Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
“Getting to Know…”
So Part 3 takes up to the Melrose, Scotland to meet the team at Hardies Bikes.
So who are Hardies Bikes?
Hardies Bikes is a family run bike shop based in Melrose in the heart of the Scottish Borders.We offer a number of different services for our customers and pride ourselves on our down to earth customer service having a few laughs and a bit of banter along the way.
Gordon is the main man in the shop and his technical knowledge, passion for his work and blunt no bull s**t approach has become legendary with our customers. None the less it’s this straight talking that people seem to love. He is a Cytech trained mechanic but his CV also includes car mechanic, panel beater and bodywork technician and lorry driver (not relevant you would think but please read on). His main objective is to provide customers with the right product by spending time getting to know them usually over a cup of tea or two. Despite being maxed out with work he will always pull out all the stops to get our customers rolling again. We believe this is what a good bike shop is all about.
Cammy, Gordon and Anna’s oldest son is a face you may not often see in the shop but has none the less played a huge part in where we are today. Cammy is an avid mountain biker and is also a bike mechanic working for a well-known retailer.
Angus, Downhill rider, Enduro Rider, BASE (Borders Academy of Sporting Excellence) student, ambassador of No Fuss Events and Scottish Enduro, works hard to promote the business while out and about as well as giving up his weekends to work in the shop.
Blair is the ‘adopted member’ of the Hardies Bikes family. A familiar face in the shop, Blair brings a certain organised approached (yes Blair has OCD but is currently in denial). Since returning from eighteen months in Whisltler BC doing park laps all day, Blair has been taking part in Scottish Enduro and DH.
Anna tries to keep the guys in check and takes charge ‘behind the scenes’. This includes exciting tasks such as book keeping, accounts, admin and trying to control purse strings. This is no mean feat considering Gordon is a compulsive shopper and addicted ‘shiny things’ Anna is also a keen mountain biker and has recently started competing in BMX.
Daphne is the newest member of Hardies bikes. The Jack Russell is now our wee shop mascot and probably has an IQ higher than the rest of the team combined.
So Hardies Bikes, where did we begin?
To most people the opening of our shop in Abbey Street Melrose on May the 4th 2013 was the beginning but really it all started long before that. As soon as the boys could ride bikes we would regularly be out and about but we also did go carting, quad biking and Moto-X but it was mountain biking where our passion lay.
In 2007 Cammy bought his first ‘real’ Downhill bike and was the envy of most of the kids in the street, that same year Blair moved to a house just a few doors away and it was to be the beginning of a fantastic friendship! Those were the days of constructing dangerous ramps in the middle of the street, modifying bikes from any spare parts lying around and three boys generally making a nuisance of themselves around the town. It was in these early years that Gordon started to adapt his mechanical knowledge to keep up with the demands of two hashy little brats who seemed to think money for bikes grew on trees.
It was in June 2010 after our first trip to Fort William World cup that our life completely changed. We found out then that there were mini DH competitions to be held at Innnerleithen. We went along slightly under prepared but the boys had some fantastic results. Over the next few years the guys took part in the Scottish Downhill series with mixed results due to injuries and bike breakages.
A change of circumstances and a new outlook on life at the beginning of 2013 was to be when the shop was born. A series of coincidences on our journey took place telling us that Hardies Bikes Was ‘meant to be’ and we have never looked back, our dream became reality. We opened our doors on May the 4th (yes we are Star Wars fans and this date seemed fit for our venture) and were overwhelmed by the response.
Hardies Bikes takes 100% commitment to work with the whole team working long hours seven days a week to provide our customers with a professional service. We feel Hardies Bikes is the local hub promoting cycling events in the shop and on social media and supporting local riders.
As well as building up our customer base in the shop we are supporting a number of race series. We feel this is an important part of our progression for the shop bringing new business and helping the races where our own young team began their journey.
We are now a proud sponsor of SDA (Scottish Downhill Association) providing the occasional spot prizes and end of season podium prizes while generally be on hand to assist with any mechanical problems riders may have.
2016 is shaping up to be a busy year, after being invited to be a main retailer and mechanic for the Scottish Enduro series we see great things on the horizon.
Whats the Melrose Scene like?
Being located in the Tweed Valley it is inevitable that most of our customers will be drawn to MTB. With the Eildon hills on our doorstep and Glentress and Innerleithen only half an hour away there is something for every riding ability, and we cater for everyone that walks through our door.
From a group of retired guys not content on relying on golf as their past time to up and coming young DH riders we have something for everyone. Hardies bikes has a real mix of characters visiting regularly from wee Gus Meldrum on his Nukeproof Scalp to Kev Welsh, fitness instructor, MTB coach and coffee guru on his Mega TR.
A view from Kev Welsh on the shop and his views on Nukeproof:
I love my Nukeproof Mega TR 275 because it covers all the types of riding I do from local trails to Tweed Valley bike parks to the occasional uplift day! I like my bikes to be pleasing on the eye and not too over complicated with fancy suspension designs (also for ease of cleaning and maintenance) The build of the Nukeproof is sturdy without being over built and gives a surefooted reassurance on all types of terrain. I had a 2013 Mega TR which I didn’t think could be bettered until I bought my 2015 Race model from Hardies.
I’m currently pouring over reviews and articles on the new Mega 290 Comp which I have ordered from Gordon and hopefully be aboard it by the end of March.
Gordon and the gang have been a great help and welcome breath of fresh air in the local area with their depth of knowledge on all things bike and cheese n ham or ham n cheese toasties! Although the Hardies are renowned tea drinkers I’m slowly trying to convince them coffee is the way forward and even donated one of my old machines to help them along.
I like that the workshop is part of the shop and it’s great to pop in for cuppa and blether and watch Gordon at work and sometimes Angus!
Even riders that don’t ride Nukeproof bikes still rate Nukeproof components including the old faithful combination of Nukeproof pedals with legendary Fiveten Stealth rubber.
What trends do you think will be “key” to 2016?
2016 is an exciting year for us with the launch of the much anticipated new bikes. We are spoilt for choice now ‘shall I ride the Mega to work today or shall I ride the 29er, what to do at the weekend DH or Enduro’ decisions decisions.
It was great to have one of the first new Mega’s released early in Hardies Bikes. It sparked an enormous amount of debate, enthusiasm and general longing from our regular customers who popped in for a cuppa and to witness the new ‘beast’.
A few days later we were lucky enough to also receive the new ‘Pulse’ frame which was torn from the delivery driver’s hands and built within 26.5 minutes of being ripped from its packaging!!
The response to the new bikes have been phenomenal.
What does Nukeproof mean to Hardies and what are you stocking for 2016?
Nukeproof is such an important brand as it offers a large variation of components which help pimp up and adjust your bike to your own specification. Nukeproof offers a large variety of mountain bikes for all disciplines and offers great value which allows people to get into mountain biking easier as world class bikes are much more financially viable.
What are your staff riding at the moment?
It is absolutely imperative that every new model that comes into Hardies Bikes is well test ridden, we do it for no other reason other than ‘market research’ obviously. To not do this important testing is quite frankly irresponsible and a dis-service to our customers and nothing to do with Gordon’s obsession for shiny things, not at all, not one bit.
The 2015 season for Angus was all about Nukeproof which saw him third overall in both the Scottish Enduro Series and Scottish Downhill Series in junior categories. It was the reliability of both the Pulse and the Mega that saw him through the season even when the body wasn’t willing due to a back injury. For 2016 angus will be riding the new pulse and mega for downhill and enduro.
Away from racing, Angus’ chosen ride for skatepark and BMX track is his faithful Solum. Built as a personal project by Angus on a day when Gordon was out of the shop and not in control of his credit card the Solum has been a valuable addition to the Nukeproof fleet.
For travelling to Whistler, Blair required a reliable bike to withstand his aggressive riding style and the harsh terrain that the Canadian wilderness would throw at him and the Mega was the obvious choice. It saw him through a full summer season at Whistler and legend has it he completed nearly 200 full runs, although every time Gordons tells the story the number of runs varies as it is one of the best sales pitches he has! On Blair’s return the bike was pretty beat up but it did what it said on the tin, it withstood an enormous amount of punishment and served him well as a reliable traveling companion. For 2016 Blair will also be riding the new pulse and mega.
For Gordon, Anna and Cammy bike time is at a premium but a choice of Nukeproof and Lapierre shop bikes makes the wait well worth it.
What’s the staff choice for customers wanting to get on your good side?
The staff choice of brew is undoubtedly the trusty cup of tea, but not just any tea, oh no, it has to be Scottish blend, two sugars and milk whether that’s your tipple or not. The odd latte has been known to be purchased from the neighbouring shop but we keep this for special occasions such as a new bike build, an important visitor to the shop or the work bench being cleaned. Someone has tried to turn us to the dark side with a filter coffee machine that we choose not to talk about.
Then we move on to toasties, if you have been lucky enough to be around when the toasty machine has been on you will have sampled Angus’ culinary skills at work. The choice of cheese and ham or ham and cheese is a real treat for the palette.
4 Hamilton Place