Encourage bike stores
“If you want people to ride bikes, it helps to have a bike store,” said Lewisburg’s Hill and Holler Bicycle Works owner Merrick Tracy. Bike stores often repair bikes and offer community programs. In 2000, there were less than 10 bike stores in West Virginia. Now there are about four dozen.
“West Virginia is an ideal place to bike, and we’d like to get as many people on bikes as possible,” Tracy said. “There are a lot of ways to do that, whether it’s fixing bikes they already have, buying a new bike, renting a bike, brokering a used bike in some way. Depending on their budget, it’s fitting the right bike to the right person for the right price.”
Want a bike store in your area?
- Visit a West Virginia bike store and talk with them. See how they do it.
- The Bicycle Exchange Web site provides a listing of West Virginia bike stores. A nearby store might be interested in opening a branch in your community.
- Encourage rentals. Scroll down on the above site to find West Virginia bike stores that rent bikes. If your local bike store doesn’t rent bikes, ask if they would consider it. Ask what they would need in order to do it. http://www.bikexchange.com/bs_a304.htm
- Read “Want to start a bike shop?” from the National Bicycle Dealers Association. They spell out the difficulties of starting a bicycle-only store. Is there a related business in your community that would want to take it on as a sideline? http://nbda.com/articles/want-to-start-a-bike-shop-pg70.htm
- Read a much more optimistic, low-key take: “Start a bike shop in a small town,” in Mother Earth News: http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/start-a-bike-shop-zmaz74zhol.aspx#axzz2jWkCbpb8
- Another low-key take, good advice from a guy who made it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp69CRqfHTs
- Type “how to open a bike store” into a search engine and find lots more advice.
- Some cities have bike share racks. In a bike share, you put money into a bike dock and get a bike you can ride to another dock. This video shows how it works in the D.C. area. Here is a video that shows how you can use easily-available statistics to predict the success of bikeshare in your community.