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  1. #1
    Ugly bag of mostly water ItsForrest's Avatar
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    Seattle, Belltown area. What services do local commuters/riders need?

    I work for a local scooter shop near 1st and Denny. We have been discussing expanding our business to serve the growing bicycle commuter set. As a bike geek myself, I am pretty excited about this and would love to hear some feedback from local bicyclists and bike commuters. What services do you want or need in this area?

    We have discussed;
    Bike storage/parking,
    Lockers and changing rooms,
    Bike rentals,
    Service and repair.

    We don't plan to sell new bikes or offer a huge assortment of accessories. I just don't think we could possibly compete with online sales or big retails like REI and Performance but we would have a selection of basics like tubes, tires and helmets.

    What would you like to see in the neighborhood?

  2. #2
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    Since your location gives OK bus access into downtown it seems like bike storage and locker room services would be nice--Especially overnight/reserved lockers so that commuters don't have to bring all their stuff each day; I'd definitely pay for that. The only downside is that it seems like your shop is a bit out of the way unless you're coming down from Queen Anne. If you're offering bike storage, I would think service/repair would a be a no-brainer service to offer.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Medic Zero's Avatar
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    Hey Forrest! (Karl here)

    One thing I'd like to see someone offer is something like a bicycle equivalent to a car service stations water/air compressor, with a nice floor pump and maybe a couple of tools that people don't commonly carry, but might need when something goes wrong on the road. That and maybe a small workbench to patch that flat you got on the way in. This might be outside something your business wants to provide, but I'd be tempted to say that it might get people coming in the shop and create some goodwill that would probably translate into customer loyalty. Have you seen the Bicycle Fix Station concept?

    I don't know what hours the scooter shop keeps, but one advantage you might have right off the bat is if you are open before most bike shops. One of the frustrations of commuters is not being able to drop off their bike at the mechanics on their way into work because they aren't open yet.

    The idea of having bike lockers there is awesome! I wonder if this would be purely a monthly rental type thing? Frankly I'm afraid to lock up my nice commuter downtown sometimes, if there was a reasonable daily rate I think I'd take advantage of that on days when I need to come downtown to run some errands, and just run them on foot from your shop.

    Although I am lucky enough to not need lockers or changing rooms I think this would be a great boon for some folks, especially if you could provide a shower to go with it!

    One other thing, you might consider selling some tools. I suspect some commuters get into it without tools on their bike and realize the need on the road in the rain. If you sold a bike multi-tool or two and carried portable pumps you'd probably sell some of these.
    ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model

  4. #4
    Ugly bag of mostly water ItsForrest's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback.
    Hi Karl!

    I agree that commuter services such as lockers and bike storage are only going to be useful for commuters coming from the right direction and working a convenient bus ride or walk from us. If we were closer to the business core we could be more useful to more people.

    Lots of talk at this point. We shall see where it ends up going and what people ask for when they start seeing bikes in our windows.
    The scooter business started with rentals. Having a rental fleet meant we had to have a workshop. With a workshop it was a no brainer to offer repair and service. From there it was a matter of time and investment capital to expend into offering scooters and accessories for sale.

    I see the same start with bicycles. We already get a steady stream of calls asking for bicycle rentals. If we have rental bikes, we will have to have a workshop. If we have a workshop, we have to have parts and supplies on hand so it would be silly not to offer parts and service to the public.
    As for lockers and bike storage, it sounds like a great idea but it will have to be some months down the road as the business models evolves and defines itself.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    A secure parking area with a Paid attendant?
    Eugene, C.A.T, started 'Valet Parking' for Bicycles at summer events.

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