A FIRE which gutted a city bike shop has caused “tens of thousands of pounds” worth of damage.
The Bike Station, on Causewayside in Newington, has been forced to close until early next year after the blaze tore through the building in the early hours of Monday.
Chairman Chris Horne estimated there was around 50 salvaged bikes on the premises at the time, many of which are heavily smoke-damaged or beyond repair.
The blaze came as the charity was preparing to celebrate its 15th anniversary after a bumper year.
Mr Horne added: “We had a board meeting last week and we were just saying that we were having a great year.
“Our busiest month is usually September and we had a good September.
“We were looking forward to this coming Saturday and being able to celebrate with staff, volunteers and other supporters.
“It was for all those people who have been involved in this success over the last 15 years from our humble beginnings in an archway at Waverley to where we are now.”
The organisation – which has around 25 staff and roughly the same number of volunteers – is not likely to re-open the shop until early next year.
However, Mr Horne has stressed that the charity would not shut its operations down entirely and will have a “limited trading operation” from its warehouse at the top of the Causewayside yard.
The group not only works to restore bikes that would otherwise go to landfill but also encourages more people to experience the benefits of cycling.
“The charity has both environmental and health aspects,” added Mr Horne.
Since the fire he has been inundated with offers of help, including from one local business which has pledged to provide laptops to allow the charity’s back office to get up and running.
The charity is also due to set up a JustGiving Page when they have decided what items they need most.
The fire was reported shortly after 1am on Monday, with residents describing flames leaping from the roof. Among the stock destroyed was a “landmark” 50,000th bike recycled by the charity.
Access and repairs to the building have been more difficult due to the discovery of suspected asbestos.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said the investigation into the cause was ongoing.
The bikes that are beyond repair will be mined for parts to be used on other restoration jobs, with the finished article sold off for an affordable price.
The Bike Station has also supplied around half of the city’s nurseries with ‘balance bikes’ to build youngsters’ confidence.