If I was going to design a bike shop, which I'm not but bear with the hypothesis, I'd like to think that I'd come up with something as effortlessly stylish as 7hundred. It is a bright, open and uncluttered shop with the feel of a classy boutique.
Dave Butcher, a long-term buddy of Sam, has just opened his new shop in Peascod Street, Windsor. He already owns DNA Cycles in Maidenhead and his new project moves away from traditional set-ups. He's been really supportive of Look Mum No Hands and we wanted to visit him in the early days of 7hundred's opening. We rode out on Sunday morning and arrived to be greeted by a Look Mum cap in the window.
The high-end bikes are on display at the rear of the building but rather comfortingly, the three on show at the front, and therefore the first you cast your eye on, are all women's specific models. They don't come with the same sort of awesome pricetags that the Pinarellos and Colnagos do, so newcomers to cycling aren't instantly intimidated and out-priced. The shelving and storage all keep the floor area clear but all the usual elements of a bike shop: helmets, pumps, saddlebags, tyres, innertubes etc are there and beautifully showcased. I felt like I could have been on a slightly self-indulgent shopping trip rather than in a normal bike store. Unwittingly, Dave has created the first outwardly female-friendly bike shop I think I've visited.
I haven't taken photographs of the Colnago display wall, nor the fabulous, mouth-watering Pinarellos (I'm ever a sucker for Italian brands), because there are much better pictures on the shop's Facebook site. As usual, my photography is pretty poor and the result of a Blackberry Smartphone. I did take some of the first floor clothing area:
Dave's own Dogma has pride of place but once again the floor space isn't crowded. Assos and Castelli fill the rails, while Mavic shoes are on display. This is a well-stocked store with the most desirable brands on show. There are a couple of comfortable leather chairs at one end for taking in the cycle related literature on offer (Rouleur - brilliant)! while you have a coffee and if lucky, a piece of Dave's mum's rocky road.
The problem with having the better part of 70km to cycle home, is that you don't have the means to take home the things that you'd like. I plan to return, on the train, and shall try not to break my bank account. In the meantime, I wish 7hundred every success!