Cycles Galleria is fun, which is probably not the first thing you’d think of when bike shops come to mind.
But this isn’t your average bike shop.
First of all, it shares a building on busy Church St Richmond with the much-loved Knog brand and their design studio. As the bike shop buzzes on ground floor, the Knog team works across the remaining split levels. It’s not unusual for the two businesses to help each other out; Knog will walk down a few steps to Cycles Galleria with prototypes and creative ideas for more awesome bike light and locking solutions… Or the bike shop will come to Knog for advice around visual merchandising and cool ways to style the floor.
The result is a great old-school-cool vibe; there’s something just that little bit more original about Cycles Galleria in Richmond. It might be the fantastic urban loft-style building, the in-house designed timber cabinetry, the cool fake turf laid out here and there, the random quirky toy characters that appear in spots throughout the store, the cool and colourful merchandise that pops… It could be the whole lot.
Owners Robin Pearce and Mark Leenaerts were keen to set up a business that didn’t pressure the customer. They wanted to create a space that was equally happy to help someone spending $15, as it was someone spending $15,000. The staff really help keep the store clear of any pretensions – they’re happy to talk shop but they’re equally happy to just let you do your thing and enjoy the space under your own steam.
Their marketing manager Lewis Kerr has been in the industry for a decade and reckons this is the most ‘comfortable’ feeling place he’s worked in.
“I told Robin and Mark I was keen to head overseas for a year and travel a bit. They not only encouraged me to travel, but I returned to a job as soon as I got back and it was like I never left. Our team is made up of people who really want to be here, they love cycling and they love their job. If you know anyone in retail sales, then you’ll know that’s a pretty rare scenario,” he told me.
The Church St store is the fourth iteration of Cycles Galleria (there are stores also in Camberwell, and two in the CBD), and opened in October of 2014. The Richmond store primarily stocks Cannondale and BH, with Trek, Kona, Look, Pivot and Yeti also part of the Cycles Galleria mix at their other store locations. Along with the bikes, Cycles Galleria also stocks accessory brands including Maap, Knight Composites, Bontrager and Fi’zik, and often host events such as new product launches, or an evening with MTB legend Gary Fisher.
They’re in the process of sourcing local labels wherever possible; you get the sense that this is a store that really encourages community. Every now and again the beer tap is turned on; at the moment it’s pouring some of Richmond’s finest – Mountain Goat – but the guys will chop and change with nearby brews depending on the season. There’s group rides that roll out regularly from the shop – Monday evenings is a women’s only ride, Tuesday evenings are an easy hour followed by beer and pizza, and Saturday morning is occupied by a two hour roll to Mordi and back, before the usual coffee shop banter.
The really big deal from Cycles Galleria is their ProCare Lifetime Servicing Plan, a free bike servicing program for life with any bike purchased in store. Yep – lifetime. To their knowledge, they’re the only bike store in Australia that offers this unique ProCare service and it’s an awesome advantage – it means customers aren’t deterred to drop by whenever and just make sure that their bike is bang-on. The team will dial it in pre-race, or just give it a quality once-over to make sure it’s travelling well.
Cycles Galleria is well cool – definitely one to check out.