Thursday, February 21, 2008

Armstrong to Open Bike Shop in Austin

Seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong said yesterday he will be opening a bike shop for commuters. According to media reports, the shop will be situated in Armstrong's hometown, downtown Austin, Texas, and is slated for a May opening.

The 18,000 square foot shop will be called Mellow Johnny's after Armstrong's nickname in the Tour de France while wearing the "Maillot Jaune," or winner's jersey, according to Austin360.com

The famed cyclist stated that the reason for the shop was to encourage people to use bicycles over cars. He noted that Austin "is exploding downtown. Are all these people in high rises going to drive everywhere? We have to promote (bike) commuting."

The store is situated near a number of new high rises under construction, and is one block away from a bike path named Armstrong Bikeway.

Armstrong said that even he is afraid to ride in Austin traffic and laid out his vision of a safer and more cycling friendly Austin, with dedicated bike paths, and street-accessible bikes, as in Paris.

To that end, his store will have showers, and places for people to park their bikes--a common complaint among commuters in almost every city in the U.S., including New York, according to data that has been regularly collected by Transportation Alternatives.

The store will carry top of the line and commuter-ready Trek bikes, and will house a Carmichael Training Systems center in its basement for people who want to up their cycling strength.

The project which he is completing with a partner, Bert Knaggs, is being designed by a local architect, Michael Hsu. Armstrong said he does not plan on putting other bike shops out of business, but rather adding to their critical mass.

The new shop joins several others in Austin, and is in the same state as Benepesbikeblog friend and associate, Kevin Saunders and his shop KGS Bikes, in San Antonio, TX.

Lance talked about his new bike shop on video.