Every super hero has an origin story. Superman is a humanoid alien with great strength and speed. Spiderman was bit by a radioactive spider, thus enhancing his senses supernaturally. Captain America was enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum to aid the United States government’s imminent efforts in World War II. And the stories go on and on.
We aren’t superheroes here at MonkeyBoy Bicycles, LLC, but we have an origin story as well.
Our origin story begins many years ago on the wheels of hand-me-down banana seated bicycles that squeaked and rattled and wobbled. Our bikes transformed into horses and motorcycles and took our play into the realm of fantasy. Back before riding in your street clothes was considered chic, we were rubbing the inside seams of our jeans threadbare on saddles and ripping the knees open as we crashed on pavement. As we grew older our bikes became our first mode of transportation to our best friend’s house, the neighborhood store, and even our first job. We lived too far out to ride our bikes to school but college offered up more opportunities to employ the bicycle as transportation. Into adulthood we took our bikes, giving each one a place of importance in our life. Sometimes they are used to commute to work, sometimes they are used for quaxing, and sometimes they are used simply for a flight to happiness, a mini-vacation in the midst of the grind of life. It is no small statement to say that we love our bikes. We honestly don’t know what we’d do without them. So we decided to channel that passion into a business.
MonkeyBoy Bicycles, LLC, has been a dream in the making for 15 years. On a visit to my brother in Seattle, we were both extolling the qualities of bicycling, reading, and coffee, when I popped off with, “we should open a bikes, books, and brew shop!” The idea stuck with us and grew as we both kept notebooks of our ideas. As fortune would have it, we eventually landed in the same city and our long distance conversations became exploratory rides through town, daydreaming about good locations.
While we had grand dreams, we started out small as a mobile bike repair shop. Donald would truck all over town in our little Cushman scooter repairing bikes for folks who didn’t have the means to take them to a brick-and-mortar shop. We worked SAG support for several local rides and helped with local school bike rodeos. We continued to dream and keep our notebooks of ideas.
About two years into the mobile bike repair business we finally decided we needed to pursue a storefront. We knew we wanted a bike shop that was different from all the others in our town. Our region is ripe with mountain and road biking but we wanted to encourage a lifestyle of riding, not just riding as a sport. In March of 2013 I approached Donald and our sister Patti with my proposal: “Okay, here’s the deal. I think it’s time to pursue a storefront. I can’t do it without you both. Are you with me?” To which they both responded, “Yes!” Within a couple months we had secured funding and shortly thereafter our first storefront location in a quaint shopping district. What started out as a one-year goal swiftly turned into a 6-month reality, and on September 6th, 2013, we celebrated our grand opening in a 600-square-foot storefront packed with colorful bicycles, helmets, clothing, and accessories. Our bicycle line-up included Brooklyn Bicycle Company, Papillionaire Bikes, Beater Bikes, Linus Lil Dutchie and Roadster, and KaZAM Balance Bikes. Now we also carry Detroit Bikes and Pure City Cycles.
Our business model immediately caught the eye of a local developer and a month after we opened at our first shop we were invited to consider moving to an up-and-coming district in a highly desirable location. After much consideration and negotiation we made the move into a brand new storefront just after our one-year shop anniversary. Since then we’ve placed third in two local contests for Best Bike Shop (which we think is saying something considering there are 15 bike shops in our city). We’ve added several other modes of transportation to our line-up, including Current Kick Scooters for those less inclined to ride bikes and ESLA Kicksleds for winter transportation. The wheels are starting to spin a little faster now that spring is on the way and we anticipate a fruitful year.
But like I said, we aren’t superheroes. However, we like to think that we can facilitate enhancing anyone’s lives by increasing their strength, speed, senses, and perfection… on a bicycle! We whole-heartedly believe in the life-changing power of the bicycle.