Norwich firm shifts gear to pedal its way to expansion
- Credit: Archant
A Norwich social enterprise is pedalling its way to expansion with the development of a new cafe to boost its commercial interests.
Bicycle Links will open Cafe 135 on Monday, February 15, extending the use of its base on King Street.
The Community Interest Company was set up in 2012 to refurbish unwanted and abandoned second-hand bikes, with an aim to get Norwich cycling, but soon grew to include a hire service, bike shop and repair facility.
Project manager and founder Lucy Hall said: 'Bikes and cafes go well together - after all, cake and coffee are the fuel that makes the pedal go round. So when we were thinking about how to use our shop front, a cafe made sense.
'From a business point of view we hope that the shop and the cafe will be complementary. They may attract different customers, though we hope that some will use both.
'We should be able to fix a puncture in the time it takes to drink a cappuccino.'
When the company moved into the premises on King Street a year ago, the shop front was bricked up but renovation works have seen the glass frontage reinstalled.
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Over the past four years the company has taken in almost 2,000 bicycles - working with volunteers to refurbish them - and has completed about ten funded projects.
The Green 100 company, which employs four people, operates a number of workshops, training sessions and community projects throughout the year, and commercially, the team repairs more than 20 bikes a week.
Ms Hall said: 'Repair work is the real bread and butter work for us. When we started we had to get the commercial side up and running really quickly to support what we do.
'The way we have done everything here is to start things small and change it bit by bit.'
As the company moves towards completion of the cafe they have announced they will be partnering with cycle delivery company Outspoken Delivery who offer a fast, low impact delivery service for businesses.
From Monday, February 1, Bicycle Links will host three of their specialist cargo bikes which will be available to hire when they are not in use for deliveries.
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