Stows Cycles is an independent, family run business that first opened it’s doors in 1944.
A little bit of our history
Our first shop was located at 3 Cinema Parade Farnham Road in Slough and later opposite to 265-267 Farnham Road. This then expanded to 6 Chandos Street Slough and 8 Upton Lea Parade Wexham Road which you see in our featured picture below. This was a typical store of the day back in the 50s and 60s. Although the store sold many things, bikes were the bigger part of the shop along with prams, toys, electrical goods and services like recharging batteries. Eric Stow and family lived above the shop at Wexham Road and had a garden at the rear. He was a well respected member of the community and was known for his PA or public address system which was used at all kinds of events and rallies including the carnivals at Agars Plough Eton College and for the 1950s polling election. Mounted on his van we have a rare clip of the Eric H Stow van coming from the top of Farnham Road passing the then Ambassador Cinema and the George pub (now Lidl). Later it was used for commentating on the Milk Race or Tour of Britain as we know it.
The Wexham shop continued selling bikes along with Airfix and other wares and later the flat above became a well known fishing department with a successful match team. The shop continued on until the early 2000s.
Later on in the 70s Peter Stow took over and built the Business up with another shop on the Windsor road in Slough and then the 80s came. The invention of the BMX transformed the bike industry. Practically every kid had one with synonymous brands like Kuwahara, Redline and the Raleigh Burner range. Slough even held the BMX World Championships at Upton Court Park. Racing was big and we would turn up to meets with a caravan full of kit to sell.
We had now outgrown this store so moved across the road into the former Gilloud store. Here we saw the birth of Mountain Biking which was to become the next big thing with brands like Specialized, Giant and Marin leading the way forward in this new category of cycling. Peter was successful and a well respected business man and later became the President of the ACT (Association of Cycle Traders) and championed for the Cytech qualification giving cycle mechanics the recognition and respect they deserved for the skills they have. It is now one of the most recognised qualification within the cycle industry.
In the next 2 pictures you see this store from the side and from the front when the Milk Race in 1988/89 passed the front of the shop.
In 1992 we opened our Windsor store on the Dedworth road. The former Jones the Bike store was transformed to sell the leading brands of the day and continued to serve the community as your ‘local bike shop’ until 2014.
In 2000 we moved again from the Windsor road to our current location around the corner in High Street West which is where we are to this day. We have never been a company who stays still and are always looking for the latest trends and brands, pushing ourselves forward. Gone are the days when you went to the scrap yard to cobble together a bike. Nearly 80 years later we now have to plug many of the bikes in to the computer to perform software updates, diagnostics and wireless electronic gear tuning.
Today, we still value the traditional customer service we have always given and concentrate on providing quality advice and knowledge from experienced staff to help you get the right bike & accessories that suit you as an individual. And at the heart of the business we have an amazing workshop, keeping you riding whether for leisure, fitness or commuting.
Why supporting your local bike shop matters
Your local bike shop is an amazing source of help and information, not just somewhere to buy a bike. Here are five great reasons to pop along and speak to us. If you haven’t yet met your local bike shop, or LBS, it’s time to look us up, we offer far more than just bike sales.
1) Bike shop staff are immersed in the cycling community
Wondering where the best routes are locally? You can absolutely guarantee someone in your LBS will have an opinion and some sound advice for you. Most people who work in bike shops do so because they love cycling and are committed to the sport, they will have a great insight to what is happening in your local cycle scene from being a part of it themselves and listening to what other customers are getting up to. It’s hard to find this breadth of knowledge anywhere else and it can be invaluable in helping you develop your cycling experiences.
2) We can help you make better buying choices
Spend some time chatting about the type of riding you do and you’ll find that your LBS will be able to point you in the direction of the best kit for you in a way no website ever could. We know every product in our store inside and out and will most likely have used a lot of them in their own cycling. We want you to buy the right thing and enjoy using it.
3) We will help you learn how to look after your own bike
Mechanics will be happy to explain how the finer details of your bike works, how to maintain it better and how to identify when components need changing. Ultimately this can save you money on your repair bill in the future. If you can’t fix your own puncture or mend a chain someone in your LBS will be able to do this for you or explain how to. It helps if you catch them in a quiet moment and arrive with cake.
4) We won’t just sell you something, we will tell you how to use it
From explaining how to change gear on your fancy new road bike, or not to wear pants under your bib shorts, a bike shop will help you get the most from your new gear. Buying online means you miss out on the little bits of knowledge that bike shops have in abundance. We will also be able to fit the part for you, fix it if it goes wrong or mediate with the manufacturer if you have any problems.
5) Try before you buy
In a shop you can see what you are buying in the flesh and try it on for size, potentially saving a lot of time and money in returning things that aren’t right or worse putting up with something that doesn’t fit properly. Yes, there are some people who go into shops to try on kit fully intending to buy it online once they have had the benefit of a sales person’s free advice. Be honest in the shop, say if you have seen it cheaper elsewhere. We may not be able to knock the price down by much but there may be some other benefit we can offer to be competitive with online retailers, at least give us the chance to try.