Growing up in a deprived area of Coventry, Chris Coyle was introduced to cycling through an inner-City Council initiative. Prior to Ebikebrum, Chris ran a medical communications agency; and has a keen interest in health and well-being.
Key Fund gave Ebikebrum £83k grant and loan mix in February 2020 to fund equipment, stock, and working capital to expand the café’s activities.
Ebikebrum opened their Cycle Shop and Café in 2018, providing a range of services from information about healthy lifestyle choices to full cycling activity programmes, specialising in electric bikes.
Aiming to introduce cycling to as many community members as possible, they run introductory cycling sessions giving free e-bike hire to have an hour out in the park, for all ages! It’s really to try and introduce cycling to as many community members as possible. Work with the wider community includes partnering with West Midlands Police on youth diversion projects and violence reduction.
In the first year, Chris worked to finalise his overall business plan, which centred on projects that ran from the café. Only a month after securing the investment Key Fund, the first national lockdown came into force. Chris found himself in a Catch-22. The investment was to help buy stock to help create more sales, and add sustainability to the business plan, but bike stock dried up overnight as the market for bikes exploded. The lockdown significantly hindered them in fulfilling their business objectives.
The closure of the café also left their small collection of community e-bikes unused. Unable to bring people to meet at the café and run normal cycling projects, they decided to donate a small bank of community e-bikes to NHS staff so they could safely get to and from work. Securing Covid funding led to a partnership with an NHS Trust, and the number of donated bikes rose to 40.