Last night saw the launch of a critical campaign to save London's most iconic cycle shop - Brixton Cycles. Hundreds of aficionados packed into Brixton East club in South-West London to join in the fund-raising fun. The campaign aims to raise money to save the community shop and help it remain where it belongs - in Brixton.
Brixton Cycles is London's largest independent cycle shop. Founded as a worker's co-operative 1983, the shop and cycle club are not only an institution, but an inspiration for locals and staff alike. It has already survived eviction once before when developers turfed it out of its first home in Coldharbour Lane. But now the company is facing eviction yet again as Lambeth Council are in the process of selling the site to property developers.
As BC have a current lease, developers Network Housing were obliged to rehouse the company. However, they offered Brixton Cycles a shop a quarter the size of the existing space, at a rent which was more than doubled! Consequently, the co-op have taken the brave step to search for new premises. The problem is that Brixton is fast-becoming gentrified and community amenities are being turned into yuppie playgrounds as locals are being driven out by soaring rents and property prices.
Last night saw the start of the campaign to raise £40,000 via Crowdfunder. Brixton Cycles has just 30 days in which to raise this sum which will help them pay towards moving costs to new premises. This, however, is just the start of a larger fundraising drive - the move in 2001 cost £80,000 alone and the increase in property prices in Brixton has been amongst the highest in the country in recent years.
Brixton Cycles longest-standing team member, Lincoln Romain, who has worked at the shop for 26 years said: “We’re disappointed to be leaving our current premises. Brixton Cycles has played a key role in the development of this community over the last 32 years. Now we are being excluded from the next chapter of Brixton’s story.
“However, with change comes opportunity and we are hopeful that, with the support of our community, we can make the new Brixton Cycles even bigger and better. Our jobs are on the line, so we’re going to give this campaign everything we’ve got! We have amazing rewards to offer our customers and we hope that they’ll support us.”
BC has until November 20th to raise the first instalment and eviction is ever-looming with the final date to vacate their current Stockwell Road premises at the end of January 2016. We at Ride Velo urge you to support their fundraising and give what you can to Crowdfunder. Brixton won't be the same without the maillot red, gold and green - the iconic Brixton Cycles.