Editor’s Note: Another introduction in what will hopefully be a long lived series: retail shop owners (female and sometimes male!) who have done the previously unimaginable: taking women seriously as customers and as an important part of making cycling inclusive, rather than exclusive.
I hear from traditional bike shop owners from all over the country that women simply don’t shop in their stores for anything but a bike, tubes and maybe a spandex short or basket. Or that they don’t want to sacrifice precious floorspace. So it’s no wonder that Pedal Chic‘s Robin Bylenga didn’t start her shop with either a proven business model or a lot of peer support. But thankfully she didn’t let that stop her and Pedal Chic has gone on to be one of a small handful of shops that are not only paying the rent, but bringing new joy to cycling for local female riders. Here’s her story:
- shop driven Women-Only rides
- unusual event such as our recent “Intimate Conversations” evening: bra-fittings, and discussions with cycling coaches about saddle issues, chamois creams, “bike hygiene” and other conversations women were simply afraid to discuss. Basically, making private conversations more comfortable.
- Fashion Show: We built a 16′ runway and had a cycling fashion show with women on all types of bikes, more importantly, women in all sizes from XS to 4X were able to show how every woman can look fabulous head-to-toe on her bicycle of choice.
- We have a full-time bike mechanic and have periodic classes on bicycle maintenance “Women with Wrenches”