact that it was in the heart of the student part of town.

The Recycles Co-op (as it was formally known) expanded by creating Edinburgh Cycle Hire at 8 Alvanley Terrace in 1978. The next year it opened a shop for new bikes next door. Gradually the whole terrace became the Edinburgh Bike Co-op – the new name from 1985. Now there is a warehouse near Dalmeny and shops in five UK cities. They still open at 10.00.

Other cycling innovations in 1977. More EBC history.

3 Responses to “Thirty Years Ago Today”

  1. David said

    Very nicely written.

    I remember hiring a tandem from them in 1985. Very scary heading down Warrender Park road with my future wife going off the idea as we picked up speed!

  2. David said

    No it wasn’t 1985… must have been earlier.

  3. Very cool. Thirty is YOUNG.
    But from this vantage point it seems so very long ago.
    Signed, a fifty year old

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