Bicycle Garage Indy (BGI), Bill Stepanek, Challenge Schwinn, Changes, College Park Bicycles, Corporate Store, Cycling Spoken Here (CSH), Derek Stepanek, LLC, North Fulton Schwinn, Northtowne Cycling and Fitness, Outspokin Bicycles, Randy Clark, Suncoast Trailside Bicycles
I started cycling in 1980 and have been employed in bike shops since 1986. In my 33 years in the industry I have worked for nine store owners at twelve different locations in six states. April ups the number of store owners to ten, while leaving the other two metrics unchanged: Cycling Spoken Here (CSH), my current, independently owned Trek store, is going corporate.
Thirty-three years is a long time and, like any long term relationship, cycling and I have had our ups and downs. My honeymoon with cycling was extended. I loved cycling and I loved bikes. It was the passion that got me into cycling retail, but as I aged things mellowed. My love for bikes declined but my admiration and respect for cycling, for the regenerative power it has for body, mind and spirit, far eclipsed any nuts-n-bolts fetish. (BTW- I met my wife the same month I started cycling and we wed in 1986. I fully understand that maturing and mellowing relationships are still love felt and quite possibly stronger than rose-colored-glasses, honeymoon-eyed ones.)
In my nine owner, twelve store history I have been through one store relocation and one change of ownership. In 1996 Bicycle Garage Indy (BGI) moved from a strip mall location to a large, stand-alone, more easily accessed spot and a dozen years later Derek Stepanek began to purchase Northtowne Cycling and Fitness from his father, Bill. Both changes were progress; an out with the old, in with the new, fresh start, new beginning experience. I expect this transition from a LLC to a corporate store to also bring favorable changes.
Having worked at a dozen locations for a double fist-full of store owners I expect my transition from LLC to corporate to be angst free, after all, I’ve now danced this tango with nine separate partners, I’m pretty sure I know how to count T, A, N, G, O and keeping that basic dance move in mind while learning how my new partner leads, follows and controls is something in which I’m well practiced.
Here’s to my next cycling industry experience. Wish me luck!