Mitch Marrison, PeopleForBikes retail program coordinator
In almost any town or city, bike shops are the hubs of the bicycling community. They are important to PeopleForBikes too: we have more than 1,000 retailer members 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 Peddler Bike Shop in Tennessee and Mississippi. This month, we spoke with Valerie Gernazian, business manager of Cycleworks, about bicycling in Georgia and what they’re doing to mark their 30th anniversary in business.
PeopeleForBikes: Tell us about the history of Cycleworks
Valerie Gernazian: Cycleworks founder Mark Gernazian has always had a passion for bicycles. He grew up riding his bike all over the Atlanta area, put himself through college and graduate school working in bike shops, and celebrated his graduation with a solo ride across America on the Bikecentennial Trail in 1981. Realizing that he needed to follow his passion, he started Cycleworks in 1985 as a one-store operation in Roswell, Georgia. The business grew to four stores by 2004, but then reconsolidated to its original two stores in Roswell and Duluth.
Mark and the staff are passionate about helping people experience the joys and benefits of bicycling. Because we all believe in bicycling as a means of enriching lives and communities, we have worked hard to grow the bicycling infrastructure in our area and provide more opportunities for people to ride bikes on road, off road and in organized races and events. We have also leveraged bicycling as a means to support many other meaningful causes, such as foster care programs, local schools, Wounded Warriors, and countless others. Our tagline, ?Beyond the Ride,? highlights this commitment to using bicycling as a means of touching lives and improving the world around them.
What do the shops look like today? Does each shop cater to different types of riders?
Selling everything from high-end custom road and mountain bikes, to Electra cruisers, to children’s tricycles, Cycleworks caters to all types and levels of cyclists. We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome in our stores.
The 5-hour Energy/Kenda Racing Team stops by Cycleworks for a group ride
In what ways is Cycleworks involved in the local community?
Mark has always been committed to making a difference in and through bicycling both nationally and locally. Early in his career, he served on the board of the National Bicycle Dealer Association (NBDA) for 12 years, helping to strengthen independent bicycle retailers and improve bicycling infrastructure. In his capacity with the NBDA, Mark was one of the nation’s first bicycle retailers to go to Washington D.C. to advocate for increased funding for bicycling infrastructure and education. In 1990, Mark spearheaded the establishment of the North Georgia Bicycle Dealer Association (NGBDA). Among other things, Mark and his colleagues in the NGBDA organized the Georgia Association of Promotors (GAP) which put on a series of mountain bike races for a number of years. The money collected from these races was then used to fund general bike advocacy and form the Georgia Bikes organization. In addition, Cycleworks? received a PeopleForBikes Community grant for the design of a trailhead at Rogers Bridge in Duluth, GA.
Atlanta was one of the first cities in the Green Lane Project initiative. How has the increase in bicycling infrastructure in the area affected business for your shop? What do you see as the future for bicycling in the Atlanta area?
While the Green Lane Project initiative has mostly been focused within the city limits of Atlanta, communities in our area have benefitted from construction of the Greenway trail system, the Big Creek Mountain Bike facility, the West Gwinnett Bikeway and Suwanee Trail as well as other initiatives in the area. With this growth in bicycling infrastructure we have seen more and more people who are interested in venturing into the sport. We have also seen growth in the bicycling community overall and a growing momentum for bicycling advocacy in the area. While this has brought about more competition through the years, it has also brought about more opportunities for us. We?re excited about future of cycling in our area!
Do you have one day in the shop that stands out as the most memorable?
After 30 years, it’s hard to pinpoint one day!
Shop dog, Max, helps greet customers and cashiers alike
What do you have planned for the shops in 2015?
2015 is a big year for Cycleworks. Not only does it mark our 30-year anniversary, but we are using the opportunity to do some rebranding. As we celebrate the past and all we?ve accomplished, we are also looking forward with great excitement. We have a number of celebratory rides and events planned throughout the year. Also, we have also expanded our regular shop ride offerings and are launching a North Georgia Gaps ride series. We are excited about the improvements being made in our stores and look forward to offering clients state of the art Pro-Fit and Saddle Mapping services, a mountain bike test track in Duluth and other unique services that will the enhance riding experience for all.
A big thanks to Valerie, Amos and the rest of the crew at Cycleworks!