50 Cycles: what next for the retailer and the distributor?

Electric bike specialist 50 Cycles Ltd, having filed for a CVA in January of this year, has told CI.N that the 16-year old retail business is, at present, closed.

Alleging difficulties with a bike supplier with which the firm formerly held a distribution agreement and costs from an associated failure of motors used, Scott Snaith told CI.N that the chain of shops has had to be wound up.

The headquarters of a new distribution-based business, which is managing a newly-formed distribution relationship with Spain’s BH Bikes, remains active, though operates as a separate company.

Set up on September 6th, this is now registered as 50 Cycles Distribution Ltd. The new business is registered in the same unit and business park as the former operation, with the exception of a change from Unit 1A to 1E.

“The CVA still left us serious in debt,” Snaith told CI.N, “and despite every effort to save the business in its current state, it has proved too big a hill to climb. Sadly, had we not encountered this motor failure situation, I think 50cycles Limited could have grown to become a £10 million business.”

The 50Cycles.com retail website remains live, for the time being. Recent blog posts warm up for the incoming distribution relationship with BH Bikes (bikes due this month), which will be sold by the new distribution business for MY20. However, both telephone lines for the firm answerphone the message “regretfully, 50 Cycles has closed for business.”

Snaith tells CI.N that he has taken on the CEO role of the Toba brand, which after some time on hold following the freeze of bank accounts will resume as soon as next month.

At the time when this project was under development, Snaith made the national press by calling for banks to “get to grips with cryptocurrency use as payment”. The banks ultimately unfroze the accounts, said Snaith, in August of 2018. This was a matter was taken up with the Financial Ombudsman whereby Scott Snaith won the decision for Barclays who were forced to rectify the damage that they had caused.

Snaith adds that as technology has moved on and Bitcoin is now accepted worldwide with the banks taking a less severe approach to those that accept digital currencies as part of their business offering.

Formerly, customers of Toba were able to generate 50 Cycles’ own ‘LoyalCoin’ at a rate of around £20 worth to each 1,000 miles ridden, something which Snaith dubbed a revolutionary approach to getting people cycling. Snaith remained tight-lipped on how this may proceed, but expected to make an announcement early in November.

Though CyclingIndustry.News has received comment to the contrary, Snaith says that all former customers have been reimbursed.

A customer who did not wish to be named told CI.N that they were “£1,400 down” on an electric bike part exchange purchase and that calls and emails to the company had fallen flat.

50 Cycles is said to have supplied over 30,000 electric bikes to the UK market over two decades.