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Halfords wants to hire over 400 "cycling gurus" to boost its bike boom

Sales of bikes up again at UK's biggest bike retailer...

Bike and car accessories retail chain Halfords has announced that it’s looking for 500 new staff, most of them in its cycling departments. And Halfords isn’t just looking for people to fly the tills; it wants “cycling gurus” to beef up its increasing success in bikes, parts and repairs.

No bike retailer gets people frothing at the mouth like Halfords. Mention the chain on a forum and you get a deluge of negativity, followed by a handful of people standing up for the company. Even Chris Boardman, who has sold an awful lot of bikes bearing his name through Halfords’ shops, concedes that their service has been “patchy”.

Fixing that was one of CEO Matt Davies’ main aims when he joined Halfords from Pets at Home in October 2012. A year later Retail Week was crediting Davies with improving efficiency, prioritising service and perhaps most importantly, recruiting the right people by using a new hiring system.

It appears to be working, as Halfords has today reported a 21.3 percent increase in the latest quarter’s like-for-like cycling sales, including a 35.1 percent increase in premium bike sales.

The figures follow a previous substantial increase in Halfords’ bike sales, with revenue growth of 14.2 per cent for the half-year to September 27, 2013.

Browsing the vacancies at www.halfordscareers.com reveals most of the over 400 cycling jobs on offer to be customer service and mechanic roles, predominantly part time, but with a smattering of full-time jobs in the mix too.

Jonathan Crookall, Halfords’ people director, said: “Cycling is at the heart of Halfords, and we’re enhancing our team with the biggest ever recruitment of cycling gurus for our stores. These 500 permanent roles will help us get even more of Britain cycling.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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