A friend first suggested this place to me, as after hunting all around hackney for a bike shop which would mend her Vintage Dutch bike, was so happy when she found this shop.
After hearing such great stories about here, I decided to check it out for myself. Outside were many retro looking bikes, and mountain bikes and inside even more. I spoke to the mechanical man about prices and fixing old bikes, and he was really knowledgable, welcoming and friendly.
Their prices are pretty average, £35 for a full service with a turn around of about three hours, and £15 for new wheels and tubes.
A friend recommended that I try Camden cycles as they have a reputation for being quite ethical and sell good quality bikes. I had researched the bike that I wanted on their website. Although you can't order bikes online, well you can but you still have to pick them up in the store, I was happy to note that the bike I wanted was listed as available on the website. I called and was told that I could order my bike over the phone and pay with a credit card but decided that I should just head on down as I live just up the road.
Upon getting to the shop, I told the gentlemen at the counter which bike that I was interested in purchasing. He showed me a bike that he told me was the same thing. He told me that I could try it out if I leave my ID. I thought that was a bit strange but figured it was a good way to ensure that people don't run off with the bikes. So I gave me my ID and tried the bike. It was perfect. I then told him that I wanted to buy the bike and he asked if I had cash.
I didn't and asked him if I could pay with my card. He said that I can't but that there is a cash point up the road and that I can just get the cash there. Now I found it odd that I was being asked to pay in cash especially as I was able to pay over the phone with a card earlier in the week. I just assumed that the machine must be broken and went to get cash.
When I returned, I added a D-lock to my order and paid for my bike. I quickly discovered that the bike was suddenly £40 move expensive than advertised. I also hadn't pulled out enough cash. I asked why the price went up and they the salesman pulled up their website and pointed at the price listed online.
He had sold me a different bike.
I told him that the bike he showed me wasn't the one that I asked for and asked to be given the other bike. He said that bike had been sold. But offered to let me charge the remainder of the purchase on my card as I didn't have the cash.
Umm, I thought I couldn't pay by card?????
I relented and bought the bike mostly because I've been talking about it for ages and really did like how the bike rode. But I couldn't help but feel like I was somehow being discriminated against.
Had I ordered over the phone, I would have been able to pay with my card. But for some reason, I have to pay with cash once I show up to the store in person.
I'm also bothered that the salesman didn't immediately tell me that the bike I wanted was sold out - assuming that it was actually sold out.
Overall, I do love my bike but the whole customer service experience was horrible. I won't be going back to Camden Cycles, not even for maintenance work on my bike.
Camden Cycles sells used bicycles. You would think at 250 for a Dahon fold up bike it would be new. No way! You can get better deals on Ebay. True enough, a Dahon can run upwards of 400 quid so maybe I am being cheap.
All bikes come fully serviced here and there are loads to choose from. Some of the bikes are new but not very many.
You'll find dirt still in the bikes locked up and draped all different ways.
Bicycle may be the easiest way to get around London, but storing a bike in London is far from easy. If you're short on space, chances are your mode of transport is going to be chained up outside no matter the weather or crime rate. It doesn't really inspire one to spend lots of cash on a flashy bike.
Camden Cycles is good for people who need to store their bikes outdoors or who are cycling for the first time. Their bikes are all either second hand or last year's models. You could find something solid and sturdy for £100 if not cheaper, though they get the occasional fancy racing bike in for more. They also carry a good variety from mountain bikes to Dutch bikes, as well as children's bikes. And their turn around is so quick that if you don't find something you like one day, they may have what you want by the end of the week.
They're also really good for repairs, and very honest. I've been sent away with instructions for how I can fix things myself rather than be charged by them, and they've replaced my break cables for free. Nice guys and really helpful.
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