What’s the business you do out of your garage?
It’s basically a bicycle servicing shop and selling parts and accessories for the bikes. Our shop is in Tuxedo in the northwest. The garage has been transformed into a shop.
Are you an avid cyclist yourself?
Yeah, I don’t do it as much because I’m so busy working. I used to race. But I’ve done all sorts of biking: downhill, road biking, mountain bike, trials, anything. I used to race downhill in provincial championships a few years back and did some Canada Cup races, mostly local, though.
Is the racing quite dangerous?
Downhill can be. You’re going 70 km/hr in some sections.
Have you ever had a bad wipeout?
I did once but I didn’t really hurt myself. I just broke my new helmet. I’ve been lucky for the most part.
How do your customers know about you?
Mostly word of mouth and I put ads on kijiji.ca and I have my website too. We just finished the seven-day race, TransRockies, and after that we got a lot of business. In Calgary, it’s mostly commuters that we take care of. We do a lot of suspension and fork overhauls on bikes.
How did you get into this?
When I was 13 I did job shadowing at school and I loved it. Then I kept working my summers full time in bike shops and eventually built my way up. I work in Kensington in a bike shop and after work, I ride home and do my garage business.
Is this seasonal work?
Yeah, during the winter I usually go to Thailand and hang out there, then come back in late winter.
Did you participate in the seven-day TransRockies?
Ric and I were mechanics, taking care of bikes for the whole week. It’s a huge event. You should see what happens to the bikes. They’re a mess. Most of them are just trashed from the conditions. We didn’t ride in it. I just don’t have the endurance to do it.
What do you think of Calgary as a bike-friendly city?
It’s OK for the most part. I’ve lived all across Canada so I’ve had the opportunity to see what other cities do. Calgary could focus on putting more bike lanes in on the main streets. And there should be more driver awareness of cyclists. It would be nice if there were something implemented in the licensing process when you get your vehicle, focusing on road cyclists and the kind of things you should look for and the rules.
Is the business of servicing bikes lucrative these days?
Oh yeah. If you play your cards right you can be very successful at it. It really depends on your location and the reputation you have in the end.
What’s the difference between your garage shop and a bicycle retail store?
We focus on strictly service, which allows us to focus directly on that. We don’t sell bikes. Our labour rates are a little cheaper because we don’t have the overhead of having to pay for retail square footage.