Wander into most larger branches of Halfords these days, inspect the cycles offer and it’s more than likely there will be a couple of Boardman bikes on display.
Designed by the erstwhile competitive cyclist turned two-wheeled entrepreneur Chris Boardman. That will be about it however, as these are not, in Halfords terms at least, entry-price machines.
For those who want more Boardman bikes that they can look at, feel and drool over, Peloton & Co, in London’s Spitalfields Market, may be the answer. This is a newly opened independent bike shop that offers clothing, coffee and Boardman bikes in some depth.
And in spite of the fact that Boardman continues to be associated in the popular imagination with Halfords, this is a store that takes the brand into designer cycle shop territory.
Open for just a few weeks now, it does more or less everything that an east London indie bike shop should do, with design-led bikewear and coffee that has been roasted in Brixton and then shipped north across the river. This is the archetypal road bike enthusiasts’ store - a place that is still evolving, but where shoppers will be able to drop in and enjoy an espresso, while watching the latest road race, wherever it may be.
It is similar in some respects to the very upscale Rapha cyclewear-cum-cafe shop that opened in Piccadilly at the end of last year. It is also hard not to wonder how well Halfords might do in selected locations with a small chain of Boardman cycle shops. The brand is popular and Peloton & Co shows what is possible with display and visual merchandising that will have the serious cyclist considering digging deep.