STARTING a new business in the middle of a pandemic is difficult, but with an increasing demand for bikes and cycling equipment since the nation went into lockdown last year, it was the perfect time for one Peeblesshire entrepreneur.

Since 2017, Gordo Hodge has been providing an uplifting experience for keen cyclists, through a bespoke shuttle service to downhill mountain bike routes in the Tweed Valley.

Gordo wanted to build on the sell-out success of Adrenalin Uplift, which currently brings more than 10,000 riders to the valley.

This month he has embarked on a new biking venture by opening the doors to ‘The Bike Shop’ in Innerleithen.

He told the Peeblesshire News: “I decided to open ‘The Bike Shop’ due to one of the other bike shops closing in Innerleithen, and as an area we need to deliver the best possible service to visitors and locals. 

“When I heard that the old allotment/post office building was coming up, I thought it was the ideal location and that we could make it look nice. 

“The name is really an ‘it does what it says on the tin’ idea. We already have ‘The Uplift Cabin’ so thought ‘The Bike Shop’ was fitting.”

Gordo says he seized the opportunity to create more employment for the team and is delighted with the shop’s makeover.

“We have had to be clever with space, so have a system in place where we have one of each product on display and stock other sizes and bikes which we can see quickly on an iPad, so if someone can’t see it, we still probably have it.

“Saying that, starting a bike shop during the pandemic has proven a fun challenge with obtaining stock, but the team have done really well getting the shop refurbished, looking awesome, and stocked.”

Peeblesshire News: Gordo Hodge. Photo: Helen BarringtonGordo Hodge. Photo: Helen Barrington

The shop will focus on sales of bikes, clothing and accessories, but the wheels are in motion for biking trips and a glass of bubbly.

“We have demo bikes and a hire fleet of specialised mountain bike, e-MTB and e-gravel bikes. More stock of bikes from other brands is on its way, as are kids’ bikes,” said Gordo.

“It will also promote new exciting services from Adrenalin Uplift with guided rides for all types of riders, with things like Adventure e-bike, both mountain and gravel rides, where visitors and locals alike can rent the e-bike or use their own, and we will drop off with the buses and trailers down the valley. 

“They will then be guided back into location by our ‘Ride with a Local Team’. This can be on half-day and full-day with picnics... and maybe even a little prosecco!”

Launching a new business during this crippling time for the economy hasn’t worried Gordo too much, as the bike market has shot up since lockdown last year.

“The Tweed Valley has seen an increase over the past few years, and if that last unlock is anything to go by, the area is going to be super busy with staycations for riding bikes and other outdoor activities,” said Gordo.

“After the last lockdown, I would say we have seen around a 36 per cent increase of new riders to the area. 

“Some brand new to riding and some were rejuvenated from past years.”

Speaking about the official opening of ‘The Bike Shop’, Gordo added: “I am super stoked how it has finished, and it was great to see support from local people when we opened at the weekend [weekend of March 20].

"I’m super excited to see what the team will do when we come out of lockdown.”