If you have been reading DC for a while, then you will remember our contributor Judi. One of our most popular and often times controversial contributors, she was also the only female to make words on the page. Judi and DC parted ways a couple years ago without much explanation to the fans. But we kept in touch over social media and I thought it would be cool if we checked in to see what she has been up to lately.
Life After Drunk Cyclist
SHUT THE FUCK UP AND PEDAL
When Dirty Biker asked me to do a post here on life after DC, my heart started dancing and I got really nervous. I don’t know even know where to start. So much has happened…..
June 2012, my last post here was the Mohican race report. I remember being a total raging bitch about when the post would be published because Tour Divide interviews were going up, which took priority over my “race”. I acted like a crazy bitch and made everyone miserable and I quit/got kicked out and a bunch of Facebook deletions happened. Emails flew back and forth and friendships were shattered.
Some words to D2, 40 Hands, Caveman, Cupcake and Big Jonny – I want to apologize to you guys now, I’ve grown up a lot the past couple of years. No matter what, I take the blame for most of that drama. You guys did what you had to do. It’s all good in my book.
Gnome and I rekindled our friendship at the end of 2012. It was important to me to do this. He is like a brother to me, always has been, always will be. Somehow, Dirty Biker and I remained friends through the whole mess. He’s good at that.
Life moved on. For starters, I have more than three years of stone cold sobriety under my belt. And then this happened.
Dominic and I opened a bike shop here in Cincinnati called SPUN Bicycles on 2/23/13. We chose a neighborhood called Northside, close to the bike co-op where we used to volunteer. It’s an up and coming, kind of gritty little neighborhood where all my old punk rocker friends from the 90’s came to raise their kids or open a business. It’s a walking neighborhood with lots of street traffic, freaks, and bikes everywhere you look. My commute is 6 miles.
We created a community space for people to come and celebrate bicycle culture in every fashion. Dominic is in charge of décor and he’s very particular about the vibe of the shop. All the displays are built by him including a bench made out of skateboards for people to sit on. We have a 64 inch plasma on the wall pumping out a mix of BMX videos, cheesy 80’s horror flicks, or Kung Fu. Our sound system is usually playing something like Black Sabbath or EPMD depending on our mood. Bikes hang from 2” pipe beams installed across the ceiling. Wheels hang from the ceiling and accessories on black pegboard all over the walls. There is nothing cookie cutter about SPUN.
The first year was awesome. We doubled our projections.
Thinking back to that first year, my mind gravitates towards the people I met via Drunk Cyclist who helped me along the way.
Another DC reader, Jonathan Seibold of Family Bike Shop in Maryland and a long time friend of mine helped me decide which point of sale to use. Bike shop specific shit. I lean on him so much for bike biz advice. He and I met at a UCI CX race years ago and his first words to me were “I love your posts on DC”. It’s super rad that I can call him in freak out mode and he drops everything to talk me through stuff.
Brad Q. who wrote for DC a long time ago and was currently doing Urban Velo, helped me find reputable Fixed Gear bike companies cuz we were getting sales calls from some crazy kooks. Stevil, from AHTBM, helped me find the best messenger bag guy in the world, who’s been making our bags with our logo for going on two years now. Stevil also helped me with custom water bottles, believe it or not, there are some shitty places to get bottles from. Snake Hawk and Gnome helped me with SPUN lycra. Goddamn kits are a fucking pain the ass but Sommerville makes pretty fantastic product. We don’t order much, but when we did I sure as shit had to ship one to good old Hurben, long time DC reader, in New Zealand.
Dirty Biker and I email back and forth about bikes, pedals, tires, grips, you name it, and we’ve talked about it. Dirty also introduced me to the gorgeous Endless Bikes stuff which is displayed in one of our cases. And the very best thing I am grateful to Dirty Biker for is introducing me to the Ride for Reading organization. I am currently in the planning stages for the 3rd RFR Spun delivery with the help of a few other local organizations I partner up with. I also participated in a delivery at Interbike in 2013 which was an overwhelmingly awesome experience. RFR is one of the best events I get to do as a bike shop owner.
And then that time we were raising money for a customer/friend who had been hit by a car on her brand new bike. Dirty Biker shared the link on the DC FB page and just like that, Mike Stanley of Niner Bikes shipped us a bike we pulled all the components off of to build Morgan’s new Straggler. I remember when we got all excited about 300 likes on the DC Facebook page! Big thanks to Dirty and Mike for their effort in assisting us with Morgan.
There are probably more people I need to thank but for now these are the folks who come to mind.
Dominic and I settled into our roles pretty well. He is the heart and soul of the shop. I am the brains behind the scenes, in charge of books, banking, profit margins, ordering and receiving, etc. We work alongside each other, husband and wife, business partners, life partners. It’s pretty fucking awesome. After our first year was over, we were able to see that what we had set out to accomplish was really happening. We were determined to have a shop that was doing the exact opposite of what all the other shops in town were doing. We are definitely not a race shop. The other shops do that, and they do it well.
We wanted to have a bike shop that sold affordable bikes and accessories that are doable for the blue collar worker. We don’t stock bikes that retail over $1000. We sell a ton of entry level bikes from Raleigh, Kona, and Masi/Haro. Our customers that want bikes special ordered, well, we do a lot of that too. Our customers don’t mind to wait. We really cater to commuters. Those folks who don’t have a car and use a bike as their main source of transportation get bumped to the head of the line during the peak months. We might not stock the newest and best mountain bike tires but you can bet I have the best commuter tires in stock. Dominic also gets to do a ton of restoration projects. We see some really cool old bikes. We just finished up a 1949 Huffy. We have a whole page on our website dedicated to restorations.
BMX’ers gravitated to us because Dominic’s been riding BMX for 32 years. You simply cannot sell BMX if you don’t ride BMX. His time off is spent at the skatepark. We are blessed with an awesome crew of BMX’ers that have become part of the family. As one guys puts it “It’s like coming home when I walk into SPUN.”
Dominic laces BMX wheels week after week. We do tons of custom BMX, S&M frames, lots of Profile, we just picked up Standard Byke Co. We also sell lots of completes by F-IT, Kink, Subrosa and Verde.
Last summer Dominic and some of his crew built a 22 foot box jump. We do BMX demo’s all summer long. I’ve never had as much fun as I did on the 4th of July when Northside gave us an entire street, shut off to cars and traffic, for our boys to shred. The 4th of July parade and festival is like Christmas in July and our demo was spectacular.
We were awarded AMERICA’S BEST BIKE SHOPS in 2014 by the National Bike Dealer’s Association. That’s pretty much insane to me, since it was our 2nd year in business. I had that shit engraved onto metal and it hangs in the shop. I am so fucking proud of this award.
At the end of our 2nd year, our sales were 40% higher than the first year. I can’t imagine where we’ll be at the end of year three, but I am ready.
I don’t get to ride my bike as much as I did before the shop. Lots and lots of commuting miles on my custom Surly CX Check (White Industry hubs are a beautiful thing). A 15-20 mile ride before work plus 13 miles from the shop to home and back in the middle of my long ass work day to let the dogs out does add up. I get to ride my Kona Explosif a few days a week, early mornings, all day on Fridays when I am scheduled off and occasionally a group MTB shop ride on Sunday. Dominic takes Mondays off and rides one of his two beloved Intrikats. He doesn’t do much riding except for BMX. He fears he doesn’t have many years left to ride BMX so that’s all he wants to do.
We have made so many close friends through the shop. Thinking back to the last two and half years I feel so lucky. So blessed. Yes, I am a ball of stress a lot of the time and the pressure is intense but I love being a bike shop owner and I have so much passion for the industry and the people in it.