Tucson is getting yet another bicycle shop, but this one comes with a twist.
Both its location and its business plan are a bit different than a traditional bicycle shop.
The owners of Tucson’s Loop Bicycle Shop hope to be open sometime in April and say their shop will actually be more of a bicycle convenience store for cyclists riding along the Santa Cruz River Path.
“If you get a flat or something you always have to get home and either drive or make another special trip to a bike shop to get tubes or whatever you might need,” Michael Wilkinson, one of the shops owners said. “We are hoping to be a little more convenient than that being right on the loop.”
When Wilkinson, says “right on the loop,” he means it.
Wilkinson is opening the shop with his boss Robert McCoy, who owns a landscape materials business located next to the Santa Cruz path just north of El Camino Del Cerro.
Wilkinson said both he and McCoy are avid cyclists and they have daydreamed about starting a bicycle shop. When they found out the paved path the county was building next to their property was going to be part of a 55-mile loop, they decided to open up a shop next to it.
“Our gate is going to be 10 feet from the path,” he said.
Since they also run a landscape businesses, Wilkinson said the hours will be limited at first and hopes the business will grow.
He said they plan to be open at 8 a.m. on weekdays to serve commuters who ride through the area and recreational riders for the rest of the morning.
Although at first the shop will not have a mechanic, it will have tubes, tires, parts, food and drinks.
Wilkinson said they are also planning on having rental bikes so visitors can ride along the Santa Cruz and Rillito Paths when they are visiting Tucson.
Right now, the area where the shop will be is filled with equipment, but Wilkinson said they are working on clearing the space out and hope to have that completed soon.
When they are done, he said they will set up a table and spend some time giving away water bottles and snacks, while asking cyclists what they would like to see from a bicycle convenience store along the path.
“I know it is kind of an odd spot, but we are just so close to the path we are hoping to draw people that direction,” he said. “We’re not sure how it is all going to work out, we are just allowing it to weed itself out.”
You can “like” Tucson’s Loop Bicycle Shop on Facebook to see what they are up to.
17 thoughts on “Tucson’s newest bike shop has a twist”
I love it… pretty low-traffic section of the path though, hope they do well.
I kind of think this is a brilliant idea. I hope it does well. The Loop would be an excellent place for businesses. I wouldn’t be surprised if more don’t pop up. 🙂
I would like an organic fruit stand, tire repair station with air, and outdoor bathrooms. The bathrooms along the Loop now aren’t designed for cyclists. There aren’t any bike racks at the park bathrooms and even when there is somewhere to lock up people don’t usually have locks and stuff with them because they are riding for fitness and fun. That means you have to take your bike inside the stall with you or have a friend watch it while you go. Have you ever tried to fit a bicycle in a bathroom stall? I have.
Maybe something like this.
I’m with the guys above, I like the idea and hope they do well.
Opening at 8:00 is missing the rush tho. They should try opening at 5:00 AM for a month or so to see when they get the most flow. I think they’ll find that 5:30 to 8:30 will be the most profitable time for them during the summer. It may not be as good in the winter tho, so I think they just need to play around with it.
One more thing, following on Frank’s thoughts on restrooms, it’d be nice if they had a couple of individual stalls with their own doors that were sized so you could easily take your bike in.
Also, ‘yes’ on bananas, apples and pears.
Definitely a neat idea to have a bicycle convenience store along The Loop. Might take a bit of time to catch on, but hopefully they have staying power.
For sure, restrooms are needed along that stretch of The Loop – there doesn’t seem to be many available from downtown north to Rillito. I don’t count the blue lounges . . .
Restrooms are available a third of a mile from there at the ballpark we built on the south side of Camino del Cerro and west side of the Santa Cruz. The path goes right by it. And the location has bike racks but you can also easily fit a bike inside the bathroom stall if you prefer (bents might be a bit more difficult).
With food trucks propagating in the Old Pueblo, can a bike truck or two be far behind? You know, find the optimal locations, follow the events, learn the market, etc. Perhaps a simple old panel truck could fan out from the convenience store…
That story is coming on Friday!
Truth be told, when using the facilities near the Himmel Park tennis court, I do take my bike into the stall with me.
Jaime is out every weekend with his coffee truck. Peddler on the Path, drinks, bananas, coffee, tools, a stand and air. He also shows up at events, GABA Swap, El Tour, the gem show
The ADA stalls between 22nd and Speedway along the path fit bikes just fine.
Bathrooms are in the works. We want to make it a safe clean rest stop for everyone.
We need to support the biking community; what a great innovative idea.
I have a question for the owners. Since they own a landscape business and bike shop they are the perfect ones to ask.
I had a dream that I planted apple trees along the Loop and when they grew up I stopped under one and ate an apple. Do apple trees require more water than mesquite trees? How about orange trees? My idea is to turn The Loop into an organic urban fruit garden free to the public. All the city would need to do is plant fruit trees instead of mesquite.
Apple, orange, pomegranate, fig, apricot, what ever grows in Tucson and uses about the same amount of water. Free fruit for bike riders and joggers and that would get us noticed by the Platinum City people. Plus it would kick butt if The Loop were a food forest like they have in Seattle. http://beaconfoodforest.weebly.com/design.html
Can we do it? I want to do it.
I agree with you, 3wheeler. during the summer months my morning ride is all over by 8:30. Opening at 8 is not a great idea. Maybe in he fall, but not now.
With enough water many of the stone fruits are possible. The question is who will pay for all of this. You have to have someone willing to pay for the water, pay for the initial investment of the trees, and then pay for the upkeep/maintenance of said trees.
I would be careful throwing around the word “organic” with a human waste water facility so close though…
Have been watching & waiting for this to open. They are indeed open & we stopped on a ride last week. Talked to Michael (nice guy) & checked out the shop. Tires, tubes, & things for a quick repair. Snacks, coffee, & cold drinks with shaded seating. They even have local art and jerseys! All in all, a nice addition to the loop. Since they do have other jobs I can see why they aren’t open earlier in the morning. If they have great business they can expand hours & inventory so be sure to support them.