It’s our 30th anniversary!

Celebrating three decades of getting people on bikes

Red Kite Cycles is celebrating a significant birthday this year. The big 3-O! That’s three decades of being a much-loved, local, independent bike shop; getting people cycling and keeping their bikes fixed and running well. 

We thought we’d take a moment to look back over the years and a have a leaf through the family album. 

1993 – Red Kite Cycles comes into being!

Founder Mike Adams takes over the small leisure sports shop Shirley Cycle Centre and rebrands it as Red Kite Cycles. The premises is 121 Stratford Road on poppy island, where Helping Hands is today.  

The name Red Kite was chosen after the ‘flamme rouge’ of the Tour de France. It’s the red triangular ‘1km to go’ marker before the end of every race stage. With that name and its logo shape, the brand is born!

In its first year of business, Red Kite Cycles doubles its trade. Mike takes on new brands, Marin and Cannondale. Soon the shop is becoming too small. . .

1995 – Becoming the community bike shop of Solihull

Mike moves Red Kite Cycles to 185 Marshall Lake Road where the Co-op is today.

It takes on new road bike and mountain bike brands including Trek and runs a busy workshop. New staff and mechanics are taken on. 

Mike takes forward his vision for Red Kite Cycles to be the community bike shop of the area. Red Kite Cycles starts a racing team, and together with his wife Sarah, they set up the women’s cycling group Red Kite Belles encouraging women to get into cycling in a supportive environment.

2008Time to move on . . . .

Mike is faced with a decision – for Red Kite Cycles to stay a small and specialist bike shop or to expand into a bigger unit with space for a wider range of bikes. 

However, while out on a club ride, Mike has a heart attack. He undergoes triple bypass surgery and when he’s recovered he decides to grow the business with a view to selling it on to a new owner.

Sarah spots Concept House on Union Road, is up for let. It was previously a small office based business that was being redeveloped for retail. Mike applies for planning permission for retail on both floors and leases the building. 

2009 – Up the road and up another level

So Red Kite Cycles moves to Union Road taking over two floors which are fitted out as shop and workshop.  

Red Kite is now a Trek, Specialized, Marin Willier, Pinarello and Merckx dealer amongst others and stocks a wide range of bikes and accessories, components and clothing.

2011 – A change of hands

Mike decides it’s the right time to sell the shop to someone who can take it forward on its journey. Enter long-time customer and cycling nut, Adrian Passmore, whose childhood dream was to own a bike shop. Adrian and Mike shake hands on a deal, and by August Adrian is the new owner of Red Kite Cycles.

Adrian refreshes the brand line up to include British greats Condor and Enigma, with a few others disappearing. Brompton folding bikes come in too.

2014 – Supporting cycling, cyclists and charity

Red Kite Cycles sponsors a feature length documentary celebrating the history of cycling featuring interviews with cycling legends: Sir Dave Brailsford, Gary Fisher, Chris Boardman, Ned Boulting, Sir Chris Hoy, Tracy Moseley and Mike Burrows.

Solihull resident and elite cyclist, Dannielle Khan, UCI Junior World Champion sprinter, becomes Red Kite Cycles’ supported rider. Danni and her family feature in the Bicycle documentary.

Red Kite Cycles supports the Tommy Godwin Challenge sportive – set up by Sarah and Mike Adams and friends, raising money for Marie Curie West Midlands Hospice in Solihull. Tommy Godwin was a local track cyclist and Olympic medallist. Today the Tommy Godwin rides are a great feature of the local cycling calendar.

2016   – An exclusive new brand arrives

Adrian founds Bullfinch Cycles, a bike manufacturing business producing custom made steel bikes hand built at a small factory in Solihull, from world famous Reynolds tubing. Bullfinch Cycles are sold exclusively at Red Kite Cycles. People love them!

2020 – Pandemic strikes

The global shock of Covid puts cycling centre stage. Red Kite Cycles responds, like other essential businesses, by staying open and keeping bikes moving.

Empty roads and limited permission to venture outdoors encourages many people back onto their bikes and brings new people to the past-time. Red Kite prioritises NHS workers ensuring they can get to work safely by servicing their bikes for free and providing free lights, helmets and hi-viz jackets with the help from their suppliers.

2023 – Red Kite Cycles turns 30!

Red Kite Cycles is going strong after thirty years being the area’s best loved, independent, local bike shop. The permanent staff team now numbers eight and the shop has over 5,000 regular customers and a 4.8 customer rating on Google.

The team celebrate the shop’s birthday with Mike and Sarah Adams. Together we look back at the history of Red Kite’s achievements over the years.

Adrian says: “It’s been an honour and a privilege steering Red Kite Cycles along on its journey and keeping true to the spirit that Mike started it with. I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to our fantastic customers for all their support over the years. Here’s to keeping cycling, to local independent businesses and to the next 30 years!”

What comes next . . . ?

Our aim is for Red Kite Cycles to remain a local favourite and a fixture on the Shirley retail landscape. Will that be easy? No, but we are going to try! Although we live in a changing world where online is dominating bricks and mortar, and in the face of uncertain economic times, we remain firm optimists!

We are staffed by cyclists with a true love of what we do and a real commitment to looking after other cyclists and people joining in the sport. To get this far in our journey we have relied on an amazing and diverse customer base: today we hope that you will stick with us, support your local cycle shop, and keep on coming in to tell us your stories of great rides and cycling adventures.