mjr wrote:................CUK is helping to take trade away from local bike shops and give it to a big-box chain store with serious quality control problems. Shame on it!
I know that this is my personal 'take' on the matter, but I do agree with you mjr.
Do we all remember when, over ten years ago (but I can't be more accurate than that) the CTC started a really comprehensive 'CTC shop', which turned out to be a large (well established and well regarded in that first instance, but ended up with getting in to association with Wiggle some years later) bike shop. A 10% discount was offered. There was consternation and quite a few members made representations about that, on the basis that at that time the CTC claimed to be supportive of our local bike shops. I may be over-simplifying here (the mists of time!), but CTC responded by asking local sections to canvass LBSs to ask what discounts they offered to CTC members! - this was ostensibly for publication among members. Some of our LBSs were understandably quite upset at CTC's move, and can you imagine the response that our section secretary got from LBSs when she went to them asking the question? - one in particular!
All this started just as the big changes (CTC into, eventually, CUK) started, and which ended with the demise of the CTC, and can you imagine anything more insensitive?
I note gaz's honourable and decent response (a few posts above) but given the ethos of a few recent missives from CUK, I personally find it difficult to believe that there's no material, if not financial, benefit to CUK. We'll never know.
It's true that CUK's partner in this are a privately owned business. For all their probable and actual attributes, as such isn't their first priority dividends to shareholders? I say nothing against CUK's partner in this, and nothing against their initiative in this gesture to help newbie cyclists - it can only be for mutual benefit if it works - good for them. However, I'll remain loyal to the plethora of decent, honourable, competent, helpful, knowledgeable, experienced, well stocked LBSs in these parts - who have enough problems due to on-line retailing.