November 12, 2010
Why The Cycling Dude Mattered, and Why I Am Damn Well PROUD OF IT!
Dear friends, and fans, of this blog, and anyone who stumbles upon it via Google, other Search Engines, or some website that still links to me....
It has been almost 3 months since I retired this blog to little notice, or fanfare...
But God, Fate, or something far more complex, had other ideas.
Earlier this week, on my other Blogs, I revealed to my small, but growing readerships, something that has been a part of my life since 2 weeks after I announced the closing of this blog:
This morning a comment was posted, to a 5 1/2 year old post on this blog, that brought tears of pride to my eyes, during this very trying time in my life.
This comment is the single greatest Honor that I have ever received for my efforts with this site...and makes all of it worth the effort.......
Nov. 12, 2010:
Thank you for honoring the shop I have grown up in and love. We are still an old time shop but are trying to keep up with the times with the Kopp's Cycle Website
Charles Kuhn - Owner
The Comment was left here: Kopp's Selling Bikes since 1891 - A story I posted in March 2005
Thank you Mr. Kuhn...I am grateful, beyond mere words, for your kindness. ;-D
As a History Buff there is one aspect of the Kopp's site that makes it very special, and extremely important:
The History Page.
Mr. Kuhn has written an absolutely wonderful essay, and included, a few amazing, and beautiful, old photos that will blow you away.
The most important of the photos is the one of the store (1901 !), on the main page, that entices you to read his essay.
There are other photos of some of their vintage Items for sale and other things including a letter from the 1930's, that can be seen on a seperate Photos link.
I hope he plans to share more of the store history on his site in the future.
Such a past should be proudly shared for all History, and Cycling, Buffs to enjoy, and not hidden away. ;-D
One more thing... As long time readers know I made a special project of highlighting the oldest cycling shops still in business, and that had an online presense, and had a list in the sidebar (Now found on Musings of a Mad Macedonian), and wrote a series of blog posts about them, which you can explore at your leisure ( Meet The Elder Statesmen ( and Women! ) ), and it pleases me no end that, at long last, that list can finally, finally!, have a link to a website for the Kopp's Store. ;-D
Out of respect for Mr. Kuhn, and his comrades on my list, I plan to keep the series going on Musings.
***UPDATE - 11/13/10***
I wrote Thank You letter to Mr. Kuhn, and he very graciously replied.
As well as telling him about this post, I wrote:
Sincerely yours, Kiril Kundurazieff
Thanks for the reply.
I use google to alert me of new posts that mention Kopp's and your blog post got flagged so I checked it out as well as a little of the rest, I will have to check out the links you sent.
I ask anybody that stops in the shop to let me know of any older outfits and so far none have.
I can tell you love bikes, cats and life and wish you the best of luck.
You seem to be someone who experiences life while the rest of us just live.
****MARCH 5TH, 2011****
Regular readers of this blog may remember those times, over the years, when I covered the cycling related work (Among other health related interests) of Randy Eady, of Glider Rider, founder of Kosharey Rhythms Therapeutics, and Seat and Feet, and writer of a blog for Children & Nature Network.
Our friendship goes back to 2006, and we finally met in March of last year.
My report of that day, complete with photos, and links to all previous stories, can be read, beginning here:
I'm listed on LinkedIN, as is Randy, and it was there that Randy did me the kindness of giving me my first "Recommendation", on Friday.
Kiril is a talented, responsible, ethical, professional writer. I've frequently relied on his technical writing skills (in numerous social media platforms) to represent a balanced and -- humorous -- perspective to expand/add tremendous value to the underlying message I'm delivering in health and sustainable lifestyle advocacy. Great work that can be easily sampled at various blog sites he maintains and supports.
A very cool Birthday Present, indeed.
Thank You, Randy, your support, and encouragement, means a lot to me.
December 08, 2008
Support Your Local Bicycle Shop
One of the 1st posts I ever wrote on this blog was on January 17, 2003:
Before the Bicycle Chain ( pun definitely intended! ) Conglomerates There Were the Family Shops of an Independant Nature.
Do you remember your 1st visit to a bicycle shop?
Did your family buy their bikes and get them repaired at the same shop, generation after generation?
Do you take YOUR kids to the same shop for their cycling needs?
Do you consider the owners, and employees to be friends?
There are bicycle shops in this country that have been in business since the 1890's, and 1909, and there are also dedicated individuals like Richard Francis Sr. who I wrote about in 2006:
For nearly 80 years, he sold, repaired and fixed up bicycles, either in his Philadelphia store or, since 1976, at his backyard bike shop in Holt.
Francis, who died Wednesday at the age of 94, truly earned the nickname "The Bicycle Man."
I have a Blogroll, and years worth of posts dedicated to honoring these businesses, and individuals, The Elders of the Cycling Business.
I've had a standing invitation for people to send me tips for further stories, and links, and sometimes have wondered if anyone but me even cared.
I love history...so sue me. ;-D
A few folks have responded over the years, and I have thanked them...but it has been a while. ;-D
The other day I got an e-mail:
Hi, I am a reader of your blog and a fellow Bicycle Blogger.
I am trying to start a campaign among cyclists to get them to support their local bike shops during this holiday season.
The current economic crisis is hurting many businesses including local bike shops. These local businesses will not receive government bailouts like the Wall Street Banks and auto companies. If these small business go under, they may not come back. You will miss them in the Spring when they are not there, so support them this winter as you do your holiday shopping.
I wrote a post about supporting local bike shops on my blog, The BicycleSpokesman.
Please spread the word among your readers about supporting their local bike shops and consider linking to my post.
Well, how DO you do!
This was interesting. ;-D
Bgun in March 2008, this blog has a particular purpose in mind:
I am an avid bicyclist.
The BicycleSpokesman is a blog focused on bicycling with an emphasis on bicycle touring. Posts will discuss tour companies, choosing a tour, types of tours, rides, training, bicycles, new products and other bicycling related topics.
This blog had done a good job of providing a steady stream of interesting posts so far, and it is one from late November that prompted the writer to contact me:
In the current economic crisis, many small business are suffering. Most local bike shops are small businesses. In fact bike shops are one of the few small businesses that have not been crushed by big box retailers and national chains...
The current credit crises is hurting many bikes shops.
Due to the seasonality of bike sales, credit is very important to their business.
Inventory is expensive and often the bikes are in the shop for many months before they are sold.
Bike shops also need to place their orders way in advance, so that the manufacturers can fill the orders.
What can you do to help?
Support your local shop.
Mike shares his thoughts on just how you can do that and, even if, like me, you sometimes find yourself frequenting REI, or some other Chain Store.
There are still going to be times when you can make a good case for preferring the local shop instead.
November 22, 2008
Bummed No More! Bumstead's Online Again, Prepares for 100th!
In February 2005, I was disappointed to learn that the Oldest Bicycle Shop in SoCal, and possibly West of the Mississippi River, as well, had lost its prescence online, though I was assured it would someday return.
Someday is here.
While it is in the form of a Blog, for now, I hear there are big plans ahead for 2009.
I grew up in the Inland Empire, between La Verne and Rancho Cucamonga, from 1960 to 2002, and my 2 favorite Bike Shops just happened to be the 2 oldest in the region. ;-D
I only went to Bumstead's a few times, over the years, favoring its younger competitor, since it was closer to home, but I could count on quality, in service, and product from them when I did go.
Anyway, the still, very much, developing Blog, run by industry insider, and cycling author, Randy Kirk (More on him in a future post.), has 3 entries so far, that introduce 2 generations of Bumstead's, and a bit of Company/Family History, to the visitor.
Lloyd is the 4th Generation to run this shop, based in Ontario, Ca., and there is something very special about that fact:
One of the oldest bicycle shops in America, and possibly the oldest continuously owned by one family, Bumstead's Bicycles opened its doors in 1909.
On the verge of closing some 20 years ago, Lloyd Bumstead, the forth generation owner, changed career paths and decided to keep the shop in family hands.
His son, and/or daughter, representing the 5th generation, may eventually follow in his footsteps, but for now, the son, Garrison spends some time working there.
There is a nice little 4 min. video of Lloyd walking around the shop talking up the merchandise, and another of Garrison giving a 1 min. plug for one of their top selling Bike Models.
Some folks assume that Corporate always equals Quality, and that small, and non-fancy, should be steered clear of.
Well, they are often wrong, as far as I'm concerned.
The stores I went to in my youth were, and still are, "1 Shop Wonders", but I mean that in a good way.
You want product, they got it.
You want excellent repair work, they provide it.
You want knowledgeable, friendly, owners, and employees, who often know generations of their customers, and are involved with the community?
Well, you get the picture.
Family run shops, and small shops with decades invested in their communities, attract a loyal following who keep coming back for more (Even if they do occasionally backslide, from time to time, for some reason or another, and sneak off elsewhere.), and this somehow enables the small shops to survive having bigger competitors in the region, and sometimes seeing those competitors die out.
Here's to the return of an Online Prescence for Bumstead's, and to an honored place in my List of Elder Statesmen in the sidebar, and I hope this early Birthday Present of a plug encourages the continued growth of that face to the world, in their 100th year! ;-D
June 28, 2007
75 Yr Old Gets Full Tune-up and Prepares for the Future
The following was sent to me, yesterday, by one of The Elders among America's Bike Shops:
The Gregg's Cycle building located at Ravenna Blvd. and Greenlake Way has been undergoing a major remodel and expansion that is slated for completion by mid July. Approximately 40% of the existing structure was demolished and replaced with a two-story 10,000 square foot addition.
The new facility will have 18,400 Square feet of space and will be the largest cycle store in the Northwest.
The 80 year old Gregg's building has become a familiar Greenlake landmark and one of the longest operating businesses in the Greenlake area.
Gregg's Cycle originally opened in 1932 in a small portion of the southeast corner of the building with a bicycle rental operation.
Renting a bicycle for a ride around Greenlake became a popular and inexpensive form of recreation during the lean economic times of the Great Depression. Bicycle sales and service were added in the late 1930's and soon became the dominant portion of Gregg's business.
Celebrating its 75th year of operation and now in the 4th generation of operation by the Gregg family, the store occupies the entire block.
Gregg's had leased off site space near the store since the 1970's as the business had outgrown the existing building. With the popularity of the Greenlake area for condominium projects, available nearby commercial space has all, but disappeared.
2007 has been a busy year for Gregg's with the move of their Aurora Cycle store to a new location near Alderwood Mall.
The Aurora store had operated continuously at 74th and Aurora Avenue North since 1937.
To cap off a year of moves and construction, Gregg's Bellevue store was moved in April to a new 11,500 square foot facility that was specifically designed and built to be a bicycle shop. The new store is a three-story facility located on Bellevue Way just south of Bellevue Square. This move was also prompted by development plans for the location at Bellevue Plaza that Gregg's had occupied since 1984.
The new stores will allow for more selection and greater customer convenience and we cannot thank our customers enough for their support and patience during the construction and other disruptions. Gregg's is planning Grand Openings for both the expanded Greenlake store and new Bellevue store later this summer.
If you like pictures related to cycling this 2 year old blog will interest you. ;-D
March 25, 2007
Guthrie Bicycle 103 Years Young
The possibly oldest Bicycle Retailer in the Western United States has closed its oldest location.
Guthrie Bicycle, of Salt Lake City, made news with this announcement:
Just when Salt Lake City wants more residents to commute by bicycle, downtown's only bike shop - and one billed as the oldest in the West - has closed.
Guthrie Bicycle, 158 E. 200 South, shuttered at the end of January. Its Sugar House spot, 803 E. 2100 South, remains open.
While business has been slow since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, shop owner Richard Goddard said that wasn't the reason for the closure.
Goddard's family, which owns the building that housed the shop, was approached by a buyer. While the structure wasn't for sale at the time, the family agreed to do it.
Because the building has been in the family since about 1931, the decision was difficult.
Read the full story, by Heather May, of the Salt Lake City Tribune, here.
There is much more to this story, not the least being that while a "Location" has been closed, the ( quite possibly? ) "Oldest Bicycle Retailer in the West" is STILL very much in business, and very proud of its illustrious history.
Built in 1890, the three-story structure is on the National Register of Historic Places and represents commercial architecture prevalent in the Utah Territory in the late 19th century, according to the register nomination form.
The history of the company, and its connection to cycling, goes back as far as 1888, and the current owner of the company is the Great-Grandson of the man who bought the business in 1926.
I love the History Page of their website!! What makes it special, in my book, is not the written story it tells, which is short, and to the point, but the photos! ;-D
I'd love to have more to read, about their history, but that's only a minor quibble. ;-D
As I told him there is a Retailer in Ontario, CA. that has been around since 1909 ( Bumstead's Website is inactive! ), one in Long Beach, CA. ( Jones ) that has been around since 1910, and there is also 1 in Santa Barbara ( Hazards ) in business since 1914 ( See list in Sidebar. ).
In discussing the longevity issue, I loved the Genealogy-style e-mail he sent me:
Well, maybe the whole thing is a can of worms. That
Trib article mentions that the great grandfather moved
the Guthrie's shop into the building in the '30s, so
it wasn't in the same location since 1904.
In any case, let's follow the bouncing ball here, as
they used to say on the cartoons....
So as far as the history (thanks for the link, I'll
add that), Meredith Bros. started making bikes in Salt
Lake city, then they brought in Guthrie in 1904 and
that made the store Meredith and Guthrie.
Then Manwaring bought the store, kept the name Guthrie
Bicycle Co. (don't know what happened to Merediths)
and it's still in the same family.
Now the great grandpa moves the store into the
location in the 1930s. Move the clock ahead 70-some
years and that store closes.
In the meantime, Guthrie Bicycle Co. opens another
store in Sugarland, which is a neighborhood of Salt
Lake City. That store remains open.
Really, there are lots of ways to dice this up. The
downtown store that closed did have the most direct
link to the original, which started when Guthrie
became a partner in 1904. The Sugarland store is kind
of like a spinoff.
If the store were a tree (bear with me), it sprouted
in 1888 and was grafted in 1904. Then it was
transplanted in the 1930s. Sometime since then it
dropped a seed, which sprouted and survives, while the
original was buzzed sawed down.
Sooooooooooo, the bicycle company might be the oldest,
but the surviving store might not be.
Good. I think I've sufficiently muddied everything up!
As far as I know the next oldest Retailer in the West is the one in Ontario, but the next oldest Retailer with an active website is the one in Long Beach.
Where the oldest Shop "Location" in the West now is is a good question. ;-D
As for the rest of the Guthrie Website:
Once you get past the advertising, and Tips, found on the Home Page, there is some good stuff.
There is a nice Catalog page, with info on items they sell.
An extention of that is an Our Bikes Page that informs you about the brands of bicycles they sell, including ( I like this further connection to Cycling History! ) Raleigh, one of the oldest Bike makers in the world.
Their Links Page is a great collection of resources for Advocacy and Organizations, Bicycle Industry Suppliers, and Bicycle Touring Outfits.
March 13, 2007
Historic Italian Bike Shop 112 years old!
Thanks to an encounter with a cyclist at the Acura Los Angeles Bike Tour, on March 4, I discovered the existence of one of the oldest Bike Shops in the world.
Detto Pietro, of Milan Italy, opened for business in 1895.
I love the description that opens the History page on their English Language website:
The national and international image of the Detto Pietro firm comes from an history which begin one hundred years old with the introduction by the establisher Detto Sante of a great innovation in the cycling world: the shoes for racing bikes.
The Detto Pietro was founded in the far 1895, as a firm of innovation in a phase of big technical and cultural changes, from the cinema of the Lumière's brothers, to the first pneumatics Michelin, to the first biennial of Venice. The shop placed in the heart of Milan showed the little shoes which in all over the world are become the standard for cycle racing.
A bike, and cycling shoe manufacturer, with a proud history.
Part of the charm of the website is the fractured use of English as seen on the "Why to Contact Detto Pietro?" page. ;-D
The use of photos on this site is well done, especially the pride of place of the one showing the original store ( ? ), and leads me to hoep that someday they can be persuaded to set up a page of photos proudly sharing the illustrious history of the company, its locations, its personel, and its products.
A section of Italian related Cycling links, geared to tourists interested in Touring Italy, or just individual cities, is something i was disappointed not to find.
But those are just very minor concerns.
I am very honored to include a link to Detto Pietro, as the 1st Non-American Shop in my Honor Roll of Elderstatesmen of the Bicycling Industry, as seen in my sidebar. ;-D
March 04, 2006
Richard Francis Sr. was The Bicycle Man
Since the age of 15 this man was in love with the Bicycle, and more people than ever will truly be known were the beneficiaries of his knowledge, and skill:
For nearly 80 years, he sold, repaired and fixed up bicycles, either in his Philadelphia store or, since 1976, at his backyard bike shop in Holt.
Francis, who died Wednesday at the age of 94, truly earned the nickname "The Bicycle Man."
Francis' son, Richard Jr., said his father began repairing bikes at the age of 15 and operated a bicycle shop in Philadelphia for more than 35 years.
He and his wife came to Holt at their son's urging in 1975 after they were the victims of several break-ins and robberies.
"He bought a house, and the first thing he did was build a garage in the backyard where he could repair bikes," Richard Jr. said. "He was 63 at the time and had originally thought about renting a store and opening a business but decided to retire instead."
But he never truly retired. He acquired old bikes, fixed them up and sold them for a modest price.
"If someone couldn't afford the price, he would cut it in half," Richard Jr. said.
"Sometimes he gave them away. He was doing what he loved to do, and he made literally hundreds of friends in the area."
From a story in the Lansing State Journal of 2/17/06:
Holt man who fixed bikes helped many: Holt man who fixed bikes helped many by Hugh Leach.
December 02, 2005
Helen of Santa Monica Spreading Cycling since 1936
Amongst the Elders in the world of Bike Shops there is at least one Beautiful Woman among all the Men.
She is Helen's Cycles ( "It's Bicycle Heaven!" ) in the city of Santa Monica, Ca.
The main store, and its companions, that have sprouted up as the business has grown over the decades, has been "Taking Good Care of People, and their Bikes, Since 1936."
Sadly, the Website only briefly touches on its long, illustrious, history, in the closing paragraph of the Company "Statement of Purpose" on its About Page.
Helen’s Cycles was created in 1936 by Helen and Ted Throckmarton. They built the Santa Monica Broadway location in mid 1960. The current owner Duane and Karen Stier purchased this location in 1975. The other Helen’s stores were purchased on the following years in an effort of being the market leader in Southern California.
That's it. Period.
The rest of the website is geared to selling products, and promoting the 5 Cycling Teams ( 4 with the Helen's name ), and 1 Club, the company supports.
I find it interesting that the webiste has a page promoting the 36 year old Westside Cycling Club called Velo Club La Grange but has no link to its Website.
That club, BTW, has a sense of its history, and has plans in the works to showcase that on its site.
In addition to a Hot Deals Dept, there are 8 other Depts. devoted to bikes, components, clothing, and accessories.
Each is full of links to pages devoted to various products.
The best thing on the site is a collection of articles under the heading of "Helpful Hints, and Great Ideas".
These provide useful advice, and tips, for choosing the right products, from Bikes to Socks.
Extremely disappointing is the complete lack of a collection of links, of any type, to any of the many resources found on the internet, and except for just mentioning, though not linking to, Velo, no mention of the Activist organizations, and many Clubs, found not only in Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County, but in its own backyard.
As the About Page says...
Helen’s Cycles is an organization that was created for the express purpose of being the market leader in Southern California....
cycling has become the fastest growing sports market in the country....
Helen’s Cycles will utilize professional marketing and management techniques as well as documented systems and modern store design and apply it to the retail bicycle business....
This philosophy is NOT very customer friendly in a very important area: The lack of useful links to help their customers find info on cycling, including places to ride, and organizations to join.
If this serious lack is made up for by displays at their stores, that's fine, and to be commended, but how about catering to folks with computers?
Visit Helen's Cycles.
December 01, 2005
Pomona Valley Cyclists Wearing Coates Since 1934
I grew up in the Pomona Valley, and the Inland Empire, east of Los Angeles all my life, and only moved away in 2003.
The bike shop of preference for me, for 20 years, was Coates Cyclery of Pomona, Ca.
While I didn't know the names of the employees, and only met the owner a few times, in the course of making a purchase, I was pleased with the service they provided, and the products they sell.
In updating my links to the Elder Statesmen I learned that Coates finally has its own website, and updated the link accordingly.
It's time to check the place out.
Established in 1934, Coates Bicycles has a long history of offering great customer service and repair for any make of bicycle. With over 6000 square feet of space for bicycles and accessories, Coates is the largest independent bicycle shop in the Inland Empire. Personalized service is our specialty, whether it's a tube repair or a new bike purchase the Coates staff is here to help. Customer satisfaction is always at the top of our list, along with top quality bicycles and accessories. We cater to the recreational, sport and family rider as well as the racing enthusiast.
That's ALL they have to say, or show, about their glorious history in the community?
Well, no, not quite: The website DOES feature their famous Neon Sign in all its lighted glory.
I hope that someday, someone comes along and puts more into that aspect of company promotion.
Show some pride!
As for the rest of the site...
There is a lot to recommend it.
The front page highlights New in store items, and current specials, including a link to a page of printable coupons, and a weekly, Customer Appreciation Ride, of 16 -25 miles on Sunday mornings.
For customes wondering if the shop is right for them, there is a page called The Coates Cyclery Advantage that details 9 reasons to shop there, and is quite informative, and helpful.
On a page about accessories they list 47, and give a 1 sentence explanation about why you want it, and/or why you need it that is comprehensive, and to the point.
One really cool, and useful, dept. is the FREE CLASSIFIEDS section.
Here, cyclists can find, and sell, used gear in 10 categories:
Apparrel, Accessories, Bicycles, Bike Frames, BMX Gear, Child Carriers, Collectables, Components, Fitness Equipment, Other Cool Stuff.
The Links Page has a useful collection of 17 links under Advocacy, and Organizations, and a few dozen Industry Suppliers.
Overall this site is a good one, and could be a great one if they decide to display some pride in their history.
They have long time employees, they have generations of customers from the same family, they have old photos, and Ads, I'm sure, and probably other things to share, not to mention stories, so here's hoping they decide to share some of that on their site.
Free Registration is required to place Ads, and apparently either this is a new service, or no-one knows about it because there are no Ads at all.
August 23, 2005
Gregg Family takes pride in 73 year old business
In the Seattle area of Washington is an Elder of the cycling business, tucked away in the community of Greenlake.
They are very proud to be recognized as one of the most prominent Specialty Shops in the nation, but that's not what caught my attention when I was made aware of their existence.
Gregg's Greenlake Cycle first opened it's doors in 1932 under the direction of R.V. Gregg. Today Gregg's Cycles remains under the ownership of the third generation of the Gregg family. The business has expanded from it's original location at Greenlake to now include locations in Bellevue and on Aurora Avenue North.
They have the makings of a very fine About Us page that, while bragging about the recognition the company has received, has something special that makes a look at the page well worth it.
3 glorious B/W Photos, dating to the 1930's, of the founding shop in Greenlake.
I'd love to see the family share more pictures ( how about a look at products thru the decades? Tributes to employees who worked for the company for decades? ), and even memories, related to the history of the company.
As they are proud to say: They have been active in the community for 70 years.
No doubt there have been generations of families that have shopped there.
The rest of the website has much to recommend it.
There is a page where the owners have begun honoring Employees of the Month.
Among the 30 categories of products for sale the bookworm in me is partial to the Book Section, and especially its collection of guides to riding around Washington.
Along with a e-mail newsletter the site has an Event page that tells of cycling related events in the region, and links to area Clubs.
Another plus is the Links Page.
It is divided into Categories:
Clubs, Resources, Teams, Rides, and News.
The Club section has links to the websites of 22 organizations across the state.
The Resources section includes some extremely useful websites.
The Rides section has details about 8 popular rides, and hopefully more will be forthcoming.
The News section has links to 5 excellent sites.
Here's to another 73 years for Gregg's Greenlake Cycles!