2.09.2005

Better Bikes....
and a better bicycle world!

years ago I was trying to find my own personal "niche" in the bicycle world
more specifically in the bicycle industry

there were months that added up to years, but never three hundred and sixty five days consecutively, spent working in a bike store; Big Wheel Bikes (a land of ten thousand stories)
there was also an on again off again relationship with the messenger industry
during these periods I tried to discover how I could fit into this bicycle world... make this bicycle world better and make a profit, yes... make a profit!

with the various bicycle based occupations I researched different aspects of the world and the area
scoping out the consumer's needs and what I could offer
a friend, Gibby aka Johnny G., was a tad more proactive and presented an idea
Gibby had worked in shops in the DC area and while out in the Bay area for college he spent some time in shops there
during that time Gibby noticed something that I had noticed as well
people just don't want all those gears!
(did I hear a single speeder cheer?)
when shopping for a bike people often looked bewildered at the shifters and derailuers
when riding people tended to ride awkwardly in the wrong gear, not knowing the logic of the front chain rings or the rear cogs
front deraileur grinding against the chain as it is either mal-adjusted or not fully engaged in the correct gear
pedaling too hard or spinning way too much
then when it came to the hills.... even the average person who knew how to use the gears... they all got off and walked.
so Gibby and I tried to create a line of bikes.... a more simple bike option
not a beach cruiser... an urban cruiser
there were to be various styles to suit various needs
THE METRO was black with slicks, fenders, and a rack, perfect for the commuter
THE TOWPATH was beige with a comfortable saddle and knobbies
there were a few others ideas with clever names based off different neighborhoods in NW DC
we wanted to offer an inexpensive bike that grandma could use to ride around the neighborhood, where the family could use to go and get ice cream, and still cool enough that the cyclist would want it to ride to class or the coffee shop... allowing their race or training bike to be kept fresh for its intended purpose

we had plans for merchandise...
oh
we had plans for merchandise
we thought about all of the relatives who would have to buy a bike from us just to get it off the ground....

then we had prototypes shipped over from Asia (China, Korea, Taiwan? I am not sure.... much of the brain work was done by the more business savy Gibby)
we were excited and let down at the same time upon the arrival of these bikes

OH SHIT
I AM LATE
meant to slam this cofffee and head out the door
but
got distracted by the blog
best I get into work and finish this thought!

back at work
back at the BLOG

the bikes arrived around the same time as the INTERBIKE SHOW
we were no where near that stage of the game
things were still in the idea stages
at INTERBIKE I looked at the industry and tried to see how to develop this single geared product
at this stage the SINGLE SPEED was still more of an idea than an actual movement
a few booths displayed a high end version of our similar concept
talked with frame manufactures and checked pricing
the cheap asian production line was our best bet
but the parts and paint scheme were all wrong
there was no way that we could make a bike to our liking that would be justifiable to the consumer

our business plan with all of its protections.....
the rental side of things
the sales side of things
the guided tour side of things
none of it mattered if we could not get the product that we wanted in the price range that seemed reasonable
there was no way for us to compete....
we were not trying to create a mountainbike... nor were we trying to create a department store bike
our bike fell right in the middle
but our price point could not be brought down to the lower end
volume was an issue
and well
capitol was an issue as well
it was really nothing more than a fantasy
the dream of setting up shop in the old BONFIELDS GAS STATION location on MacArther Blvd. was a tastee part of that flavor filled dream
but.... even that would take capitol
capitol we did not have
we only had dreams
as powerful as dreams may be
dreams will not get you a loan at the bank
(in hindsight.... that place would have been a great purchase... what seemed like an over priced property would have been a great investment on its own... now it is a WILD BIRD CENTER)

so....
I had an idea
an idea of sales/rentals/tours/repair (with housecalls)
that idea was an idea in another Big Wheel Employee of an era long gone, Scott Carahger
also an idea developed by BETTER BIKES
there may still be room in this city for such a business... minus the single geared bike option

back to work
will try to scan this to see if it makes sense later




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