Not many London bike shops can claim to have such prestige as Condor Cycles (or boast a history of involvement in racing that includes providing bikes for Sir Bradley Wiggins).
Anyone who has been to Condor is likely to have spent a while hanging around in the shop for longer than they usually would in other shops. This bike shop and bike builder on Gray’s Inn Road has an almost legendary status. It was founded in the early 20th century and has moved premises a few times, but it has always been famous for its quality bicycles.
Upstairs you will find anything that you will ever need for your cycling lifestyle. They stock a large range of quality cycling components (lots of which they make themselves) and clothing, and they always have enough staff working to quickly deal with any questions you may have.
Venture downstairs and you will be able to drool over Condor’s beautiful frames, tempting you to part with cold, hard cash in return for a dream machine. They make their own track bikes, road bikes and touring/audax bikes and they sell other brands of bike as well. The staff are great sources of knowledge and advice, with a real love of pairing up a customer with a bike that will last them for years and provide them with untold joy.
They also have a workshop to fix and service your bike. They pride themselves on the quality of their work. If you buy a Condor bike then they will give you a fitting service and will always look after you (and your bike) when you take it back for advice or adjustments. They are usually busy and it is advisable to book in your bike for any kind of workshop help, but they will often try to squeeze you in if at all possible.
At Condor the aim is to provide everything that bicycle ownership entails, from advice, bike fitting, components and clothing, to repairing a puncture on a Monday morning.
Our success over the last sixty years has been dependent on being aware of current and future technologies. Ongoing market research and close relationships with key component manufactures has enabled Condor to offer the latest products; tried, tested and assessed before appearing on the store’s shelves.
In 1948 the majority of race bikes were bespoke but in today’s market place, a bespoke bicycle is a rarity. At Condor, it is what we have done every day for sixty years. From competitive to fitness rider, commuter, new or returning cyclist, the right bike opens up a world on two wheels.
As more and more marques take their manufacturing to the Far East, we continue to produce our frames by hand in Italy. Frames are constructed from our own selection of tubing and manufactured to our own design requirements. We utilise the right materials to produce frames dedicated to each purpose.
The bikes take inspiration from our rich heritage. Condor bicycles have been ridden to World Championship gold medals, ridden in the Tour de France, and have been the choice of many figures in the public limelight, ranging from judges to rock stars. Few brands can claim to have their bikes ridden by cycling household names including Tom Simpson and Bradley Wiggins.
My Commute – Greg Needham
Greg Needham will be a familiar face to many London cyclists. He is senior sales technician at one of our best loved and most famous bike shops – Condor Cycles.
Condor Cycles was set up on Gray’s Inn Road in the 1948 by Monty Young. It can now be found at 144 Gray’s Inn Road. As well as being a wonderful bike shop, with everything you could hope to purchase being stocked by the store, Condor Cycles also makes its own beautiful bikes, which are now built in Italy.
Greg (naturally) rides his bike to work from Hertfordshire to WC1. He has been riding a bike for years. ‘I have always travelled by bike, since when I was a teenager to school. Then when I moved to University in London I just naturally carried on riding!’
MadeGood caught up with him to hear about his daily commute to Condor Cycles:
MadeGood: How long have you been a cyclist?
Greg Needham: I’ve been a cyclist for 28 years.
MG: What do you ride?
GN: It depends on my commute. I take my Condor Italia if I will be riding on the road or my Condor Terra X if I am going to be riding on the river/canal paths.
MG: Why do you ride to work?
GN: Simply I find it the best way to travel to and from work. It’s not the quickest way to get in, but it certainly is the most enjoyable and with out a doubt the best value for money.
MG: Where do you start and where do you finish?
GN: I set out from Wormely in Hertfordshire and the finish is Condor Cycles in central London.
MG: How long does it normally take you?
GN: If I am on the road then it will normally take around an hour. If I am on the canal then a bit longer; about and hour and a half.
MG: Can you describe your route? What areas do you pass through?
GN: OK, I’ll describe my river/canal commute, as it’s the one I prefer by miles. I am really fortunate, as in 30-odd kilometres I am only on the road for 2 of that. The route starts along the river Lea at Broxbourne. At this point the river is not really a river at all any more, but a canal. It was converted to being a canal to improve its use for barges from Hertford to London. It then runs through the Lea Valley to old ford lock near the Olympic Park. I then jump onto the Regents canal through to Islington, and finally have a short road section to ride to Gray’s Inn Road.
MG: What are the best sections of the commute and why?
GN: The first section from Broxbourne through to Tottenham Hale is great. It’s very quiet and unspoilt, and I usually never have to share this section with other people. Normally I only have the swans and other water birds for companionship.
MG: What are the worst sections of the commute?
GN: That’s easy… the final 2km on the road.
MG: Do you see any interesting sights/people on the ride?
GN: I very rarely see many people, although some Saturdays are interesting with fishing competitions going on. It makes great bunny hop training for cyclocross racing. A few weeks back in the snow was fun as the canal froze in places and watching ducks ice skate is pretty amusing!
MG: How long would it take by public transport?
GN: Door to door it takes me 1 hour 10 minutes if I walk from home to Broxbourne station.
MG: How much money do you save by cycling rather than taking public transport?
GN: I don’t really do it for that reason, more for the freedom it gives. But I suppose if I was to travel by train daily it would be in the region of £3000.00 a year, so I suppose I still save even with one new bike a year.
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