Meet the owners
Biking enthusiast Glen Todd left his career in IT to takeover Barton Bicycles on King Street – and now, having discovered a passion for bike restoration – he hasn’t looked back since
When did you take the reins of Barton Bicycles?
About five years ago and my Dad owned the business prior to that. He was ready to retire – and I was at a point in my life where I wanted a complete change so I thought I’d give it a go! My background is in IT, so it was a total change of career. The premises have been a bike shop for many years, previously as King Street Cycles and we have customers who have been coming to the same shop for over 20 years.
How long have you been interested in cycling?
Ever since I was a kid when I had my first BMX! I’ve always liked to take bikes apart and put them back together again. I’m that way inclined I think, because again with IT, I was intrigued to discover how computers worked, so would strip them down and rebuild them.
What brands do you stock?
We do everything from traditional English and drop handlebar bikes to more modern hybrids, mountain bikes and electric bikes; we try to offer as much variety as we can. We like dealing with companies that stock Dawes Cycles and Claud Butler – and we’ve also taken on some of the older brands like Elswick, which are the make of a lot of the vintage bikes you see around Cambridge.
We are excited to be working with a brand of electric bikes called Axon Rides. They are folding bikes, compact and quite light, with a unique design. We are the only dealer in Cambridge to stock them.
Alongside selling bikes, what services do you offer?
We are a traditional Cambridge bike shop, so generally we can deal with most issues. We carry out general repairs, normal servicing and supply accessories such as panniers and lights. I’d say 99 per cent of the time we can offer same day repairs. We also do a lot of second hand and refurbished bikes and I particularly enjoy the restoration of old bikes.
Can you tell us about some of the bikes you’ve restored?
We had one bike that was a 1920s Raleigh, which a man brought in; it had been his grandfather’s bike so had a lot of sentimental value. He explained that during the war, because metals were rare, they had to get a licence to buy a bicycle and they still had the original licence for this one. So, we got the rust blasted away, powder coated it, then repainted it. The grandson was so pleased with the finished result. I find the restorations very rewarding. Another customer came to collect a bike we had restored and was so taken aback she said ‘wow, you’re like The Repair Shop on TV’, which was nice to hear!
What are the benefits of a preloved bike?
Cambridge is unique – there are so many old bikes around, which are often overlooked; maybe a student just wants
a rusty old bike to get around. But when they’re restored, blasted, repainted and put back together, some of them look better than the bikes that are around today- they’re as good as new and usually have another 50 years’ life in them.
What type of customers do you attract?
We get a lot of students because of Cambridge being a university town; they all want the initial low-cost bike but you have to be there to help them through their years here as they don’t tend to look after them very well! Then you’ve got commuters who work in Cambridge, and enthusiasts, who might want a mountain or road bike for weekend trips.
We’ve got a lot of regular customers who come back to us throughout the year, who are happy and appreciative, so will send letters and cards, which is lovely. That, to me, means I am doing something right!
What do you love about your job now?
It’s such a positive job! I can only compare it to IT as that’s what I did for pretty much all my career beforehand. IT is about trying to help people and get things working but it can be quite negative because people get so frustrated, but in the world of cycling, people are generally so happy and appreciative of what you’re doing, so it’s such a nice experience – positive all day long!
Barton Bicycles is at 82 King Street, Cambridge. Find out more at bartonbicycles.co.uk
Love Cambridge are working with Velvet Magazine to showcase some of Cambridge’s best independent businesses, read their latest issue for more local interviews like this one.
Be the first to know about Love Cambridge
Cambridge – Flying the Purple Flag
The Purple Flag working group work on a number of initiatives across the nighttime economy, including the following which are designed to keep us all safe on a night out: Taxi Marshals – Providing professionally trained licensed Taxi Marshals on key dates throughout the year helps to ensure people get home swiftly and safely after… View Article
Be Our Guest
University Arms University Arms is a landmark hotel located in the historic heart of Cambridge, overlooking Parker’s Piece. Since opening in 1834, the University Arms hotel has played an important role in the history of the city. In 1848, in the shadows of the hotel the defining rules of football were invented by locals playing… View Article
Street Vendors Whether you arrive by bus, train, car, or bicycle there’s a strong chance you will see a street food vendor within the first few minutes of your arrival. There is so much choice from this fun, affordable food option. There are Tacos, falafel, burgers, hotdogs, crepes, ice cream, traditional Indian food and much… View Article
Bags of Style…
Cambridge is spoilt for choice when it comes to unique gifts which can be found in one of the many independent boutiques that you will find spread throughout the city. Head to the historic centre to find those special gifts for your loved ones. Stroll down Rose Crescent and Trinity Street, Magdalene Street, Bridge Street… View Article
48 Hours in Cambridge
Friday Afternoon Upon arrival, why not stop at one of the local cafes and treat yourself to a cuppa (or something stronger!) while you wait for your hotel to be ready. If you arrive by train, you can jump in a cab or hop on a bus if you don’t fancy the 10-minute stroll into… View Article
FIRST STOP, SHOPPING! From independent boutiques to big-name brands, you’ll find something for everyone here in Cambridge. Not only are you spoilt for choice with the Grafton, Lion Yard and Grand Arcade, but this city is also home to hundreds of high street stores. And for those with temporary or permanent mobility issues, Shop Mobility is a free-of-charge service that… View Article
Family friendly activities for £10 or less in Cambridge this summer
The Cambridge Book Bench Trail Explore every nook and cranny of our wonderful city as you follow the trail to discover 12 completely unique book benches across Cambridge from the historic core to shopping centres and parks. This summer Cambridge BID in partnership with Wild in Art has installed 12 individually designed Book Benches across… View Article
Dog Friendly Cambridge
Park and Ride Accessing the city with your pooch has never been easier with the network of Park & Ride buses allowing you to travel with your dog for free (however, they will need to sit on the floor). Buses run from five sites across the city, and tickets cost as little as £3 return… View Article
Top five things to see and do in Cambridge this summer
This summer, the historic city of Cambridge invites holidaymakers to venture along its quaint streets to discover brand new boutique accommodations, exciting attractions and unrivalled al fresco dining throughout the charming city centreand its lush green spaces beyond.