Mitch Marrison, PeopleForBikes retail program coordinator
In almost any town or city, bike shops are the hub of the bicycling community. They are the hub of the PeopleForBikes community, too. We have more than 1,000 retailer members spreading the word about PeopleForBikes, bringing new riders into the movement and collecting donations to help fund our Community Grants program.
Each month we showcase one of our retailer members who is going above and beyond to help improve bicycling in their own community. Last month we turned our blog over to our friends at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Bike Shop & Bike Share System. This month, we spoke to Suzie Livingston at Lee’s Cyclery and Fitness in Colorado about how they’re making biking better throughout northern Colorado and their plans to get more women on bicycles in 2015.
PeopleForBikes: Tell us about the history of the Lee’s Cyclery and Fitness.
Livingston: Lee’s Cyclery was founded in 1963 in the Old Town area of Fort Collins. We later expanded to include two additional stores, the most recent being in Loveland in 2008. Our current owner, Archie Solsky, purchased Lee’s more than 30 years ago.
What do the shops look like today?
Archie renovated our original location, which is across from Colorado State University, to its current size and more modern look while still preserving the original architecture. Each of our stores maintain their historical roots by displaying our owner’s collection of vintage bikes.
Owner, Archie Solsky, after completing a coast-to-coast ride from Portland, OR to Portland, ME
In what ways are the shops involved with your local community?
Lee’s Cyclery helps support many local bicycling groups, races and events. You can always find one of our mechanics at the New Belgium Short Track mountain bike race series, a grassroots local favorite held in May, providing free support. We encourage employees to race and attend these events, which benefit the Ciclismo Youth Foundation, a local youth and high school bike racing program. Just a few weeks ago during the holiday season, we sent 140 bikes off to Bikes for Tykes! Furthermore, we volunteer at Bike to Work days and Open Streets events by providing free bicycle maintenance, handing out patch kits and sharing PeopleForBikes information.
The New Belgium Short Track Mountain Bike Race Series
What are some unique ways has your shop reached out to new PeopleForBikes supporters?
When attending local events like Bike to Work Day and Open Streets, we use the opportunity to hand out those buttons and stickers everyone loves. While helping our large community of bike commuters decorate their bags in support of PeopleForBikes, we talk about why, as riders, we should unite towards our common riding goals.
Two of your three locations are situated near Colorado State University. What percentage of your customers are students? Are your shops involved with anything that happens bike-wise on campus?
Our north store is located just across the street from Colorado State University. It’s hard to estimate a percentage, but back to school time is our busiest time of the year! We love helping students from all around the country get familiar with our bike-friendly community and become dedicated bike commuters. Although we are not directly connected to anything on campus, we are always happy to be a resource for students when it comes to all things riding and bike safety.
Lee’s Cyclery’s north location, directly across from Colorado State University’s campus
Do you have one day in the shop that stands out as the most memorable?
Honestly, every day is a new and memorable challenge. Working with bikes gives us the opportunity to improve peoples’ lives in so many amazing ways. As we all know, there is nothing quite like new bike day!
Do you have any big plans for your store for 2015?
For 2015, one of our biggest goals is to continue to get more women on bikes. All of us at Lee’s are very passionate about helping women gain the empowerment we all feel from riding bikes. Furthermore, a few employees are working on creating educational and beginner friendly weekly mountain and road rides. At least a couple rides per month will be women-only and led by one of our female employees.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, PeopleForBikes! 🙂
A big thanks to Suzie, Paul and the rest of the crew over at Lee’s for their continued support!