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spin... spin.. spin
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Father used to tell me that my real love wasn’t cycling but bicycles themselves. He wasn’t wrong but to be fair wasn’t exactly correct either. It’s more of a loving what bicycles give me when cycling sort of thing. Well maybe not just when cycling. They represent freedom. Love and friendship. To be clear on the former I mean so literally. You can escape your location via two wheels. On the latter it is more that near everyone I have formed a strong bond with the first thing we shared in common was bicycles!

So, as COVID nearly drove me insane, or pushed toward that conclusion, as it would be I found out who I really was. On my parents porch in the States coffee in hand I announced, “I’m moving back to France and opening a bicycle repair shop.” As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted saying them. My Mother sighed heavily and went inside. Leaving me clear on her opinion of my plans.

My Father stared at me a while and then as his nature smiled. To date he has offered but two simple words on the topic. “Why not?”

Those words have been heavy on my mind for some time since. Writing this in a small one room flat on the coast of Ireland they ring in my head. The answer always the same. I’m getting there and close to doing it. So, not sure I can think of a single reason “why not?”. Though maybe poverty, loneliness, trying to sort out what Irish people mean, trying to find pints of beer that aren’t Guiness, and of course did I mention poverty. But none of those alone area reason to not do a thing. Combined they begin to make a case for retreat and reconsideration. But again not one single reason can be found.

Now, you may be pondering why I am in Ireland to begin the process of opening a bicycle repair shop in the mountains of rural France. That’s a great question with a quite complex answer. To be to the point. I’m not gonna tell you exactly but when done reading this rambling you can draw your own conclusion. Or possibly not care even slightly.

I busy myself daily collecting vintage bike parts and working on restorations in a small bicycle co-op. Colleagues watch in wonder and from time to time fear as I wrench apart components.
Bicycle part Crankset Nickel Bicycle drivetrain part Tool
That’s the only way to truly clean them. Fear of failure in reconnecting the bits is just not something that resonates within me. Funny because often times fear and anxiety have controlled my life. But not so and never with bikes and bike bits.

I’ve acquired the building space for my future shop. A strange dealing all it’s own. Finally after much research the property owner was located. His first reaction was. “That tiny dump isn’t big enough for a bike shop. That’s why the previous one closed.” After I informed him my first job was in that shop and my first love was his father the old man that built wheels on a worn bench and smelled of greases and oils. He warmed to the topic. Sipped an Espresso and said, “I tell you what young lady. After the first year if you don’t starve you can sell it back to me. After that recall I warned you and the problem of getting rid of the place is yours alone.” Another three hours and finally he named a price for the tiny street front shop with small apartment upstairs. I walked fast nearly running two blocks found a bank and wire transferred two thirds of my inheritance from my Grandparents to a man who never really new his own Father. And has no clue what the man more than the building meant to me as a child in the French Alps. A man that if he had bothered to attend his own fathers funeral would have known I was the girl who stood alone in a slender black dress crying holding a freshly laced but not tensioned wheel which the man being placed in the ground would never finish building. A wheel that has hung on the wall of every place I’ve slept since. Had he cared be a part of his fathers last years he would have understood why I didn’t bat an eye at overpaying for what he calls a “tiny dump”.

I’ve spent nearly my remaining life’s savings on new old stock and the best of used parts I can stumble on. All this in hopes of making enough money to eat on restoring vintage bikes. If it turns out to be profitable I’d be more shocked than finding a full unopened Campy 50th anniversary group set at a bike swap and sale. Nonetheless, dreams without action are useless and of course not to mention “why not?”!

Gear Bicycle part Automotive tire Wheel Rim


If things go as planned in less than two years I’ll hang an open sign from a string in the window of a door I once bounced thru saying “Monsieur! my wheel has a wobble!” Not knowing that an old man would mentor and teach me to build wheels and change my life forever.

If things go really well the shop will be fully stocked with bikes that my hands have revived. Bikes no one feels are worth effort or money to bring back. Bikes that not unlike me needed a second chance at what we are meant to be.
Bicycle Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel rim

After all “Why Not?”.
 

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Two skinny J's
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21,686 Posts
It always and I do mean always makes my day to come here and have the privilege of being able to read your posts. You have such creative and eloquent way of writing that, like any good book, you just can’t put down. It’s honestly refreshing!

Anyway, it souls like the plan is in motion with plenty of good ideas and intentions we just need execution now!

You definitely need to include us in the journey.


Monsieur! my wheel has a wobble!”
This is now indelibly burned into my mind. I LOVE it :)

And… Why not? It’s better to have tried and failed than to have regretted never taking that chance! You will succeed and prosper.
 

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spin... spin.. spin
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1,676 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sprocket, I hope there’s a market big enough to support your venture. Why do you think it might take as long as two years to open?
The market in Europe is kinda funny. Retro bikes have a value and the concept will be to build via social media and the like a means to get what I have known. The actual town I will be in won’t support the shop on it’s own. That said there should be some income from the village in means of normal bike shop work. Tubes fitted. Chains replaced and derailleurs adjusted. Owning the building outright and it being my business and home means what I need earn is substantial smaller than an average business.

Two years is my goal as I’m working now to build inventory. Finding old bikes worth going through and restoring and locating parts and the like is part of the delay. There is also work being done on what will be my home above the shop space. Part of the delay is the building cost me most of everything I had so I’m two years working for others I can build up operating funds for expecting no profit for my first two years in business as that’s what all business people have told me I need to not fail.

To be clear I could open tomorrow. But to be successful and open the way I want I need work to accumulate funds for a couple years. The old saying Rome wasn’t built in a day. I am patient. By doing it this way here is how it should work.

  • Home paid for no debt. (Done)
  • Business location paid for (Done)
  • Inventory of retro fully like new restored bikes
Paid for and no debt (have three need six more)
  • Inventory of used parts (building this up)
  • Inventory of new kit and parts (will purchase when closer to opening doors without debt)
  • Social media presence (a little too soon but soon this will start)
  • Operating funds for two years
Utilities
Property Tax
Operating Cash Flow (value of inventory in cash) does not include actual inventory

By having all this in place the shop needs only make enough in the first two years to pay for my food and normal living costs. By being patient the goal is I won’t fail. There is a ski chateaux near my future shop so in the summer when the bike park is open I will get overflow business as the only shop excluding the one at the bike park for over an hour drive. I am basically fifteen minutes via bike from the uplift at the bike park. Plus being at the foot of a famous Le Tour climb and again the only shop at all for road bike needs within an hour or more; tourists who want to climb it should bring some business in addition to my attempt at a retro mod shop. If location means anything I will probably be nearly too busy for my spaces size. Plus I’m putting in an Espresso machine that has the potential to earn more than the shop. It’s being handmade in Italy! (an opening gift from my parents). I am sorta excited about this part. I have enough space at the foot of a famous climb for three outside café tables. Hope roadies stop in! If they don’t it won’t matter as the village is not what it was when I was a child and the tourist invasion is real. Being the only shop owner who is very fluent in English and of course French, I will probably spend more time making lattes then fixing punctures. Fingers crossed anyhow.
 

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spin... spin.. spin
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1,676 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It always and I do mean always makes my day to come here and have the privilege of being able to read your posts. You have such creative and eloquent way of writing that, like any good book, you just can’t put down. It’s honestly refreshing!

Anyway, it souls like the plan is in motion with plenty of good ideas and intentions we just need execution now!

You definitely need to include us in the journey.




This is now indelibly burned into my mind. I LOVE it :)

And… Why not? It’s better to have tried and failed than to have regretted never taking that chance! You will succeed and prosper.
Thanks Rola. Such a kind and encouraging post!
 

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Registered
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7,316 Posts
I quite literally opened up TwoSpoke, while brewing beer. I had a moment where I could take a look. After all, other than brewing, my mind was on cycling.

The first thing I saw was a post from SprocketGirl. Immediately, my heart rate increased, as I anticipated what I was about to consume through my eyes.
So much for spending a moment looking at TS. I spent several minutes reading through the entire string.


Sprocket,
Every time I read you, I leave feeling.
Good, better, happy, sad, encouraged, proud and the list goes on, depending on what you’ve written.

We miss you in your absence, and always welcome your return.

Thanks for sharing your plan with us. I hope you’ll continue to provide updates, as things progress through the various stages.
I know we’ll ALL be waiting for your next post updating us on your new adventure.

I would love to see the location now and again as it morphs into a functional specialty cycling shop with espresso (and hopefully beer ) So, how about some building pics?

By the way, that Merlin is one sweet looking ride!!
 

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spin... spin.. spin
Joined
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1,676 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I quite literally opened up TwoSpoke, while brewing beer. I had a moment where I could take a look. After all, other than brewing, my mind was on cycling.

The first thing I saw was a post from SprocketGirl. Immediately, my heart rate increased, as I anticipated what I was about to consume through my eyes.
So much for spending a moment looking at TS. I spent several minutes reading through the entire string.


Sprocket,
Every time I read you, I leave feeling.
Good, better, happy, sad, encouraged, proud and the list goes on, depending on what you’ve written.

We miss you in your absence, and always welcome your return.

Thanks for sharing your plan with us. I hope you’ll continue to provide updates, as things progress through the various stages.
I know we’ll ALL be waiting for your next post updating us on your new adventure.

I would love to see the location now and again as it morphs into a functional specialty cycling shop with espresso (and hopefully beer ) So, how about some building pics?

By the way, that Merlin is one sweet looking ride!!
Thanks Dos. I will definitely get some photos as things develop.
Beer! Great idea

Hope the brewing is going well. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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4,071 Posts
what you do, where you go, how you live are like you said....in my case......useless unacted upon dreams I've had. My garage is my shop, the tour comes nowhere near here, got a beat up mr coffee for makin coffee, nothing close to a mountain anywhere near here, never had a bike mentor.....Did have supportive great parents, siblings, grand parents and extended family. Somehow I am still happy with what bikelife I do have, lol. Please keep the posts coming and let us know the website. The flavor and spice you add here is undeniable. Gonna be needin some shop schwag when you get that far along. Not concerned with conversion or shipping cost/time. Just say the word. Your stories are always captivating and your gifts are hardly solely mechanical. Best of luck with things and hook us up with a shop build thread full o pics.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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5,538 Posts
Way to go, SprocketGirl! I love your idea and wish you all the best in implementing and bringing it to life. The way in which you're going about doing it seems to reflect a lot of thought and no small degree of wisdom. Your stories and their insights have repeatedly touched my heart and inspired my respect. Thank you for the history you've shared.

I wish you all the best in your new venture and echo I12's interest in the purchase of some of your shop's schwag! At such time as you have schwag to offer, of course :). I understand it may be a while. No hurry.

I hope we may continue to hear about your adventures and preparations. If anyone can pull this off, it's you.
 

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spin... spin.. spin
Joined
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1,676 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
what you do, where you go, how you live are like you said....in my case......useless unacted upon dreams I've had. My garage is my shop, the tour comes nowhere near here, got a beat up mr coffee for makin coffee, nothing close to a mountain anywhere near here, never had a bike mentor.....Did have supportive great parents, siblings, grand parents and extended family. Somehow I am still happy with what bikelife I do have, lol. Please keep the posts coming and let us know the website. The flavor and spice you add here is undeniable. Gonna be needin some shop schwag when you get that far along. Not concerned with conversion or shipping cost/time. Just say the word. Your stories are always captivating and your gifts are hardly solely mechanical. Best of luck with things and hook us up with a shop build thread full o pics.
I am so happy with the support from you and the whole community. As things develop I will keep posts coming and things rolling in.

It would be my honour to have support in places as far away! Honestly, just knowing people would be wearing a shirt with my shop name on it half a world away is pretty huge to me.

Thanks for the encouragement!
 

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spin... spin.. spin
Joined
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1,676 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Way to go, SprocketGirl! I love your idea and wish you all the best in implementing and bringing it to life. The way in which you're going about doing it seems to reflect a lot of thought and no small degree of wisdom. Your stories and their insights have repeatedly touched my heart and inspired my respect. Thank you for the history you've shared.

I wish you all the best in your new venture and echo I12's interest in the purchase of some of your shop's schwag! At such time as you have schwag to offer, of course :). I understand it may be a while. No hurry.

I hope we may continue to hear about your adventures and preparations. If anyone can pull this off, it's you.
Thank you Newleaf!! Super happy to have you along for my journey. The whole TwoSpoke family is a huge inspiration to me.

I will do my best to keep everyone updated.
 
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