Firth and Wilson: practical but fun

Firth & Wilson Transport Cycles is a full-service bicycle shop and retail showroom specializing in transportation and cargo bicycles. Now located at 1105 Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia’s Fishtown district, the shop caters exclusively to the urban cyclist with a full range of bike accessories and bicycles from Breezer, Brompton, Linus, Pashley, Pure Fix, Pure City,  Simcoe, SE,  Xtracycle, Yuba, Babboe, Gazelle, Nihola, & Larry Vs. Harry.  


The option of a custom fabricated bicycle is also on offer, designed by the shop's owners under the labels David Wilson Industries (DWI) custom cargo bikes and Hanford Cycles custom frames.


The shop’s namesakes are Simon Firth, who came to Philadelphia from his native UK in 1995, and worked 14 years as a builder at Bilenky Cycle Works, and David Wilson, who spent time in the Netherlands and in Seattle working in frame shops, and later in the customer service/warranty side of the industry for Seattle Bike Supply, before moving to Philly to launch Firth and Wilson.


Both owners are advocates of urban bicycle transportation and cargo bikes, and so that is what they’ve focused on, but the shop has a couple of interesting niches beyond the framebuilding tools and machinery that inhabit the rear of the spacious shop. One of these is Firth and Wilson’s status as the official North American repair facility for Brooks leather saddles. Simon Firth and his wife Vickie have visited the Brooks factory in Smethwick, Birmingham UK several times, and Firth spent a week under the tutelage of 'Eric the Riveter' learning the art of saddle making and repair.


Another interesting niche is the ability to rent cargo and utility bikes by the hour, half-day or full day for the consumer who may be interested in the concept of utility and cargo bikes, but has not used them before. Renting one gives them a chance to test the waters before making the full investment in a new bike.


It’s the growing interest in cargo bikes and transport bikes versus a bike just used for sport that sustains Firth and Wilson. “Programs like bikeshare that are popping up in many big cities and even small towns are making people aware that getting around by bike is not just good for the environment and practical but fun,” writes Firth.


Firth and Wilson are longtime supporters of the Philly Bike Expo, and this year held a party on Friday evening before the expo to welcome show exhibitors and friends to Philadelphia.