Cycling across the Centuries and into Cribbs Causeway…
3 min read
In conversation with Ribble Cycles CEO – Andy Smallwood, talking about award winning bikes, the brand and the all new Bristol Showroom.
Q: Ribble Cycles is one of the world’s oldest bicycle brands, tell us more about the origins and how the company has evolved…
AS. Yes, we’ve been hand building British bicycles since 1897 and originally started off as a bike shop based on the banks of the Ribble Valley on Water Lane in Preston – so hence our brand name. We still design, test and hand build our bikes – from the ground up in the area and have since significantly grown into a global brand via our digital multi-channel business model supported with experiential brand showrooms such as our new exciting new brand showroom at Cribbs Causeway.
Q: Some big names in British cycling have ridden a Ribble and you as a boy raced on a Ribble?
AS: I was not quite as good as Boardman, Wiggins and Thomas but my first proper race bike was a Ribble when I was 16. I researched extensively and I saved for what seemed like forever to get the bike I had designed in my mind. The best riders in the UK all rode Ribble at the time and I wanted to emulate them. My bike was manufactured using Reynolds steel tubing, custom coloured in my club colours, and I built it myself with the best components I could afford. Now 30 years later, it’s amazing to be leading one of the oldest, yet forward thinking bicycle brands with a passionate and highly talented team. I’m immensely proud – it really is a childhood boy racer dream come true!
Q: Why did you choose Bristol for your new showroom?
AS: Bristol is a great cycling city with a very deep cycling heritage and the local promotion of cycling as a sustainable means of transport has increased cycling usage significantly. Hopefully our presence will also help to support this. Furthermore, the outstanding and varied local riding terrain is tremendous and aligns with every riding genre and product style in our diverse range. Whether it’s a hybrid or e-bike for commuting, a high-end race bike or an off road adventure or gravel bike – there is a bike to suit everyone! Bristol, the South West and beyond – is a fantastic brand fit.
Q: What does Ribble aim to provide that other cycle stores do not in Bristol?
AS: We have a diverse award-winning product range showcased in our immersive store and offer a high level of customisation through our BikeBuilder tool that allows the cyclist to spec the bike that is perfect for their cycling needs and then a unique opportunity to personalise their bike through our Custom Colour tool with one of over 400 million different combinations ensuring their bike not only performs but reflects their personality too. This can all be accessed via our website and the brand showroom at The Mall where expert product and sizing advice is on hand. Every bike is bespoke and hand built plus the customer can choose whether to have their new bike delivered to home or collect in the showroom. We will continue to innovate, invest in R&D and our customer journey to ensure that we continue to give cyclists a unique and better cycling experience. We also want to inspire and encourage the wider local community to get into cycling, to enjoy the benefits that come with riding a bike and to inspire the next generation of cyclists.