Cirencester motorcycle shop to close after 63 years

Peter Hammond Motorcycles shopfrontImage source, Peter Hammond Motorcycles

Image caption,

Peter Hammond Motorcycles has been a fixture of Cirencester since 1959

By Harriet Robinson

BBC News

A family-run motorcycle shop is to close after 63 years in business.

Peter Hammond Motorcycles was founded by rider Peter Hammond and his wife Betty in Cirencester in 1959 and passed on to his children Trish and Dave, who are now looking to retire.

The shop has become an important hub for bike enthusiasts and is one of the oldest in Gloucestershire.

Dave Hammond said: “We are very proud of the service delivered in that time and look back with great affection.”

“This decision has not been an easy one to make and is driven purely by genuine reasons and the fact that none of us are getting any younger,” he added.

They will be closing the doors for the final time on 31 March.

“I did not quite understand the seismic wave it seems to have caused in Cirencester,” said Trish Hammond.

“I suppose we are one of the oldest business in the town and I think it’s come as a shock to a lot of local people.”

Image source, Peter Hammond Motorcycles

Image caption,

Peter Hammond Motorcycles staff on the shop’s 25th anniversary

The siblings’ father, Peter, was a national and international trials rider during the 1950s.

He and his wife were living in Cheltenham when they bought an old bakery in Cirencester.

“They used all their money to buy the shop, and had no money left to stock it,” explained Ms Hammond.

“BSA Motorcycles loaned him one new bike to sell, with an agreement he could pay for it once he sold it.

“And that was how it started.”

‘The one constant’

Ms Hammond believes the secret to the company’s longevity has been customer service and continuity of staff.

For many people it’s been the one constant that we’ve always been here,” said Ms Hammond.

Among the current staff members, one has racked up 60 years in the shop, another has been there for 34 and another for 44 years.

Image source, Peter Hammond Motorcycles

Image caption,

The shop has been a big part of the lives of many local motorcyclists

She said the clientele had changed over the years, from younger people in the 1970s and 1980s to older people with a hobby for motorbikes.

“I’m getting a lot of customers that are in their early sixties and they come back, and we talk about when they bought their first bike at 16/17, and all the bikes they’ve had since.

“I say, ‘yeah, I remember you were a total tearaway’,” she joked.

‘Helpful and friendly’

One customer, Michael Goodall, called the closure announcement “a very sad day”.

“I’ve been dealing with Hammonds for more years than I care to remember – always more than helpful and friendly,” he said.

Gerry Evans said the company was “a big part” of his early days of motorcycling in the early 1970s.

“So I have fond memories of Pete Hammonds and it will be sad to see it close,” he added.

Image source, Dave Hammond

Image caption,

Dave Hammond featured in Michael Palin’s Sahara documentary when he competed in the Paris Dakar Bike Race in 2002

One of Ms Hammond’s favourite memories is when her ‘all-time hero”, motorcycle racer Barry Sheene, came to look at a bike.

“He came into the shop and came and sat on my desk and chatted to me,” she said.

“I was just gobsmacked at the time because he was a bit of a lad.”

The Hammonds will be hosting a “fond farewell” day on 25 March where they will display bikes through the ages and say goodbye to local people.

It is hoped later in the year the shop may be resurrected in a new venue with different owners.

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