The bike shop is one of the few survivors on the high street, offering a good, local service. A new web site should help to keep it that way.
At bikemagic.com, 'members' access a database of around 2,000 bike shops in the UK, to search for cycling equipment either nationally or within 25km of their home. Information is fresh, updated regularly by an editorial team that works remotely, and it also includes articles and reviews, links to other sites and route suggestions to make it 'sticky'. It will even auction kit for you.
The site is the brainwave of brothers Jeremy and Robin Tapp and Adam Laird, who have also launched a site for sailing enthusiasts, boatmagic.com.
Under the umbrella business, Magicalia, they plan to use the software developed for these sites as blueprints to create up to 20 'passion sport' sites, accessible throughout Europe before the end of the year.
'The idea is to make the site amazingly local and relevant in its content presentation. It's about creating a sense of community,' says Jeremy.
The technology and direct contact with users help keep the site up-to-the-minute and tailored to individual needs - 'a service we could never provide in any other medium', he adds. 'It's by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.'