Cycling conversations – Ep. 5

One of the oldest bicycle shops in Stockholm is Söders Cykel, in Södermalm. Also one of the largest, with a big workshop and, of course, with many bikes. Mostly Trek, Scott and Skeppshult, plus loads of parts and accessories. Here you’ll find Roger Harrfors, at least for a little more time, until he retires. When I visited him, on a very busy Wednesday, he seemed to really look forward to that moment.

How did you end up working in the cycling industry?
Because my grandfather started in 1945. I’m the third generation. 

Wow, impressive. What’s the best part about this job? 
I started my own shop 50 years ago. In the beginning it was myself and one employee. But now I have 7 employees and it’s not so fun anymore. Many problems. I’ve been in this business for so long. I like now that we’ve been expanding these last three years very quickly, but that’s not all fun. I think I will do this for three, four years more. Then it’s not for me anymore, I’m going to retire. And I will sell the shop, maybe. I worked for a long time, but it’s still a struggle.

If this was the best part, then what was the hardest part for you? 
Nothing is hard, you just work. But there are so many taxes in Sweden, you work very much for a small advance in this business. You don’t become rich. 

Did cycling grow in the last few years? Did you feel a change?
It started with this Covid. It went up, I think, by 100%.

And what should the city or the government do to support this growth?
Right now, maybe the mobility is getting better, but the city is not built for biking from the start. It’s for cars. They’re trying and they are building more for mobility, but I think it’s just in the city, not outside. It’s very hard. 

What is your favorite type of bike? 
My favorite bike is the mountain bike. But it’s too risky for my age. So, right now, for my myself, it’s the e-bike.