Southsea bike shop offers free hire and repair service to NHS workers

A BICYCLE shop has been working hard ensuring people in the city are kept safe while riding their bikes.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 1:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 2:51 pm
Mike Evans, manager of Southsea Cycles.

Southsea Cycles, in Albert Road, has remained open during the pandemic and has been doing its bit to help NHS and key workers.

The bicycle repair and hire shop has been repairing the bikes of NHS and essential workers for free for the last nine weeks, as well as hiring out bikes to them for free.

The team has also been busy using the shop’s laser engraving machine to produce face shields.

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In total they produced around 500 shields, which were donated to Keep Them Safe South Hampshire, which is a partnership with 3DCrowd UK, run by The Makers Guild and has produced around 15,000 face shields.

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The shop has offered around 75 free bike repairs and has its fleet of 15 hire bikes constantly in use.

Last week it sold 30 bikes and has sold out of children’s bike seats.

Manager, Mike Evans, who runs the shop, has extended his working hours to 6am until 9pm to accommodate for the extra demand.

There is only ever one person in the shop at any given time.

The shop’s owner, Kevin Watkins, said the shop has been especially busy due to people having the time to go out and ride their bikes for pleasure, as well as people avoiding public transport.

He said: ‘For us it’s double what we would normally sell in the same period.

‘What (the pandemic) has done is it has made people remember what it’s like to cycle. They’re spending more time with their families and what we are seeing is that families are all going out together.

‘If you go down to the esplanade it’s like a mini Amsterdam. It’s good for people’s health, but also the environment.

‘It’s almost been a mini test of what it could be like if we were more cycle friendly.

‘It’s that sense of the city coming together and making the best out of what has been a worrying time.’

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