A Dalston original unchains its bike ambitions

Owen Barclay in new Barclays4Bike salesroom @ 466 Kingsland Rd Lon E8 210116 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Hackney bike-shop pioneer: Owen Barclay in his new Barclays4Bike salesroom

ONE OF HACKNEY’S oldest bike shops, Barclays, just south of the junction, is expanding into a showroom further down Kingsland Road.

Owner Owen Barclay said: “I am taking the business into the 21st century without losing the ‘Roll your sleeves up’ charm of my main premises.”

The shop began as Better Bikes in Bradbury Street, Dalston N16 8JN, in 1992, becoming Barclays 4 Bikes after the move to 515 Kingsland Road a few years later.

Barclay worked as a touring guitarist and saxophonist for 15 years before deciding to change direction.

As a child he had been known for mending friends’ bikes in his family back garden. So he turned his thoughts to building his aptitude into a business.

Owen Barclay in Barclays4Bike workroom @ 466 Kingsland Rd Lon E8 210116 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Barclay at 515 Kingsland Road

B4B sells new and secondhand bicycles and will mend not just bicycles but wheelchairs, pushchairs and skateboards — anything with wheels and no engine.

Finding itself in a rapidly changing district, B4B describes itself as “urban, yet old-fashioned”. 

Some would add that there is something delightfully eccentric about the shop’s small team of mechanics and its crowded interior.

The eccentricity continues at No 466: new Bobbins Bikes and other new and secondhand and new bicycles will be on sale alongside, uhm, guitars. And a friend, Jane Glitre, has grabbed a corner for a charity section.

David Altheer 210116

* Barclays 4 Bikes, 515 Kingsland Road Dalston E8 4AR (0207 241 3131), Mon-Sat 10am- 7pm, Sun noon-5. Until 466 Kingsland Road fully operational, phone to visit showroom

* Backstory: London Fields road-closure rowHackney council takes on drivers; Hackney U-turns; Cyclists demand segregated routesCyclists ride borough to the top; Driver arrestedCyclist dies at JunctionWhy women get off the bike in HackneyNew Haggerston charrie; Hip-hipster-hooray for Bradbury Street

Owen Barclay with a second custom-made frame in Barclays4Bike salesroom @ 466 Kingsland Rd Lon E8 210116 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Framed: Barclay shows a custom-made frame in the B4B salesroom

* All pictures on this page © David. Altheer [at] gmail.com. All for sale for reproduction. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.

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4 thoughts on “A Dalston original unchains its bike ambitions

  1. When my twin buggy got a puncture with the twins in it I took it to Owen to have a new inner tube fitted. It took him a couple of minutes to remove the wheel and renew the inner tube. Then, without being asked, he checked the other tyres on the buggy and said he did this to make sure the buggy was safe for my two grandsons to travel in…

    One of a kind: what a lovely man.

  2. We have been long-time customers of Barclays 4 Bikes. The service is great and we have felt the warm and friendly atmosphere at the bike shop.

    Maria and Aural

  3. I give many thanks to Owen and his team. I have basically grown up in this shop from an early age, when my mum used to go there, and to this day Owen saves me and my bike’s life.

    All the best with B4B’s 24th anniversary this year, Owen.

  4. I have been a friend of Barclays for a very long time, even from school days back at Highbury Grove in Islington. Owen has always been someone who is independent and likes to work with his hands. Fixing things was a very natural progression for him so opening up his own shop was a must.

    I’m so pleased that this article has been written about my mate as it really does capture the spirit of how the shop works and the care and attention Barks puts into helping the community around him.

    Owen is truly one of the last people’s persons. Me and Kat would like to wish Barclays 4 Bikes the very best for the future.

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