bikerly blog

Independence, Freedom and the Lizard Brain.

In cycling, good business, seth school on July 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm

This 4th of July is a rainy one. Perfect for a bike ride, blog post and thoughts on freedom. I come from a family of farmers – the first in my family to be employed by someone else. My dad, his dad, my dad’s dad’s dad… never reported to a supervisor or experienced an annual peer review.

This was the thought on my mind this morning. I’m explaining another potential business plan to my wife. She’s reading People magazine. One kid is sleeping in the crib. The other on the computer upstairs. I ramble on…

Bike shop with a xtracycle, cargo bike/trailer niche and also a place to get a good coffee, soup and a sandwich. A community hub for bike enthusiasts… maybe even rent out a bike stand for people who want to do it themselves but don’t have all the tools… an eclectic place with soul. Used bikes, single speeds, fixies, (mountain bikes perhaps) or a custom design shop where we sit down with customers, design to meet their specific needs and build.

I continue to yammer about cool businesses I’ve discovered like Sweetpea Bicycles, Surly, xtracycle, Bike Trailer Shop, and Peace Coffee. Alot of uh-huhs from my wife… I dream alot, she knows this better than any.

The business plan needed some work so I decided no better place than on the bike. About 15 minutes into my normal loop the clouds started to unload. Wet. But I love riding in the rain so I decided to pedal on and try a new route.

Along the route I came across this property for sale. The note on the window said it was winterized… seemingly vacated for some time. The house was nothing special but what appealed to me was the shop space and the fact it was positioned right across from a local elementary school – a place that the local bike club uses for regular bike ride start/end points. Trails are nearby and connected to just about everywhere.

Could this be future corporate headquarters for Bikerly Bikes?

The property needed some work but I envisoned employee campfires, beer drinking while wrenching on the job and all kinds of crazy fun stuff (not pictured is a great basketball court) Real bikerly stuff.

Then in the backyard I find the perfect hideout, slash castle, slash bunker, slash whatever my son can dream of… the place seems to have it all.

The thing I wonder about is this… remembering the days on the farm, we would be out doing chores on Independence Day while my friends were at the lake. There was always work to do, holidays no exception. And, raising livestock was not my dream. It was bonafide work and it stunk.

What about owning a bike shop? What would happen with my bike passion if I ended up doing more wrenching than riding? How would it impact the family? Could being an independent owner of a business actually end in less freedom or is this just the lizard brain talking again?

  1. My paternal grandmother was from Minneapolis,Minnesota. Knowing that your great bicycle business is going to be in Minnesota will give me the incentive to finally look up never-met-but-really-wanted-to-all-along family members.

    It’s a pleasure following your upates on Twitter and now I’m going to read your posts here.

    Thank you kindly,

    Emma Howard

  2. Thanks for the note, Emma. Small world. I spent a few months living in Hawaii. My first job out of college at the Queens Medical Center. Several rides to and fro work on theBus… like your current designs on them 🙂

  3. Starting the business will change your life and your kids’ lives – it can also give them a unique and wonderful childhood. If the shop turns into more work than fun than you can move on to something else. It’s totally okay to change course. Bikerly Bikes sounds like a dream worth following….

  4. Bikerly Bikes, and the specific things you are envisioning, sound absolutely *wonderful*! A lot of work, for sure – but sounds like a labor of love, and like Myrna said, life-changing in a great way. (And one more incentive for me to want to relocate to MN! 😉

  5. You are the only one who will know if you are the “own your own business” type. For me, I’m happiest not owning a business and not running things. Ideally, I work in shops, I work on projects but I really value being able to be able to flex things around so I can do things like ride my bike for a month or go off into the mountains for a couple of days.

    My best advice, work in a shop for a year. But here’s the thing, if you’re really an own your own thing guy, you’ll just ignore that advice and go for it. And that’ll be the right move for you!

    Good luck with whatever adventures you wind up having,

    Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson
    Issaquah WA USA

  6. I checked with a realtor on Tuesday and sadly the property has an offer 😦

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