Cycling / Interviews

Independent peddling

By helen martin, Tuesday Feb 24, 2015

Taylored Cycles is an independent mobile bicycle mechanic service, based in Easton. They service bikes around the city at their HUBS and offer a same day service for cyclists; commuters, families, the council. Meet Ross Taylor, the director and owner of Taylored Cycles

Please state your name, location and occupation
I’m Ross Taylor, and I’m the director and owner of Taylored Cycles, as well as being a bicycle mechanic. Our business HQ ­ workshop and office­ is in Easton, but it is not customer facing. We go out to our customers, wherever is convenient for them. I live in south Bristol, near Victoria Park.

How long have you lived in Bristol and what do you love about the city?
I have lived in Bristol since I came here for university, so that’s 18 years. I love the small town feel of the city,­ you can always bump into someone you know. I also love how anything goes –­ if someone comes up with an idea, Bristol is the place to make it happen. It’s a great place to start any business, with such a strong focus on supporting local initiatives, but obviously with such a great cycling culture it’s a great place to be a keen mountain biker and road cyclist too.

What were you doing before?
I spent several years working in BIKE UK in Clifton, as a full-time mechanic, but wanted to move onto something more challenging. First I moved to the Alps and did a season as a mountain bike guide and then, when I came back, I had an 18-month career as a BMW Salesman. Then I moved onto a small event management company, where I had many hats; such as IT and operations, but I also ran half of their accounts department. Here I picked up lots of skills in running a small business. When the owners decided to move the business to London, I knew I wanted to stay in Bristol, so I was out of a job.

What made you want to start a mobile bicycle mechanic service?
I knew all about bicycle servicing, I had been trained in top levels of customer service at BMW, and I had lots of useful knowledge about running a small business. Plus, I was still fixing bikes for friends in my spare time, which I loved. So it all added up to going it alone. There are several other mobile bike mechanic businesses in Bristol these days, but Taylored Cycles was the first, that was back in 2007.

Who uses Taylored Cycles? 
Our customers can be anyone with a bike! The majority of our customers are people who use their bicycles every day, like cycle commuters. We have the Taylored Cycle Hub at Bristol Temple Meads, the city centre and other sites around Bristol, so people can drop their bike off on their way to work and pick it up on their way home. We also do a collection service, which means we pick up a customer’s bike (or often their whole family’s) from their home or office, take it to our workshop to fix, and bring it back – usually in the same day,­ people love that! We also work with Bristol City Council and Sustrans to deliver loads of bike related services, from Dr Bike sessions in schools, to keeping the council’s loan bikes in tip-top form. And we work with businesses all over Bristol to support their staff to travel more sustainably, from servicing a pool of Bromptons at a law firm, to running D???r Bike sessions for employees one day a month for some of the area’s biggest employers.

What else does Taylored Cycles do?
While everyday cyclists make up the biggest part of our workload, we also offer s???pecialist services for mountain bikers and roadies, we service disk brakes and we’re experts at custom bicycle builds.???­ I enjoy nothing more than building wheels to order. We’ve also got tonnes of experience servicing electric and folding bikes, and offer the same mechanic service for them at the same costs as all other kinds of bikes. I’ve also got a real passion for restoring vintage bikes, I love taking on a big project. A lady recently commissioned a total refurbishment of her husband’s old touring bike as a surprise for his 70th birthday. It’s his pride and joy, so it was really important to get right, and when he called to say he loved the end result it was such a brilliant feeling!

How have you seen the business develop and grow?
Taylored Cycles started out with me, a van and some tools, running it out of my flat in Clifton. These days, we have three vans on the road, four mechanics and an admin person running the business out of a fully kitted out workshop, with an office. Sometimes I have to stop, and make sure I’m not swamped with all the paperwork.­ I do this because I love fixing bikes, so I like to make sure I’m still doing that as much as possible.

What do you think of the cycling scene in Bristol?
Personally, I think the bike scene in Bristol is the best anywhere in the country. It’s wide and varied, friendly and welcoming, and whatever you fancy doing on a bike you can find somewhere to do it and some hugely enthusiastic people to do it with. Professionally, I think it’s brilliant to see such an amazing selection of great, independent bike shops and cycling related businesses in Bristol, all with fantastic expertise. And people are being really creative about the formats they’re employing to deliver that, from Roll for Soul, to Bristol Bike Project, to the Bespoked exhibition. I think Taylored Cycles is part of that.

And as an independent business, do you think Bristol is a good place for those forging their own business ­ are people supportive? I believe that Bristol is one of the most supportive places to start your own business, and obviously businesses in the cycling industry especially.

What’s the future for Taylored Cycles?
Well, we’re always looking to grow. We’re currently talking to a couple of people who are interested in regularly hosting the Taylored Cycle Hub at other business sites and locations. And we already work in Bath and across North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to some degree, so it would be great to set up franchises, where local mechanics could run Taylored Cycles vans locally, and we could grow our presence across the South West. That all means taking on more mechanics though, and trained, experienced mechanics are in short supply in a city with so many bike shops, so we’re always on the look out for new talent. We also often get asked if we deliver training by keen cyclists who would like to do more to keep their own bikes working well, so that’s something we’re looking into developing at the moment too.

What are three basic things a cyclist can do to keep their bike ticking over nicely and how do they do it? 

  1. Keep your tyres pumped up ­ the tyres won’t wear out so quickly and you’re less likely to damage your wheels or get a puncture. It also means you’ll have a more comfortable and speedy ride!

  2. Keep you gears oiled, but don’t use too much oil ­ your chain will last longer, and your gears will work more smoothly.

  3. Check your brake pads and replace them when they’re getting worn down ­ your brakes will work better, and it will help stop you damaging other parts of the bike.

(Keeping your bike clean is important too, and we can do this for you as part of a service for an additional cost!)

To book in your bike, or for more information about the services Taylored Cycles can offer, call Ross on 07811330586, email ross@tayloredcycles.com or visit www.tayloredcyles.com.??? 

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