Ernest seeks out and interviews independent thinkers, companies and individuals who make AND do things that make a difference and bring colour to our city. We talk to Nick from the Backyard bike shop.
Who are you? What do you make or do?
We are Backyard Bike Shop, our main thing is servicing, repairs and then we do unique custom builds. None of our bikes are complete bikes, they are built to spec for you. We use frame manufacturers from all round the world so everything can be custom from the sizing to the colour. We also sell accessories and gifts, so it’s not just for cyclists but also the friends and family of cyclists. So if your mum wants to buy you a present but doesn’t know what to get she can come here for cycling related gift ideas. Secondly we sell coffee and possibly the odd cake.
We also have a sports massage and bike fit studio which John runs. He also does coaching and specialises in injuries, treating cyclists, swimmers, runners and members of the public too.
Why do you do this?
I’ve just always been into bikes, I’ve always done it. I have always been passionate about cycling. I have been cycling myself for just short of twenty years now.
Where did you first get involved, and where did the idea come form?
Rob and I were cycling and riding mountain bikes, we thought we should open a bike shop and he already had this place in Ouseburn. It was just meant to be really small, a tiny little workshop. Just after we got the workshop set up then we decided to offer bike building, then clothing and accessories, and then it has just grown. The more we went riding the more we expanded the idea.
What does a typical day look like?
Generally we have morning rides on Wednesdays and Fridays, so we come here earlier around seven o’clock, then we go for a coffee stop somewhere. First thing we usually do is get the coffee machine up and running and warmed up. Then we set out job lists for the day, to see what needs doing. We often start with work shop builds and then from lunch time we sort out orders. It’s all very relaxed, not a very normal working environment
Who do you work with?
John Bowman, who works as a chef at Wylam brewery as well. He is also the chairman of Muckle cycling club which is a big club in Newcastle. Sam Davis who works on the days John’s not here, he’s an ex-Royal Marine who served for 12 years up to a few weeks ago. He is working here before he goes off to university. Then of course there is John offering coaching, massage and bike fit. We also have a retail and admin apprentice who is new to it all, he is also learning about bikes and enjoying it. Then there’s me, Nick, a South African who was in the army over here and then afterwards I decided to open this bike shop.
What is the most important thing that have learnt?
Always except the unexpected. You can’t really plan for something because you’ll plan one thing then realise you need to be flexible with your ideas.