One of Cochrane’s very own shops landed among the top in the country last week.
On Dec. 6, Cyclist Canada announced the town’s Bike Bros as one of the nation’s top bike shops as part of the organization’s sixth annual contest.
All bike shops in the country were contenders for the competition but only 33 were selected.
Each of the winning shops will receive a certificate identifying them as the local bike shop most respected by their customers
There are more than a dozen dedicated bike shops in Alberta alone. The wins were based entirely on public votes and more than 6,000 ballots were cast.
For Bike Bros, this is the fifth time out of the six years they have won.
“It’s an honour,” said Graham Pye, who opened Bike Bros 14 years ago and has been running it ever since. “The whole thing just surprises me more and more each year it happens. The bike shop scene is super competitive, especially in Alberta.”
Pye is a self-titled cycle enthusiast. He left his line of work early in his career as a industrial engineering technologist to pursue his true passion – working with bikes.
“I only spent five years of my life not working in a bike shop and that was the five years I spent before opening the shop working in the real world,” he said. “I had worked in bike shops since I was 15 years old and it was kind of like a disease that I couldn’t shake wanting to start a bike shop.”
Pye said his staff and their collective passion for showing others the love of cycling is what brought the shop to this point.
“I think between myself and the staff the one thing that’s really common is we love bikes but we also love helping other people to love bikes which can be a bit of a difference from some places. So it is genuinely wanting to help people get the most out of their riding experience, whatever that means to them.”
Yet over the years, customers have noticed the shop goes above and beyond just good customer service.
A year ago, Matt Vermette who uses cycling as his daily transportation into Calgary no matter the weather, bought a new bike and had it stolen just two weeks after.
“I ended up walking home that day – I did end up getting offered a ride but I told the guy no I think I need to calm down I’m pretty pissed off right now,” Vermette said.
When the shop heard the news of Vermette’s stolen bike, the staff at Bike Bros felt compelled to take action.
“Matt, he’s an absolute pleasure to deal with and I think we all really look up to him,” Pye said.
“In the worst weather in the middle of winter there would be a flashing light riding down the highway coming home or heading into Calgary first thing in the morning. And that was often Matt”
“We basically already planned that and had a bike selected and started doing some modification and decided if he came in or decided to buy a new one we would tell him we have got a bike for you,” Pye said, though this wasn’t the first time he has done something like this.
Vermette’s family, in the meantime, had set up a GoFundme to replace the bike. When they found out about the shop’s generosity, they were taken aback.
“It just took my breath away – heart flutters that a store would do all of that. So with the money raised we put in all these other parts,” said Vermette’s mother, Judith.
Vermette who goes to the shop regularly over the last few years and is familiar with the staff was equally stunned.
“I was ecstatic, I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been dealing with Graham for a few years now and the staff is amazing but I would have never expected him to give me a bike so I was just shocked.”
As it turns out, the shops generosity inspired Vermette too. Not too long after the theft of this bike, it was recovered with the help of police. Vermette decided to donate it to another in need.
“I’m glad they won (best bike shop) again. For someone like me, it doesn’t surprise me, the staff is amazing, they all know me by name,” Vermette said. “I highly recommend them to anyone, they have kept me rolling for over 15,000 km.”