A quick “day in the life” as I drop off the kids and head to my old bike shop one last time to finish up an interview with Hardt Family Cyclery for Tern Bicycles and say a final goodbye to my old bike shop.
If this article is public then I have officially shut down the “bike shop” version of bike shop girl. I hope I haven’t made a mess of URL redirects too bad, if I did – I’ll fix it soon.
Not many of my customers from the bike shop know that Bike Shop Girl started as a website in 2008 for me to help empower women in cycling. For many years it was THE goto source for women’s cycling info, this was a decade ago! Over the years I even made a living off the website while continuing to work in the bike industry. After opening the bike shop the outlet of a “blog” ended and life was all about work and making my dream a reality. Well now that I don’t need to make a living on this website, I get to pour out my thoughts a bit more unfiltered once again.
As I type this, I’m in the last days of owning a bike shop. That pile pictured above is the last thing I need to cleanout. This time of cleaning has allowed me to reflect on what makes me tick as I box, sell, and donate what is left of my bike shop dream.
Ultimately, I love bikes.
I love the act of riding, seeing the world from a perspective that no other form of travel or excercise provides. I love the feel of being on my bike and being given permission to explore, find adventure, and the freedom of not being confined by a metal box. I can see the flowers grow, smell the scent of laundry in someone’s dryer, and try a new route to get to where I want to go. I love, love, love the community that bikes bring together. Now more than ever, I believe that bikes can solve many problems in the world and that community is going to be vital to it.
I hope to spend the remainder of 2020 unplugged from BSG, focusing on my family, myself, and then my new role with Tern Bicycles. Once I have hit reset, and have a healthier balance in life – including sleeping through the night without checking if the shop alarm has gone off – I’m going to return to these pages with the continued goal of helping you bike more and worry less. Almost as much as I love riding bikes, I love helping get more people on bikes knowing they are sharing the same joy and freedom I experience every day.
If you have a pressing matter you can contact me at arleigh at bikeshopgirl.com. I’ll be checking emails every few days. Thanks for your patience and grace as I close an important chapter of my life and prepare for the next one,
We have decided we need to be closer to family, especially during this most difficult year, and to do this I’m closing my bike shop at the end of 2020. Thank you for being apart of one of the most rewarding chapters of my life. I hope you’ll share a few minutes with me to watch my announcement video:
The Good News: Another family cyclery will be opening up where I’m leaving off, and my next chapter will just build off of this one and I can’t wait to share that with you soon!
Pictured are my two beautiful children and my “why” for fighting climate change.
The Global Climate Strike week has begun. Tomorrow, September 20th, is the big day in the US. I’ve been reading about so many businesses closing and striking which has left me feeling very torn about keeping my bike shop open on such an important day.
Last year I set out to do the one thing I knew I could do well to help make this world a better place, and in some way have my own daily climate strike – I decided to open a bike shop. A bike shop with the goal of getting more people out of their cars and on to their bikes. Sure, I could have kept on the path of working as a marketing exec but this bike shop is the ONE unique thing I know I offer this world in hopes to make it a better place for my children to grow up in. When we talk about climate change it is really my children I fear for the most and why I can’t sleep some nights thinking about the world they may grow old in.
In less than 10 months our bike shop has helped so many customers avoid car trips, and a few have gone car light, including my family! We have sold dozens of cargo bikes, hundreds of kids bikes, and fixed up countless old bikes to be new daily commuters.
Tomorrow is a Friday which is a very busy day at the bike shop. A day that I can’t afford to be closed for but honestly I find that my voice and my actions are best suited in my bike shop tomorrow.
Tomorrow I’ll set up two different moms on cargo bikes for them to try school pick up and drop off. Two families will drive a little bit less due to my actions tomorrow. I’ll also finish building a new customer’s commuter bike which means he will probably have fewer reasons to drive after tomorrow.
As much as I would like to be on the streets with the #climatestrike, I’ll be in my bike shop fighting my own personal fight of helping people replace as many car trips as possible.
It doesn’t make much sense to be publishing this BUT in the slim chance this works out, I want this to be documented for history sake.
There is a small glimmer of opening a bike shop in my future. Whew.
I say a small glimmer because I submitted a letter of interest to a location. I don’t know if the owner will want us or if our offer was reasonable enough in the minds but the location is perfect. Close to our house in east Denver, Colorado and 30 feet from my children’s school. The space is a corner unit on a main bike corridor to the major Anschutz medical campus.
The area is in need of a friendly bike shop, heck most of Denver is need of a family-focused and inclusive bike shop. I’m in need of making a bike shop focused on getting more people on bikes. More families, more women, and creating that inclusive bike shop that makes everyone feel welcome to spend time in for a while.
I’m picturing city, electric, kid, and cargo bikes. A calendar of events with a store focused on getting more the 60% of “interested but concerned” people on bikes.
The mission and goals sound simple but will be very unique in the making. A rolling list of barriers we need to help overcome for our community, and probably your community too, in order to make biking more attainable for more people.
At this point, there are too many unknowns but the business plan(s) is drafted and the potential brands have been contacted. Fingers crossed that we can make this happen!