October 31, 2022
MB Cyclery, Haslemere
MB Cyclery is an independent, rider owned cycle shop in Haslemere run by self-confessed
bike-aholics Mike Smith and Ben Marks. As well as selling mountain, road, electric, gravel, commuting & leisure bikes, it also runs a servicing, repair and custom build workshop.
We spoke to co-founder Mike to find out what he’s learnt from his own time out on the road and trails and to get his insider tips on the best bike routes in the area.
How and when did MB Cyclery come about?
Ben and I had been working, racing and playing with bikes of all kinds for many years - since we were boys. For me, growing up, cycling was always what I was into – it was my escape and they say you should do something you love. In 2017, we had the opportunity to buy Cycleworks, the business we worked at and set up as our own independent shop under our own name.
How would you describe the shop?
We wanted to create the kind of bike shop you’d find in Morzine. A bit like a surf shop, it just has a cool atmosphere – a place with likeminded people where you want to hang out. We have an incredible crew working with us and we all get on really well, it’s like a family. Everyone works hard and is super knowledgeable.
What are the most popular kind of bikes you sell?
High-end mountain bikes are our biggest seller, but electric bikes are also massive now – they’ve taken off in a big way. The attraction of them is that if you have limited time or you’re not quite as fit as you’d like to be, you can still get out and enjoy everything that cycling has to offer. They’ve opened up a whole new world of cycling to people.
Has the market for custom build bikes increased?
Custom building bikes is a service we’ve always offered and we can accommodate anything from small modifications to a fully bespoke bike. The secret is listening to what customers really want, I think we do that well and because of that, we’re known as a brand rather than just a shop.
You’ve clearly got to know the local cyclists of Hampshire, Surrey and beyond very well. Who is your typical customer?
We cater for everyone from entry level right up to those competing at a high level professionally. We certainly have lots of customers who are hardcore enthusiasts, passionate about the sport.
We’re very blessed to have many incredible bike routes in Surrey. What makes it such a good area for cyclists?
Surrey is a mecca for cyclists. It’s got plenty of off-road routes, common land, a mix of terrains, great hills – everything you could ask for, really.
Did lockdown tempt a whole new legion of cycling fans to take to their saddles?
Big time. When we first heard about lockdown, we thought we would have to close the business but quite the opposite – because we were one of the few outdoor activities allowed, it opened up a whole new customer base for us. As the days went on, we got busier and busier and everyone seemed to be getting into cycling. Then of course the industry became sold out due to factories being closed but even so, we had our best year ever.
What would an ideal ride look like to you?
I’d be out on my favourite local, home trails. It would be a sunny day, I’d be with friends and it would be perfect dirt. I’d also be on my favourite ride – a Pivot Firebird, which is the best of the best. Made from carbon, it’s fitted with every kind of bike bling you can imagine.
What are your top cycle routes in and around Haslemere?
Many of my best rides don’t follow a particular route but if I had to choose, I’d say the Devil’s Punch Bowl at Hindhead. It’s not too extreme and the scenery is stunning. Plus, there’s a great National Trust café there. Queen Elizabeth Park is also a good shout for any kind of level from families and novices to more advanced cyclists.
And where would be your favourite places for a bit of post-ride refreshment?
Either The Rising Sun in Milland – a classic country pub with great food, drinks and atmosphere – it has a heated ski lodge marquee and with huge gardens and terraces, - it’s a pub for all seasons and all occasions. Guido’s in Liphook is another favourite for a post ride meal. It is an authentic family run, craft pizza and wine restaurant serving the best pizza ever. Or I’d stop for a coffee at Hemingways on Haslemere High Street, sit outside and watch the world go by.