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Sheppey Cycles in Sheerness closes down after more than 40 years

By John Nurden

A bike shop which has served the community for more than 40 years had closed down.

The owner of Sheppey Cycles is moving on after 41 years of serving the community on the Isle of Sheppey.

Founder Ozy Ibrahim and his son Omer shut up shop in Sheerness High Street for the last time on Thursday, July 11.

Omer, 32, said: “It was a very sad day when we closed. People were still knocking on our door trying to get in.

Founder Ozy Ibrahim and his son Omer
Founder Ozy Ibrahim and his son Omer

“I’m going to miss it a lot but the industry has changed so much over the years that it was no longer viable to keep going.”

The cycle shop was opened by Ozy, 74, and his wife Susan in 1978 after they had run an antiques business.

Grandad Ozy said: “It was so different then. Sheerness could support five cycle shops.

“Dockers would buy their bikes here to ride to work and we had our own successful BMX team in the 1980s. Business was booming.”

It was not unusual for the shop to sell up to 500 bikes for Christmas. Last year it sold just seven.

Omer, who may be known to some as wrestler the Iron Turk, was born above the shop.

Sheppey Cycles' heyday in the 1980s when it had its own BMX team
Sheppey Cycles' heyday in the 1980s when it had its own BMX team

He said: “I have been in the shop since I was two weeks old. But now it is time to move on.

“Our bike repairs were always popular but you can’t make a living out of them.

“Many are now buying their cycles online.

“The cost of bikes has risen sharply.

“We used to sell £89 specials. Then they went up to £135 and now most bikes start at £189.

“I can’t buy bikes at the price the big firms sell them for.

In the 1980s the shop had its own BMX team
In the 1980s the shop had its own BMX team

“For a while we had people bringing in second-hand bikes and I would fix them up as good as new for £68.

“That kept me a float for two or three years but although cycling remains popular, running a shop isn’t feasible any more.

“I was hoping my daughter Daisy was going to be the third generation to take it on but I can’t see trade in Sheerness growing.”

Instead, he and his wife Charlotte and daughter Daisy are planning a new life in Colchester.

The shop is to be sold.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheerness

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