The Bike Retailer Disconnect and You

Business has been keeping us busy at the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop, and that is a good thing (aside from the time away from our families and other interests). We’ve struck a chord with people, and what we sell (and how we operate our shop), has helped us get a fairly high profile (as far as bike shops go) considering we’ve only been in business for a little over a year.

Visiting Interbike this year (for the first time) it was interesting to see the bike industry in all its glory – carbon fiber stuff, super duper high-tech thingies, and and expanded footprint for “transportation” bicycles.

Fortunately for us (“transportation” bike dealers that we are), it seems that there is a pretty sizable disconnect between bicycle retailers (who focus on athletic or recreational cycling markets) and a growing interest in cycling from the general public. In short, industry research shows that normal people are interested in using bikes to get around.

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News published a story by Matt Weibe in July of 2009 entitled “Transportation Bikes Take Flight at Retail

Transportation bikes are beginning to gain the acceptance and sales success that mountain bikes enjoyed in recent years.

“The time is right now. So much has changed in the past few years—the price of gas, global warming and the environmental movement. Everyone is interested in bikes,” said Robin Sansom, Globe brand manager.

“This year sales of $7,000 bikes have completely stopped, with most of our road business in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. Foot traffic into that store is very small, but the commuter side of the business is swamped. Our profit is significantly less on each bike sale, but our volume has pushed our business close to last year,” [Jonathan] Pastir [manager of Bicycle Habitat] said.

However, most retailers are still committed to the enthusiast market and lack interest in the casual bike category.

It turns out that people in North America aren’t looking for a Tour de Something medal, nor are they hoping to bust rad tricks on a vert ramp, nor are they looking to throw out shakas to the bro’s while mountain biking off a ledge. People in North America want solid, comfortable, beautiful bicycles that will get them from A to B. Done, end of story, put the stretchy pants back on the mannequin thanks, I’ll ride this bike home in the clothes I walked in wearing.

I sometimes turn on my laptop and click a bookmarked link to this story to remind myself that, somewhere out there in L.A., someone grown up is looking for a bit of civil fun, a bit of wind in their hair, and the ability to do it all wearing what you like (boots, heels, dress shoes, a skirt, a long coat, tight jeans, you name it).

Along with our selection of stock, and modified, Flying Pigeon bicycles we now carry a line of Batavus Dutch bikes, Torker city bikes, Gazelle bicycles, with Biomega, nihola, Henry Workcycles, Pashley and more on tap or a few days away in storage. If you’re looking for a bike to elegantly get you from A to B, no extra gear needed, give us a call at 213-909-8986 or email us for more information at info@flyingpigeon-la.com

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