Talkingshop: Ceri Dipple & Twenty3C

VeloUK pays a visit to a young lady running a shop packed with bikes to make die hard cyclists drool – that would be Ceri Dipple

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Anyone looking to buy products these days has a number of choices including online shopping (internet) or by visiting a bike shop. For me, there is nothing quite like going into a shop, having a good walk around to see and feel what you’re looking to buy before you pay your money and walk out with the product.

Certainly if I have the choice when buying cameras, that’s what I prefer and will always do if possible while if all I need is a memory card say, then I’ll happily do that online. Online selling in the bike trade is a growing area and one business that has embraced that as well as having a shop where customers can browse the products on show, is Twenty3c.

The name, 23c comes from a tyre size and the shop bearing that name has been open since December 2008. It’s owned and run by 26 year old Ceri Dipple and located in a quaint arcade in Stony Stratford north of Milton Keynes.

Having lived in that area for ten years not that long ago, it was an easy shop to find. With a free car park a few minutes away and the arcade located on the main high street, I was pleased that I didn’t have any stress getting to the shop like you can have with some businesses located in the centre of a city or town.

Entrance to the arcade where Twenty3c is located in Stony Stratford.

Ceri has been riding bikes since she could walk and has been racing for quite a few years since arriving in Milton Keynes with her family. Ceri explained that after doing her A levels, she left school and worked in a shop for a bit as studying wasn’t really something she wanted to pursue.

“I didn’t want to go to University much to my parents dismay” Ceri tells me. “I’d had enough sitting in rooms and studying and I wanted to do something. So I carried on working in a shop and you get to a point in someone else’s small business where that is far as you can go, so having my own shop was the next step.”

So, being the get up and go type of girl, Ceri opened a cycle shop specializing in road bikes for road racing and time trialling. “A lot of our customers travel a long way so if we tried to do everything, we’d probably only have a few bikes in each category and there would be some disappointed customers. And, as we’re limited on space, it was about having the right product mix”.

Walking into the shop, it’s spacious and the shopper is faced with a mix of bikes and accessories on the wall all aimed at the road racer. Clothing too as well as Science in Sport energy products, tyres, saddles, overshoes, sun glasses, helmets, tubes and so much more.

There are four bike brands that Twenty3c have on sale; Scott, Focus, Orbea and Colnago. For the latter, the shop concentrates on a custom build.

Scott and Orbea says Ceri, have been in the shop for a while but the Focus brand is quite new to them. Ceri explained that one of the reasons for choosing these brands was the great back up there is with the suppliers of them which is something that customers will also benefit from because as Ceri knows, its giving the customer the best possible experience when buying something that is important.

Talking about the ecommerce website that came online in September 2011, Ceri explains that it’s had a big impact. “It’s a window to the shop really. We don’t sell a massive volume online but a lot of people use it to see what we have in the shop. One of the services the shop provides is for customers to buy online and then pick the product up from the shop so they get the best of both worlds.

The shop is open six days a week and Wednesday is half day when the shop is closed which can means that Ceri has time for some training! Asked whether she has seen a change in the cycling market during the three and a half years since the shop opened, Ceri replies, “Yes”. Cycling, she says, has for sure moved on and when out riding or travelling home, there are more people out riding, whether it’s on racing bikes or commuter ones.

Lots of accessories line the walls of the shop.

The shop though is only for roadies (not commuters) and because of that, Ceri is one of the headline sponsors for the Twenty3c-Orbea racing team. That she says has helped a lot in getting the shops name known and established in the cycling community. Ceri herself races in the team colours while there is also an associated club racing in Twenty3c colours and from the results I have seen here on VeloUK, they’re doing well too!

My thanks to Ceri for not only her support in helping a website like VeloUK serve the sport of cycling but also for giving me a tour of the shop. I may not race anymore but for sure, if I did, browsing a shop for the latest must have kit would be a treat that I would have to indulge in from time to time. The closer I live to it, the more often that would be no doubt!

Pay the shop a visit online here or take a trip to Stony Stratford and check it out for yourself…

Bikes for all budgets at Twenty3c

 Cafe stop at Twenty3c… what a splendid idea! 

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

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