Interview with PreOwnedCycles.co.uk owner Jeremy Hammersley
We all must surely remember those days at school where we stood in the playground looking for THAT foil sticker to complete our album. Bartering, negotiating and sometimes pleading with fellow classmates and school chums to finish of our sacred sticker book collection.
Well fast forward a few years and Jeremy Hammersley has taken that time honoured swap tradition to the web and applied it to bicycles. He’s not stopped there though. Setting up Preownedcycles, he’s created a dedicated website where users can sell or swap their used or new bicycles but aside from creating this Ebay for bikes, Jeremy has gone one step further by considering the community he is targeting. The community he’s an avid fan of: the cycling community. Alongside the selling and trading is a forum and blog to truly give Preownedcycles a friendly and welcoming vibe. It’s also ridiculously good value.
Discerning Cyclist had a chance to ask him a few questions about his new venture and get his thoughts not only on his ideas behind Preownedcycles but his plans and of course his style on the bike.
- Hi Jeremy, Can you briefly tell us about Preownedcycles and how you came up with the idea?Preowned Cycles is a new website for people who want to buy or sell quality second hand bikes. It works on a classifieds basis, so once you’ve registered on the site you can up load your advert with up to 8 photos. You get a 60 day listing which will only cost you £1.00. We don’t charge any aftersales commission either so it really is a bargain. We also promote your adverts through social networking sites to reach as many people as possible. Our aim was to create a quality and simple to use website that was fluid enough for everyone to use without having to think too much about to use it. In addition to the classifieds there is a forum where people can talk to each other and post stories about their cycling experiences, get advice or maybe even meet up to ride together. There is an events board too where you can tell the world about a cycling event that you are organising or taking part in. In time we hope to become a well-known and trusted quality website.
- Are you yourself an avid cyclist or is just a hobby. What is your involvement with cycling and how long has it been a part of your life?For me cycling has always been a big part of my life. My Dad got me interested in it as a child and I was always out and about looking for bike parts so I could build myself track bikes. As I got older I lost interest a bit until I was introduced to mountain biking. I did this for a while before switching to road riding, which I absolutely love. I go down to the South of France where my Dad lives; to ride the fantastic roads and tackle the monster climbs whenever I can. It’s like heaven on earth to me.
- What’s your cycle of choice? Road, BMX or Mountain? Or Other?
This is an easy one for me. I have a Trek Madone (very nice – DC) in Discovery Channel colours. I’ve upgraded a few bits but basically it’s as I bought it. It feels like part of me when I ride it, completely natural. I also have a Trek Hybrid which I use for winter riding and a homemade fixie for popping down to the shops.
- Tell me about what you wear when you go on a ride? Do you go for function over style? Vice versa? or a blend?If I’m on my road bike I will wear the Lycra uniform of my website which I designed and had printed up. On the hybrid it’s a little less regimented and as it’s mostly used in the winter its functional waterproof gear that can breathe. On the fixie, anything I can wear in a local coffee shop without looking too weird.
- Is good looking cycling style important to you when you ride?Yes I think it is for me. I like to have a certain pride in my appearance when I ride. Everything must be perfect on the road bike. This is less important with the other bikes.
- Do you have a specific brand or range of clothing you go to for your cycling attire? (Gore, Altura, Rapha etc)I don’t go for a specific brand at the moment. I used to only wear Nike jerseys and bib shorts on the road bike. I tried others but for me the quality just wasn’t that good. I do like my Altura night vision jacket. I feel completely cocooned from bad weather when I’m wearing it, usually with a pair of basic Ron Hill leggings.
- How do you see the cycle clothing industry at the moment?There seems to be an awful lot of choice out there. I go for what I like at the time and what suits me when I try it on. I do find it a bit mind boggling as there is so much to choose from.
- Do you think the clothing section on Preownedcycles will become a large part of business done on your site?At the moment we are concentrating on the bikes, but I do have the Preowned cycle jerseys and bib shorts which I really like. I am thinking of maybe selling some through the website but at the moment I am just testing the stuff out to see how it wears and washes.
- Is that something your interested in? Or is it mainly the bikes?I will see how things pan out with the continuing testing and also how funds allow.
- What are the future plans for your site? Or is that a closely guarded secret for now?For the future I hope we can continue to grow the site into a well-recognised and trusted place to buy or sell quality bikes. This will take time and we are trying to do it organically.
- How long did it take to get the site up & running. Do you have to police it at all or does it run itself pretty much?The site was pretty much 7 months in the planning talking to various web designers and working out what we thought would make a really great website. We have had a few problems along the way but we have tackled them all. We do have to constantly look at the site to make sure it runs smoothly. I don’t think it’s something you can just leave to run itself as problems do occur and you need someone who can attend to things as they happen. Also we do tweak the site so that it becomes more fluid for the user but this happens over time.
- The swap idea is a very interesting idea and a really good way to build a community at the site (helped none the least by the forum) Is that something you were keen on. Building a community as well as a business?We really liked the idea of a cycling hub, no pun intended, so that people could come and find not only items for sale but also people who may offer advice when needed or just to be part of the cycling community.
- It’s a very exciting time for cycling especially British cycling. How much are you enjoying the recent interest and the success Britain is having in the sport (Tour de France, Tour of Britain, Olympics)?I think this is a golden time for cycling in this country. The sport as a whole is become a main stream one, which is great at every level. With the success of our Olympic cyclists, not to mention the likes of Brad Wiggins it seems to be inspiring everyone to get their bikes out. Let’s hope that this makes the country become generally more cycle friendly like our continental cousins.
Preownedcycles is growing each day and there’s now a lot of choice there to have a look at. Visit it here and thanks to Jeremy for taking the time to speak to DC.