Magri Cycles first started trading in the year 1889 by Michelina Magri.
In 1889 Bicycles were becoming a very popular and cheap means of transport. Michelina Magri was aware of this trend and decided to open a shop. She began by offering some basic repairs on bicycles but within a very short period of time she was becoming very popular with the people around her hometown Mosta and her business began to grow.
Michelina Magri nee Sammut was born in 1871 and died Nov 1937. Michelina married Carmelo Magri and had four children. Paul the eldest, Joe, Mary and Gerald. Apart from taking care of the family Michelina was also a shoe Cobbler.
Michelina’s eldest son Paul was born in 1900, and at the very young age of six, as was the norm at that time, Paul used to help his mother in the bicycle shop. At just 15 Paul joined the army for the duration of the war and was sent overseas, he served in Greece and Turkey. God willing, he sustained no harm.
After the war ended Paul decided to move to America and join his brother Joe, as employment possibilities were much better, the wages higher and he wanted to put aside sufficient money to be able to take over the bicycle business from his Mother. In the meantime Michelina’s efforts paid off and the bicycle business was flourishing, also thanks to the support extended by her youngest son Gerald, not withstanding the fact that he was more interested in music.
On his return from America in 1934 Paul was now 34. He had managed to save enough money to buy the Bicycle business from his mother and together with his brother Gerald they carried on the family business.
In 1935 Paul married Innocenza nee Bezzina, 23 years old and a school teacher. Together they had 11 children of which only 8 survived.
Charlie, Lina, John, Joe, Freddie, Grace, Reggie and the youngest Ronnie.
The eldest of the brothers Charlie, was the first one to help his dad Paul in the shop. Time passed and Paul was expanding his bicycle shop, apart from the standard bicycle repairs, he also ventured into bicycle frame modifications decreasing frame size from a 28” to 26” to accommodate people who needed a smaller bike due to their height. From a young age John, one of his sons and very close to his dad, showed great interest and determination to follow in his father’s footsteps and learnt the trade very quickly.
After having served his country during the war, leaving to seek work in America and returning to run the family business, Paul had worked all his life. Unfortunately at age 53 Paul was diagnosed with a Tumor in the bone marrow and required the amputation of his leg. Sadly two years later in 1955 Paul passed away.
John used to spend most of his time in the shop with Paul and continued to do so for some time after the death of his Father. However, John started to make plans for his future and in December 1958 he decided to emigrate to Australia with an aim in mind, to work and earn enough money to be able to take over the bicycle business. Innocenza, Paul’s widow together with Joe, Fred and Ronnie where now running the bicycle shop as best they could.
John returned from Australia in April 1961 and after having obtained consent from his Mother and the rest of the family, took over the bicycle business and once again resumed his life’s passion! bicycles.
John started to attract new clients who over time also became his friends as did, many youngsters who frequented the shop, to have a chat after work to discuss the latest bikes and accessories. From a small group of friends and clients, the group started to get-together for the occasional cycle rides and eventually set up a cycling club, with its own committee and cycling kit. After 2 years, the Mosta Cycle Store Club joined forces with the Mosta Cycling Club thanks to the collaboration of Mr Carm Agius who approached John in order to make this happen.
In 1964 John married Pauline nee Mangion and they had 4 children Patricia, Claudia, Paul and Nicolette. John was determined to make a success of the bicycle business and although things where not easy, his commitment paid off. John’s plan was to start importing bikes and accessories, so he decided to contact a brand called Wearwell cycles in UK, secured an agreement and became Wearwell’s sole representative in Malta. From this first step sales started to increase and progress was achieved. In 1971 John was contacted by a Raleigh representative and he became their sales agent, another strong brand secured in a short time. Apart from his dedication to the business, John was now very active in cycle racing and achieved excellent results. He was Malta’s champion 5 times, National Sportsman of the year twice and represented Malta in 6 Mediterranean games and two Olympics 1972/80. Due to his personal involvement in the sport John also sponsored the National Championship road races.
With the business progressively growing, John needed a hand and Ronnie his younger brother started to work full time in the shop. John looked forward and continued to improve his business, also encouraged by many local cyclists who sought his advice concerning maintenance on their bikes, as he was and still is, a highly skilled bicycle mechanic.
John’s children were now growing, Patricia the eldest daughter and Paul the only son were helping in the shop especially during their school holidays. Pauline John’s wife was also assisting although she was a very busy housewife. In 1980 John decided to ease up as the years where passing and due to certain circumstances wanted to sell the sales stock . After discussing with the rest of the family, Joe, his brother, who at that time was living in UK, was interested in running the sales side of the business. John and Joe were now each responsible for a branch of the business. John continued with his maintenance and repairs whilst Joe was now running the sales and importations section. This system was maintained for 15 years coming to an end when Joe took the decision to retire. Once again the sales sector was vacant.
It was now time for new blood to be injected in the company. Paul, John’s son who had already gained a lot of experience from having worked occasionally alongside with John and Joe, immediately showed interest and took over the business in 1998. From the very first day, it was Paul’s objective to start representing some of the top international brands, given that the market was changing and new brands and products were evolving. Contacts where made and new bikes and accessories were imported. Paul was also an active cyclist, he was Malta Junior Champion twice, participated in the Junior World Championships, Small Nations Games in Cyprus and was a regular member in the National Team. Business was growing fast which meant that Paul needed to devote more of his time to the business, he therefore had to reduce his cycling activities, nevertheless still taking part in local races.
With all the new brands and products arriving, the challenge was finding space to display them. The next step was to find larger premises and in 2005 the much awaited dream became a reality and Magricycles new showroom was opened.
Over a century has passed since Michelina Magri’s first customer in 1889. The success of Magricycles lies in the ability and the passion of its founding members to look ahead as well as, the commitment to improve the service for its loyal customers. Today, Magricycles backed by Paul and his assistants Andrew and Patrick, offer the best after sales service on the local market. Paul’s younger sister Nicolette, is also involved as she assists with administration.
Altough 72 years of age John is still very active both at the shop and also with cycling, he was recently awarded the Gieh Il-Mosta by the Mosta Local Council and also The Hall Of Fame by the Malta Olympic Committee.
John’s appointment with his passion is hardly missed and can still be found to this day in his shop repairing bikes.
A family passion that has withstood the test of time.