Say hi to Lesley at Roscoe Village Bikes here!
1) How/when did you get into cycling as a profession?
We opened Roscoe Village Bikes in March 2007 and that's when I entered into the professional side of cycling. Prior to that I was the Manager of Children's Programs at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. My husband, Alex, had been working professionally in the cycling industry for about eight years before we opened.
2) How does your organization directly benefit cyclists?
We benefit cyclists by offering bikes, accessories, and repair services to help people to get and stay on bikes.
3) Do you specialize in a certain type of cycling?
Our store is located in Roscoe Village on Roscoe St. just west of Damen Ave., so we serve a lot of commuters and families. We consider ourselves a neighborhood shop and since there are a lot of different cyclists in the neighborhoods of Chicago, including competitive, commuter and recreational riders, we work on and sell all types of bikes for all types of riders.
4) What are your "must-have" items for cycling (this could be a tool, an accessory, a food, etc.)
There are a lot of accessories that are nice to have, but lights, locks, helmets, and fenders (or at least a clip-on seatpost fender) are a must have for year round commuting. I also recommend rain pants. I went to the University of Oregon where rain pants were practically a uniform for those of us that rode year round. Not only are rain pants great for rain, snow, and wind, they keep you clean and help prolong the life of your jeans!
5) What do you see as the biggest area of opportunity in your niche market?
Cyclo-Cross racing is increasingly popular, but I think that the most opportunities for growth in our industry right now are in commuting. There are new commuters all the time, as well as commuters pushing their limits by riding farther and for more days of the year. Manufacturers are responding with better bikes and accessories geared towards daily riders.
6) How do you think the cycling community has changed in the last year or two?
Social media has allowed cyclists to connect with one another in new ways. People are using it to plan rides, start discussions, promote events, and comment on race news. That's been an interesting change and those stronger interpersonal ties will probably continue to have impacts on advocacy work.
7) If you could go on a bike ride with anyone (living or dead), who would it be?'
I'm going to be cheesy here and say my husband, Alex, on our Co-Motion tandem. We don't ride it nearly as often as I wish we did, but every time we do it is a joy.