The Business of Bikes

I’ve added Velo Orange to the blog roll for equipment.  This is a bike shop in Annapolis that caters to the rando crowd, as well as touring and recreational riding.  I think some of the emphasis on francophile shiny bits priced more than some bikes can be over the top, but if there’s a market for it and the guy is making money, so be it.  What I do like is his overall philosophy about biking and his using a blog to guage customer feedback.  It also helps that he owns Chesapeake Light Craft, which are kit made recreational rowing shells.

He recently posted about expanding his business on the retail side and to include parts distribution, which got me thinking about “what if I owned a bike shop.”

I’m still convinced that a “Country Bike Shop” could make a go in the central PA region.  The place would focus on touring, commuting, and recreational riding, with probably a need for some local bicycle advocacy, tour planning and support, and possibly randoneurring if it became bigger in this area.

What it would not be is a shop for the racing crowd, MTBs, Xcross, or box store level bikes – pretty much a carbon-free zone.  I think I’d also stay away from the custom frame and bits market ala Velo, but I wouldn’t be shy about teaming up with him if he does branch into distribution.

So that puts us at the low end of $500-600 for recreational city bikes and low speed commuters, mid range tourers like assembled Surly and Soma for $1500, and high end Riv stuff at $3K.  Components would most likely be higher end: Carradice, Frost River, Jaand, etc…, with some odd-ball stuff thrown in like Schmidt, Dlumotec, SON, Dinotte, etc…

Keeping up volume with an effective price point would be a real challenge, especially if there is to be any kind of inventory, but I keep coming back to the rising fuel prices and an infrastructure that could support commuting and touring.

‘just my thoughts on a rainy fall day…


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