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What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name?

A lot, actually. A name can make you feel smart, funny, wise, strong, elegant, graceful, silly, nerdy, trendy, ordinary, extraordinary, and any number of adjectives. Our name is the primary indicator of our personality.

So what’s in our name?

We often get asked why we named our shop MonkeyBoy Bicycles. It’s a combination of things, really. First, it’s the nickname of several boys in our family, one of whom was climbing before he was walking. The second reason is more obscure and references a favorite sci-fi cult classic from the 80s, from whence the nickname for the boys was developed (bonus points for whomever can name that movie). Third, we consider our inventory as transport for the urban jungle. Fourth, our name conveys lightheartedness – a lightheartedness that comes with riding a bicycle. And lastly, it’s just a fun word to say. It rolls off the tongue and sticks in your memory.

 Monkeyboy monkeyboy monkeyboy….

We are often told that the name is engaging and funny and sometimes people will say their own kids/grandkids/nephews/nieces were also called monkey boy. We delight in this connection. It’s a small club but it’s a fun one, and it’s especially fun when people just “get it.”

Beyond that, we also name our bikes and we love that many of our customers do as well. Some think we’re weird but we’re okay with that. We think of our bikes like faithful friends who are there for us through thick and thin.

Until last summer my stable included the following: pixlr(1)

Birdie, a rebuilt 1973 Schwinn Varsity. Birdie was a cast away rescued from the waste transfer station. I found her with drop bars, black handlebar tape, and a black saddle. Birdie was retrofitted with upright handlebars and converted into a single speed. She was a bright canary yellow and had a persistent squeak that sounded like a songbird – hence the name Birdie. She went to live with a young college girl last summer. I like to imagine her gliding and chirping through campus, happily transporting her girl to class.

Speedy, a Specialized OCR3 road bike. Speedy languished in my basement for years before I decided to put her out of her misery and rehome her to someone who would ride her. Speedy was light as a feather and so responsive that I often felt clumsy riding her. Despite the fact that I hadn’t ridden her in nearly 10 years, one of my best memories includes Speedy – a sunny 73-mile day trip along the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alene’s in 2004. I hope she’s found many rolling miles of joy with her new rider.

My current stable includes the following:

Lena, a single speed immigrant from Japan (literally). I bought her at a yard sale for $75 from a guy whose dad bought her when he was deployed to Japan many years ago. Her chain guard says “La Collena” and underneath that, Home Sweet Home. Lena is a single speed, built for the “slow cycling” movement. She’s a sweet light sky blue with swooping lines and curves. She is graceful and delicate but strong and she’s my quaxing partner. Many times Lena has carried pounds of groceries piled into her front basket and rear rack tote, helping me provide sustenance for my family.

And lastly, Biancha, a 7-speed internal hub Bianchi Milano. She’s the first bike I bought new 12 years ago, specifically for the purpose of commuting to work. She’s a big-boned, no nonsense, sturdy, and reliable bike with plenty of scars from our adventures. Biancha has faithfully and safely carried me hundreds of miles through traffic over the years.

Donald and Patti both name their bikes, too.  Donald has Pondo, Tardis, and Boncho. Patti has Leona, Mia, and Brittania. Even our mother, who has four bikes in her stable, has named every one of them, including Rhoda, Erica, Winnie, and Annie. It’s pretty clear that naming our bikes is a family tradition.

I sometimes consider adding another bike to my stable, perhaps a bright Boston Red Papillionaire Sommer or a Sea Glass green Brooklyn Bicycle Company Willow 3. Either would make a fine addition to my collection. I wonder what I’d name them?

What about you? Do you name your bikes? Please introduce us to your stable of bikes in the comments. (And don’t forget, bonus points –in the form of kudos- for those who can name the movie reference.)



Origin Story


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.

Grand Opening!

Please join us April 25th and 26th for our grand opening in Kendall Yards. We’ll have treats, giveaways, and a $5 ticket raffle for a brand new Current Kick Scooter. Grand opening weekend also commences our summer hours, which will be as follows: Tuesday – Friday, 10:00-6:00, Saturday 10:00-5:00 and Sunday 12:00-5:00. We’re honored to be your go-to bike shop for attractive and functional bikes, clothing, and accessories and we look forward to serving you!