Bernie Burns, the owner of Aire Valley Cycles, has sadly announced its closure. Named as one of BikeBiz’s top 20 independent bike dealers last year, the Keighley shop had been in business for 25 years.
“Cycling in Yorkshire has never been better,” wrote Burns on the shop’s website. “Last year The Tour de France boosted local businesses and the region’s people. So I write this with a very heavy heart. Unfortunately Aire Valley Cycles has closed down.”
Burns, a former professional cyclist, said he had been proud to be a part of the Aire Valley team for the last 20 years and thanked his many customers from down the years.
Another ex-professional cyclist, Sid Barras, told the Telegraph and Argus that the closure was a big loss to the town.
"I know Bernie – I feel desperately sorry for him and wish him well. I had a shop in Keighley in the 1970s and it's not an easy trade. People have got to support these local shops. You always received great service at Aire Valley Cycles and once you lose these places there's nowhere to go if you have a problem or need advice."
BikeBiz founder, Carlton Reid, told us that while there were a number of challenges facing retailers these days, it was still possible for independent shops to thrive.
“It’s always sad to see a bike shop bite the dust, especially one of the well-known ones. To be successful, independent bicycle shops have to face down a number of challenges, such as deep discounting from certain online retailers, the re-entry of Halfords into “enthusiast” territory, and the expanding empires of the likes of Evans and Edinburgh Bicycle, but there are some great bike shops out there which aren’t looking over their shoulders.
“And it’s not just about adding an espresso bar – although that seems to help. Bike shops that move with the times and are meaningfully connected to their customers are holding their own.”
Burns, it seems, already has plans for what to do next: “I personally am not ready to give it all up just yet and will hopefully be offering a cycle repair and maintenance service, which I hope you will all make use of.”