Monday, 18 January 2016 18:33

51 years of servicing bikes

Christakis Matheou Christakis Matheou

Christakis Matheou has run his little bicycle repair shop in Limassol for almost 50 years.

He is a youthful 67-year-old, vigorous and amiable with his clients. His father, Nearchos Matheou, opened the small roadside space in 1964, and the son took over in 1968. Christaki’s shop has thus existed for 51 years.

“Back then, there used to be many bicycle shops and bicycle repair shops all over town as the bike was the main means of transport for people to get to work,” explains Matheou. “I have customers who are 60, 70… some 80 years old. I used to repair their bicycles and now they bring their grandchildren here to choose a bicycle.”

From repair to sales

The little shop only started selling bicycles about 20 years ago; before that it was only a repair shop. The location has always been the same – a small building of about 30 sq. meters with a tiny office and a repair room.

The latter is open to the front, facing the now-busy Makariou Avenue. The surrounding area has obviously changed a lot over the last five decades. There used to be only one building across the street from him, now there is a row of shops, together with a café and a bank.

Bicycles, too, have changed a lot – there is much more choice today. Back then there were only three brands – Raleigh, Rudge and BSA, explains the bike connoisseur.
According to him people have more money to spend nowadays and not as keen to repair their trusty metal steeds.

For example, if, today, the pedal of a small children’s bike is broken, the parents may just buy him or her a new bike. And while the shop has customers of all ages and nationalities, nowadays people mostly ride their bicycle for exercise, as a healthier alternative to cars or buses.

Nonetheless, “I still enjoy repairing bicycles,” smiles Matheou, “and there’s not much I cannot do.”

And his customers know this. They bring bicycles from all over the island to him for repair. A recent example was when a man from Paphos brought Matheou a bicycle made in 1915. “I had not seen one of these in my whole 50 years,” he explains, pulling out a photo of himself with the refurbished antique. It goes without saying that he also owns a bike which he rides every Sunday. In fact, he has a whole collection of 15 antique bikes himself.

Heyday ’80s

When asked about the highlights of his long career, the shop owner says the best time were the Eighties. “There were plenty of bicycles and plenty of work. Then came the cars and motorcycles.

Today, there is hardly room for cyclists on the roads and it is much more dangerous to ride a bike with all this traffic.”

Regardless, Matheou says he still loves his job and, even though his son comes to help in the afternoons, he intends to keep coming to the shop himself as long as he is able to work.

Matheou’s shop can be found at 145 Makariou III Avenue (near the intersection with Ayia Filaxeos Street) and he can be reached at 25-381838.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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