It's not you, it's us.
It was a Thursday afternoon in late 2022, during our designated weekly 'catch-up'. Free of assessments, we instead have an uninterrupted workshop session after running through build sheets, bookings, enquires, loo-roll stock and so on. Nearing the end of this rare formality, we had one final point to address...
Cloud 9 was born in a railway arch in Camden in 2009, moving to its present location on Store Street in Bloomsbury in 2012. Adam (Owner) has been here from start, riding every wave and trough with his characteristic, albeit unnatural levels of exuberance. As with many businesses, Covid was a catalyst for change, and saw us move away from the more 'traditional' bike shop offering of bountiful retail and affiliated brands, to focus exclusively on bike fitting, servicing and made-to-order custom builds.
The before images
The shop as it is today
Although 2020 was a trying time for everyone (to say the very least), there were many positive moments amongst the uncertainty. It was the year the current team came together and the C9 upheaval (prompted by a fresh perspective from Alex) took hold.
Remaining independent and unaffiliated, we've enjoyed the freedom and ability for genuine openness that this has afforded us. We're also extremely proud of our free bike assessment system, which means folks receive a comprehensive, no-obligation quote before any financial commitment is required, reducing barriers and building trust. After 3 years of this system, we could never go back to golds and silvers...
In that time, we've also been fortunate to have the talented Foundation Bike Fit duo, Wei and Mat, running their own business downstairs, a resource we've greatly benefitted from.
There are others too who have inspired us, supported us and and helped us in the ultimate goal of serving our community as best we can. Without these role models, friends and trail blazers, we wouldn't be where we are are today, and we hope that you'll find pieces of everyone we admire in everything we do. Don't assume the pictures here are exhaustive of this list!
The most heartfelt thanks has to go to those who have voted with their feet. Trusting us to build them a custom bike with no test ride, booking in religiously for that free assessment, for their patience and understanding when ETA's proved unreliable and then going on to recommend us to their pals.
Maybe this is the moment for our message to any Shop owners reading this; trust your community, they are more adaptable and reliable than you might imagine, if in return you strive to offer an honest and professional service. So a special thanks to all of our regulars, you know who you are, thank you for your support.
... back to our Thursday meeting and the decision this post is based around. Our rental contract comes to an end in June 2023 and in short, we have chosen not to renew. After much discussion of our individuals wants and needs, ending on a high and creating space to consider fresh opportunities was the shared conclusion.
As any small business owner/employee will know, it's often more than just work, more than just a job. There have certainly been challenging moments, but the majority of the time we're pinching our selves, feeling fortunate to be here, working alongside our friends and earning a living doing something we love.
To celebrate this time, and the good folks we've met along the way as well as all the bikes to pass through our door, we will be Raffling this titanium Enigma 'Escape' frame with custom painted fork by the exceptionally talented Lucia of Velofique Designs. Enigma have also kindly said they will swap out the frame for the preferred size of the winner (if not the 54cm pictured here). 100% of proceeds will be going to the London's Air Ambulance, with a target of £10,000.
To ensure as we can raise as much money as possible for the LAA, any and all help promoting the competition will be much appreciated! The winner will be announced once all 2000 tickets are sold, or on June 3rd, which ever comes first (let it be the former!). You can also visit us in store to see this beautiful frame and fork in the flesh.
Though Store Street will potentially be without a Bike Shop, this presents a fantastic opportunity for any other shop looking for a new home/expansion. We have nothing but praise for Bedford Estates who manage the street, and with a healthy and varied cycling community around us, we've never been short of work.
So what's next for the team?
Adam will be concentrating his efforts on a new business GoPedal.uk, a B2B venture that focuses on the long-term leasing of bicycles to companies and individuals. Alex will be seeking roles combining mechanics with mentoring alongside brand management, keen to promote a similarly open and honest ethos as was fostered at C9. Luca will be looking to expand on his already extensive mechanical knowledge, seeking technical roles working with world-leading products.
In the meantime we continue on, with lots of exciting builds in the works and assessments in the calendar. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you want to make that custom build idea a reality, the time is plenty and stock is good.
We look forward to seeing you in store or at our final Jazz Bar gathering for some pizza, beer and reminiscing, details to follow : )
Adam, Alex and Luca
@Cloud9Cycles - Instagram