Blog Post by Grant
Swinnerton Cycles is a family owned business located in the heart of Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.
The shop has been present for as long as I can remember, and it’s a place my parents took me to when I was quite a young boy, to choose a bike for Christmas.
When I recently learned of an event to celebrate the shop’s 100th anniversary, this confirmed just how long the shop has been a part of cycling, both locally and nationally.
The celebration was on a Friday evening and on arrival the shop was already full to the brim with people. Barney Swinnerton greeted people at the door, and weaving my way into the main area of the shop it was great to see many of the Swinnerton family and other familiar faces dotted around.
The shop display area has been expanded quite significantly in recent times, but this evening the entire area was taken up with guests and a generous supply of food and drink.
During the evening it was great to catch up with the many folks that I’ve had the good fortune to meet through the cycling, and it was fabulous to reminisce about the shop in its early days, admire what it is now and hear about future plans.
During the evening I bumped into a good friend who had recently completed an Ironman Triathlon, and I was able to learn about the challenges that come with combining cycling, running and swimming. I find these events incomprehensible, and always admire the achievements of those who participate. I find just being a cyclist tough enough!
We are fortunate to live in an area where a number of well known cyclists live. Former Tour de France rider Martin Earley lives locally and was at the event this evening. Martin runs a successful Manipulative Therapy business, and he has helped both me and my family resolve some minor injuries that have unfortunately cropped up. This has ranged from improving posture, to helping my Mum after she’d taken a tumble from hitting a pothole when out riding!
I love talking to Martin, he has such enthusiasm for cycling and this evening I was able to learn a little about how he manages to blend time on the bike and his business.
It would’ve been so easy to spend the whole evening chatting with friends, but I had to take a look around the shop and admire some of the current products and fabulous memorabilia that was on show.
Swinnerton’s stock is quite vast, with bikes that range across road, mountain and commuter cycling and many of the other varieties that sit amongst this, such as cyclo cross and track bikes. Clothing, luggage, nutrition, tools and a workshop also feature widely. My list may have overlooked something, so I would definitely recommend that you drop into the shop, or give them a call if there’s something you wish to learn about, or potentially buy. Details of the shop can be found in the Useful Links.
Part of the display was the new Trek Madone, positioned to neighbour a race bike of old, formed in tubular steel and lugs. The developments in design are really astounding. I love to look at the difference in equipment used by the early racing cyclist, compared to now. Photos and films of the early day races and grand tours are wonderful to view.
Other cool items were on show, these ranged from early clothing and luggage to fabulous modern carbon frame sets. You can recognise how the earlier styles of clothing have influenced some of the designs you see in today’s cycling kit.
Another highlight of the evening was a talk given by Bernadette Swinnerton. We were given an insight into the history of the shop and the family’s connection to cycling. This ranged from the effort and tenacity that has gone into building the business, to fabulous achievements in competition cycling.
The evening passed quickly and it was soon time to say my goodbyes and head home. I am now looking forward to some of the future events that Swinnerton’s are holding. The next event is in the New Year, where Tim Lawson (Secret Training, STRIP and Stealth-sponsor of Tinkoff/Saxo) will talk on nutrition and body care.
During the 100th anniversary event I learnt that there are plans for further refinements to the shop interior and it was hinted that there maybe a time when I will be able to buy a coffee as well as bike kit, when visiting Swinnerton Cycles. Watch this space….