Elmy Cycles marks 100 years at heart of Ipswich community

Black and white photo of frontage of Elmy Cycles

Frontage of Elmy Cycles - Credit: Elmy Cycles

A cycle shop established in Ipswich when cars were "a rare sight" is about to celebrate its 100th birthday. 

Elmy Cycles reaches its centenary on January 30, having been founded by brothers Arthur and Harry Elmy in 1922.

The business has come a long way since the Elmy brothers started it in the converted front room of a terraced house in Back Hamlet, moving to its current premises in St Helen's Street in 1927.

In-store celebrations will take place on Friday and Saturday, January 28 and 29, with customers past and present invited to join the team for some "special treats".

A dedicated centenary website will also be launched to tell the story of the business and all the customers that have been through its doors.

Steve Grimwood of Elmy Cycles Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Steve Grimwood of Elmy Cycles Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Steve Grimwood, who began working at Elmy Cycles 30 years ago, now runs the shop.

He said: "Over the years the shop has seen things come and go with changing fashions.

Most Read

"It was established in the time of King George V, at a time when cars were a rare sight and bicycles were the primary means of transport and travel."

Elmy's has catered for Olympic athletes, round-the-world cyclists, composer Benjamin Britten and a whole host of MPs and dignitaries - but the local families who have been visiting the shop for generations are the main reason for its enduring success.

Customers old and new are being invited to contribute to the website with their stories ahead of a celebration event in June.

Mr Grimwood said: "Through the troubled times of the Second World War, past the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and the moon landing, the creation of personal computers and the Internet, the shop has adapted, changed and thrived.

Black and white photo of Elmy Cycles

Elmy Cycles was launched in Ipswich in 1922 - Credit: Elmy Cycles

"Even through the Covid pandemic Elmy Cycles worked hard providing free bike servicing for local key workers and to keep people moving, an effort recognised with awards from BBC Radio Suffolk and Lloyds Bank.

"One of the things that has kept Elmy Cycles going for so long is that close commitment to its local community, being involved in local matters and the things that matter to its customers.

"Being an advocate for all things cycling, organising events, sponsoring special occasions and supporting worthy causes have all ensured there are very few people that do not have a connection to the shop or a story to tell.

"Marking its centenary puts Elmy into an incredibly special category of shop, not just locally but nationally too. Very few shops or businesses will ever reach this milestone."

Elmy Cycles will also be partnering with two charity organisations for its centenary celebrations.

All its archive material will be displayed at the Ipswich Transport Museum for everyone to view.

Elmy cycles leaflet from the 1920s

Elmy cycles leaflet - Credit: Elmy Cycles

The second partnership is with the Genesis Green Bike Project, a charity that works with people with learning and physical disabilities to repair and sell used bicycles.