The Problem with Crowdfunding

So our Crowdfunder has a attracted a few negative comments mostly from the hard of thinking and not helped by the above headline in the local press (Thanks guys, next time try and spell my name right and get the company name right. Quality Journalism!) and it seems to have stalled a little so I thought I’d give you a little more background and transparency about where and what we are as a company. So buckle up and grab a cup of coffee as this might get a little long!

So yes, it’s true our turnover in the past three months has doubled. Before COVID hit we had 4 members of staff, we now have TEN people working at the Electric Cycle Company, so our wage bill has more than doubled. Everyone has to eat and so unlike a lot of the mainstream big bike companies who pay atrociously low wages as they’re usually owned by venture capitalist all my staff are paid well above the living wage for Scotland (and I buy them pizza EVERY Saturday) This means we can retain and train quality staff who aren’t going to move jobs for 50p an hour. Important so you, the customer, get the best service. That tsumani isn’t looking quite as big now!

Also I invested everything I had in getting as much stock in as the company could afford so that our staff had something to sell and I could keep them working and you guys could get bikes.

Onto the Crowdfunder. £70,000 seems a bit excessive right? Lets’ talk about that sum. Firstly that £70k attracts the dreaded VAT so straight off the bat our friends at HMRC want £14,000 so we’re down to £54,000. Indiegogo have admin fees which takes another £2000. So now its £52,000. My outgoings so far on lawyers, architects and structural engineers are around £12,000 so £40k left to spend on electricians, plumbers, joiners and materials and hopefully have a bit left for new demo bikes.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve a reward so I’ll let you into a secret. Our existing shop at 133 Granton Road is going to become a separate social enterprise called Urban Initiatives. (registered at Companies House if you don’t believe me) This will deal with bike repairs, training people for cycle related jobs with the aim of helping people back into employment after COVID and making the city I love a better place to live and work.  This requires tools and equipment and myself and my partners are starting this from scratch and to make it work I’m basically donating most of the tools and kit from our workshop to start them off which means I’ll have to replace them in the new premises Here’s what a basic set of workshop tools cost

Our Indiegogo Crowdfunder was never about lining my pockets, I sincerely want to give people value for money as I always do. If I wanted to get rich, I’d never have opened a bike shop. Our perks are basically us doing work on your bike at cost in return for your money up front.

I personally get a warm, fuzzy feeling from helping people get on bikes. The new store will allows us to do that better and we will be able to give away more stuff and help more people like bigger donations to charity, more work with local groups like Granton Youth  and things like free insurance, free bike marking and free breakdown cover for every bike we sell without the millstone of a huge loan round our necks.

Thanks for listening (and your donations).



The Electric Cycle Company is being supercharged

We’re on the move. Scotland’s largest specialist e-bike shop, is moving to a 4000 square foot, carbon neutral premises on Crewe Road North, four times the size of our current retail space and workshop on Granton Road. and we’re launching a crowdfunding campaign to renovate the building into a new state of the art store and workshop, the biggest e-bike shop in the UK. 

When completed our new shop, scheduled to open in early September, will be the UK’s largest specialist e-bike shop, displaying a large selection of both new and established electric bike brands and quality accessories.  We will have enough showroom space to display a huge number of eBikes to enable our hugely knowledgeable and experienced sales team to safely deliver both interactive and informative e-bike demonstrations and ‘talk throughs’, perfectly matching the best eBike to your lifestyle.  With bookable sales appointments, there will be a welcome reception and a dedicated customer waiting and chill out area.

The new store will be one of the first carbon-neutral bike shops in the UK.  Our renovation plans include solar panels on the roof and battery banks will take care of lighting and bike charging. Heating will be provided by a biomass boiler powered by the waste packaging our business creates.

With our crowdfunding campaign we’re hoping to raise the £70,000 for the renovation of the shop and workshop. We really hope that our customers, old and new, are keen to support us in creating the most progressive bike shop in Scotland and a more comfortable, spacious and safer environment for them and our staff.  The range of crowdfunding rewards we are offering will be beneficial your eBike lifestyle, both now and in the future. With your investment we will also be able to reward all of our customers with added value with things like extended guarantees, free security marking, and updates.  We think it’s a win win for all.

COVID-19 Update

What is happening at the Electric Cycle Company? Well, following last night’s announcement we’re still open for business for the time being.

Our staff have agreed to work on, to keep everyone on their bikes. According to Government advice, we’re an essential service. (More details here).

We take the safety of our staff and customers very seriously and we would ask customers to be patient at this difficult time as extra measures that we have put in place will make our rate of work a little slower than normal.

We are waiting for further supplies of PPE to be delivered and we will disinfect each bike before and after work. You’ll find that our doors are locked so that we can practice proper distancing and we will only allow 1 customer in the workshop at a time. Customers in the showroom will be similarly restricted to one at a time or 1 couple.  If you intend to visit the showroom we would ask if you can use the booking system on our website so we can plan for your visit and we are not getting too many customers at any one time. You’ll find it here

Lastly, as per our recent Facebook post, we will be prioritising Essential Worker’s bikes for servicing and repairs until further notice. If you work for an essential service like the NHS, Police Scotland, Pharmacists, Cleaners, Council Workers, Supermarket Workers, Carers, etc, and you’d prefer to cycle to your place of work instead of using public transport, we’ll fix your bike for free. Please just pay for any parts you need. (with a 20% discount)

If we missed any group you think is vital let us know and we’ll add it. 

Like everyone else, we’re playing this day to day and the situation may change at any time. If you are about to visit or need anything please call us first or check our website or Facebook page for any updates

Take care of yourself, each other and stay safe.

Neill, Drew, Douglas and Michael

We want to help…

Right now, we’re feeling pretty vulnerable and helpless.

But people way less fortunate than us, in our easy bike shop life, are having things way harder than we can ever imagine.

We want to help but what can we do? Well, we can fix bikes rather well. So from Thursday (19th March), if you work for an essential service like the NHS, Police Scotland, Pharmacists, Cleaners, Council Workers, Supermarket Workers, Carers, etc, and you’d prefer to cycle to your place of work instead of using public transport, we’ll fix your bike for free. Please just pay for any parts you need. (with a 20% discount)

If we missed any group you think is vital let us know and we’ll add it.

I’m paying my staff as I can afford to at the moment. Our business is pretty quiet so we might as well do something. But if this does go on for a long time please be patient with us and don’t take the piss, we’re still just a small business trying to help.

We’ll disinfect your bike as best as we can before and after servicing too – just in case.

Stay safe (and mobile)

Neill, Douglas, Drew and Michael

My latest blog posts.

New Year, New Me (YAWN)

My name’s Neill and I like pies! And I work in close proximity to fine purveyors of said products!

I had the misfortune of catching sight of myself in the mirror in a shirt maybe slightly too tight for a man of my advancing years on Christmas day. A trip to the scales a few days later and I’m tipping the aforementioned bad boy at just under 109KG (which is 17.1646 Stones in old money according to Uncle Google.)  

Now according to the NHS BMI Calculator that gives me a BMI of 31.8 which when you look at this chart underneath has me creeping into the Land of the Obese but still close to the shorelines of Pleasantly Plump but a few miles from the sunny, idyllic climes of Healthy.

Now I hear you asking “Neill, we want to know about electric bikes, and we have very little interest in your Greggs habit!”

So this brings me to the point of humiliating myself here!  As a (big boned!) person with quite a sedentary job and a love of food,  realistically I need to lose about 23Kg (3.62 Stones blah blah blah), get fit and avoid stuff like Type 2 Diabetes. All you hear everywhere when electric bikes are mentioned (from us too) is that “eBikes are healthy”, “eBikes get you fit”, “eBikes are a proper workout” etc etc. So now it’s time to put my money where the industry mouth (and mine) is and use the eBikes I have access to (I hate the gym especially in January) as my main form of exercise and walk the walk. Why pay for a gym when bike rides are free?

So over the coming months, I’ll be strava’ing every bloody ride (good excuse to buy more tech) and counting my calories and exercise on

So stay tuned as I go from this…

To this….

The RV of eBikes!

The Tern Bicycles GSD is possibly the most innovative eBike we’ve had in store for a long, long time.

Got to carry 2 children. Got you covered!
Got carry a child and a mountain of shopping. Again, got you!
Need to store it in a confined space. Yup it can do that!

Check out the video and get in touch and welcome this RV of an eBike into your life.

Don’t believe us, see what Bike Radar had to say about it here

Santa’s Little Helper

Rudolph, you’re fired! Santa has an alternative greener method of transport this Christmas with his Riese & Müller Packster. Lower carbon emissions that of 9 Reindeer. Early field tests were very favourable with a delivery to our friends at Kids Love Clothes

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You want bikes! We have bikes! Let’s talk!

Currently, you can now save over £300 with huge reductions from Scott and Bergamont.

  • Scott e Sub Sport 10 £3099 now down to £2649 (only one medium left)!
  • Scott e Sub Active £2149 now down to £1829!
  • Scott e Sub Cross 20 £1949 to £1659!
  • Bergamont E Horizon 7 £2249 to £1900!
  • Bergamont E Horizon 6 £1999 to £1699,
  • Bergamont E Helix £2899 to £2469!

Swapping your car for an eBike?

Electric bikes can be life-changing for many people, whether it is through increased mobility, the freedom to get places stress-free, money saved not running from the car, or the sheer fun and enjoyment. Claire Connachan caught up with Cycling UK member Neil Robertson to learn more about how his electric bike has made positive changes in his life.

Although Neil has been cycling for a long time, he didn’t invest in an electric bike until relatively recently. I asked him about his background before e-bikes came into his life.

“I started cycle commuting about 16 years ago to get fitter and lose weight,” Neil explains. “After that I joined CTC and I became a member of the 20 Milers Club, MellowVelo and Spokes, all based in Edinburgh. I actually met my wife on a 20 Milers ride in 2009, and the rest is history.”  

Neil and his wife Cathie have a large collection of bikes now – 12 in total. With so many cycles at their disposal, I was interested in learning why Neil’s interest was piqued with electric bikes.

“I read an article about a 30-year-old international triathlete with osteo-arthritis,” says Neil. “She couldn’t cycle for pain, but after buying an ebike she found she could train on days when she was suffering. I thought that if it can do that for someone who is really toiling then I might have a look.”You really discover what the e-bike does for hills – it basically flattens them.Neil Robertson

Neil and Cathie visited the Electric Cycle Company in Edinburgh to investigate. They tried several different kinds of electric bikes, and as the shop was at the top of a hill they quickly realised how electric bikes make cycling effortless.

“You really discover what the ebike does for hills – it basically flattens them,” Neil says. “It removes hills from the equation. After seeing the e-bike on the hills, Cathie decided she could cycle to work. Her commute is six miles up a hill into the prevailing wind. Mine is downhill most of the way to work, but on the way home it’s a real uphill slog.” 

Neil and Cathie’s ebikes

An hour later, with two electric bikes purchased, Neil and Cathie were both keen to try out their commutes.

“Cathie commutes to work three times a week,” Neil says. “She teaches, and before she had the e-bike she was too hot and sweaty upon arriving at work to teach. The e-bike really suits her commute to work now. Cathie’s bike you can just step on in your work clothes, you don’t get oil or anything. There’s very little maintenance.”

As for Neil, he has also seen a significant difference in his travel habits since investing in an electric bike, to the extent that his car has almost become completely redundant.

“I picked up my e-bike in September 2017. Ten weeks on I had done over 1,000 miles on my electric bike. The e-bike became my default mode of transport in Edinburgh. I commuted to work every day and at the end of ten weeks I looked at the car and it had only done 260 miles. I had last filled the car with fuel on the 26 of September!”

Cathie with the ebikes on the High Peak Trial

Neil and Cathie’s electric bikes have been a good financial investment for them both. Neil has done the sums: “Without the e-bikes, in two and a half months the car would have probably done a thousand miles. The fuel cost alone would go a good way to the cost of the e-bike.”

Although Neil has been a keen cyclist for many years, he faced some barriers that discourages many other people from jumping on a bike for certain journeys.  Hills were a bugbear for him, with an extended uphill cycle after a long day’s work not appealing to him. The electric bike suddenly provided a workplace cycle commute for him again.

“I just changed psychology. Even in monsoon weather, I was still smiling on my e-bike. I cycled up Dundas Street and the Mound – two of Edinburgh’s nastiest hills – in shocking rain and I did it at 15 miles an hour. I just wouldn’t be able to do that without the electric bike.”

Neil has also discovered that electric cycling makes it much easier to keep up with traffic. He feels it’s a key selling point for people who doubt e-bikes or are nervous around vehicles. With electric assist, you can take away from traffic lights and junctions quickly and it allows you to keep up with cars in urban environments.I did lots of miles on my bike that I would have otherwise done in my car. It’s one less car on the road. Neil Robertson

“The real difference is you can keep up in the traffic flow, even with all the hills,” Neil says. “I know we’re not supposed to feel like we are holding up traffic because we are traffic, but it does give you that extra bit of confidence.”

I ask him whether anyone ever ribs him for ‘cheating’ with an electric bike (not that I think it is).

“Look, electric bikes are not cheating,” he replies firmly. “I did lots of miles on my bike that I would have otherwise done in my car. It’s one less car on the road. In September I was driving to work every day and I’m now cycling. Is that cheating? No. To me that’s a massive bonus! In the 10 weeks I lost nine pounds in weight, just using the electric bike.”

Electric cycling really is a game changer for many people, and it’s difficult to think of any downsides. For Neil, investing in an electric bike has improved his physical and mental health, made cycle commuting accessible, flattened Edinburgh’s hills and replaced a significant number of car trips. What’s not to love? But while I can’t think of any downsides, Neil can come up with one: “The downside of an e-bike is that it’s impossible to wipe the smile off your face.”


Image ©Stuart Threlfall