WHEN Erik Richardson learned to ride his bike outside the family cycle shop in Leigh, aged six, he had no idea how much the cycling industry would change by the time it was his turn to take over the 100-year-old business.

Richardsons Cycles is a well-known shop in Leigh, but the reputable name, synonymous with quality, is also known across the world.

The bright orange jerseys with the business logo are emblazoned on the cyclists of the Richardsons-Trek Road Team, which Richardsons Cycles has sponsored since 2013.

Cycling is big business these days and the industry moves at a fast pace with the latest electric bike technology, and expensive carbon frame bikes, evolving all the time.

It is a business that Erik Richardson’s grandad Harry, who moved to the area in 1926, would not recognise.

“My grandad was a forward thinking businessman and what we fundamentally do and the standard of customer service we give is the same as it always had been. He would have been very interested in the latest technology for electric and carbon frame bikes and the way the industry has progressed,” said Erik.

Echo: Nostalgia - the old shop front on Elm RoadNostalgia - the old shop front on Elm Road (Image: Richardsons Cycles)

Richardsons Cycles came to south Essex in 1926 when Harry moved to Leigh from Stoke Newington. He opened the shop in Leigh Broadway, later purchasing 101 Elm Road and then 99 Elm Road and moved his business there. In 1956 Erik’s father Don, opened another bicycle shop in Hadleigh.

“I lived in Leigh across the road from my nan when I was four or five. We later moved to Hadleigh when my dad ran the shop there and I have memories of cleaning the tops of the enamel paints for the model kits.”

In 1976 Erik left school and began working in the shop and became a business partner in 1979. In 1983 the business came back to Elm Road where Harry Richardson had started it all.

There are two generations of Richardsons in the shop, Erik and his daughter Danielle, who strive to uphold the reputable, trust worthy business as well as embracing the latest innovations.

“I have always been passionate about the business side of the cycling industry and customer service. The importance of the relationship between us and the customer is something my grandad and dad instilled in me. It is a reflection of who you are, you should want to wake up and look forward to going to work and seeing people.

"It is a family run business and I was never pressured to take over, I was interested in it and chose to. Watching my grandson learning to ride his balance bike, I wonder if he will do the same.”

Richardsons Cycles is located at 99-101 Elm Rd, Leigh, SS9 1SP. Contact 01702 713847 or see www.richardsonscycles.com for details.

Legacy of shop lives on with staff


Echo: Simon, Harry and Sam in the workshopSimon, Harry and Sam in the workshop (Image: Newsquest staff)

Cyclists are in safe hands when it comes to the Richardsons Cycles team.

On entering the shop they are met by elite rider Simon Alexander, who is a member of the Richardsons-Trek Road Team, and in the workshop, there is Harry Wall and Sam Flanders, who are experts in all areas of cycling mechanics. Erik’s daughter Danielle gets the word out about the shop using social media and marketing.

Simon said: “Richardson Cycles is a name that is known all over the world and it is known as a very reputable and trustworthy business.

I knew about the shop long before I started working here when I first started out cycling and joined the elite team. Everyone would tell me I have to go to Richardson Cycles because itis the best.”

The shop stocks mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, electric bikes, Brompton folding bikes, kids’ bikes, road Bikes and carbon frame bikes (which are priced from £3,000 up to £10,000).

They are not all bikes that can be easily repaired at home and they need expert care.

This is where the workshop team come in, with their sought-after expertise and attention to detail. Martin joined the team in 2001 having met Erik while working in a Corringham cycle shop.

“It is a great place to work and what I love is every day is different. I first got into bikes through my dad. He was known as the ‘bike man’ where I lived because everyone came to him to fix their bikes. Any money he got for it he would donate to the Scouts group which he helped with.”

Sam joined in 2014 and he has always been into sport, especially rugby.

“I studied sport and engineering and this job combines the two. It is very niche and you pick up so may skills,” he said.

Having been in business such a long time the team have weathered many changes. The biggest was during the pandemic, when, while many businesses saw their work grind to a halt, Richardsons Cycles saw a massive rise in people getting into cycling.

“The pandemic for me and the teamwasveryinteresting,” said Erik.

“We were one of the lucky businesses which were able to stay open.

It was a very busy time for us and an exciting time as well as we saw a huge increase in people getting into cycling and we were busier than ever, while sticking to the government guidelines for safety in the shop. It was the biggest change we have seen in the business during my time and has contributed to the big leaps in innovation within the industry.”