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Thursday, February 14, 2008

How do you make a million dollars in the bike biz?

Start with the savings account of a guy who won the Tour 7 times, apparently. Linked on bikeportland.org, LanceStrongtm has apparently heard the siren song of bicycle retail. I keep checking that it's Valentine's Day, rather than April Fools, because his new shop, "Mellow Johnny's," will focus on commuters, rather than his moon-eyed legion of man-crush racers.

Says Armstrong BFF Bart Knaggs, "We want to add something to the community that will catalyze interest around riding bikes, about being bike friendly and folding it into life in Austin." And every shop owner who sells more u-locks than Castelli jerseys will declare, "His shop is just like mine! Cool!" But here's why we're actually right:

1. Repurposing of old building -- Fantastic Lance is moving into a building that served over the years as, "a distribution center for Pearl beer, a paint company, a steel manufacturing facility and a resource center for the homeless." City Bikes in DC occupies a space that once housed a gas station and a Ben & Jerry's cafe.

2. Hide where they ride -- Lance and City Bikes both plopped themselves down in locations where people ride their bikes (in Lance's case, next to the synergy-rich Lance Armstrong Bikeway), as opposed to where people go to shop.

3. Bike Sharing -- A few retailers grumble about publicly-funded bike sharing leeching their business. We love bike sharing, and so do they, according to the article.

4. Common workflow efficiency tool -- A dumbwaiter. "Mellow Johnny's" will make use of a dumbwaiter to move bits between floors, as City Bikes did back in the old days (photo evidence to follow).

5. Rumours of performance enhancing drug use -- Lance and our ownership team have both been accused of ingesting substances that enhance performance of a variety of tasks.

Welcome to the industry, Lance. Wanna split a shuttle ride at Frostbike this weekend?

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