Monday, June 25, 2012

The Perfect Bicycle Shop: A Daydream

Over the last several months, Sam and I have discussed the possibility of opening a bicycle shop locally. It's an idea we've tossed around for years actually, but it's a fairly big undertaking for people with no real money (and of course, we'd both want to retain our "regular" jobs until something was solidly in place). Although it's not uncommon to find us dreaming about this possibility in various forms, for some reason it has become a more frequent topic of conversation. I don't know how likely it is that we would actually be able to do this (probably extremely unlikely), but it did get me thinking about ideal bicycle shops.
This type of store front appeals to me personally, but I don't get the impression
that there's a mix of bikes available inside.
Image source here
The successful bike shops seem to have a specific niche that they lean toward, or they are mass/big box type of stores. It appears that many are specifically designed/intended for those seeking one of these categories: road bikes, city bikes, or mountain bikes. Rarely is there a lot of overlap (of course there are exceptions). Our idea for a shop is not what would be considered the "standard" bicycle stop, but I do think it could have its place, while not taking away from what is currently available. Success is obviously critical to a business, or it will end up closing up - everything from not renting/buying space that isn't affordable, is in a good or appropriate location, doing background/pre-business research, as well as getting the word out about the new location is imperative to creating a solid groundwork to build upon. While all of this remains true, I can't help but wonder what an "ideal" bike shop would look like, how it would function, or even if there is a shop that could meet the needs of most of the population?

- Would it be a bike shop/fill-in-the-blank shop (coffee/tea/computer repair/pastries/art, etc)?
- What type of bikes would it sell (every type, or a specialized select few)?
- Does it have only inexpensive bikes, only over "$X" bikes, or a combination?
- Does it feel small and cozy, or is it massive with lots of room to roam many isles?
- Do customers hang out and surf the web, or is it a get in and get out kind of place?

There are many possibilities I could throw out, but I know I have yet to find any bicycle shop that sold everything I was looking for at a given time. Perhaps this is because it isn't practical. While I realize the likelihood of having this type of all-encompassing store is extremely unreasonable, for arguments sake, let's say the sky is the limit. What would you want to see in an ideal bike shop, or is there such a thing? Perhaps you prefer the ability to shop around at different locations that specialize in something specific? Feel free to discuss... meanwhile, I'm enjoying living in my daydream.


  1. There's a great bike shop near me - it leans toward the urban/fixie/BMX/not too sporty kind of bike, with some harder-to-find accessories like baskets and bells, but it's not mega-cutesy. Then it's attached to a secondhand bike store where the owner rebuilds all kinds of bikes. There's really something for - well, not everyone, but everyone who digs the practicality and fun of cycling. I honestly think a 14-year-old BMXer and a 40-something urban beginner would feel just as welcome there, and you can spend a couple hundred or a couple grand on your bicycle, no problem.

    If I were planning out my ideal bike shop, it'd be like that - not stocking everything under the sun, but welcoming a variety of demographics and price ranges.

    1. That's awesome that you have a bike shop that tries to suit all of its customers. I think a nice variety, but not overly stocked is often welcoming to many different types of riders.


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