Shuttered Bicycle Shop Could Have a Real Renaissance Come Spring

By Lisa Kava

A happy ending is in sight for Bicycle Renaissance, the Upper West Side bike shop that closed its doors for good at the end of the day on Tuesday. According to Manager Robert Lara, the shop will re-open under new ownership in early spring.

“Customers can look forward to something exciting, new and different,” Lara told West Side Rag. The new owners, who will likely keep the name Bicycle Renaissance, plan to sell products manufactured by the company SPECIALIZED BIKES. The store will stock a variety of bikes; including mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, racing bikes and e-bikes. Helmets, clothing and bike accessories will be sold as well.

Assistant Manager Gus Harris had reported that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, bike manufacturers were unable to manufacture enough bikes to keep up with the demand, making it difficult for the shop to procure enough bikes to sell.

The major bike companies manufacture from factories located in China and Taiwan, which were shut down for a few months, Lara elaborated. When the factories were able to re-open, production was low with fewer workers returning he explained.

“Getting inventory has been really tough” said Lara. “All of the bike shops are having trouble, not just us. In a normal situation we would have already had many 2021 bikes in the shop.”

Lara is optimistic about an increase in production with factories now open and more workers returning. “Hopefully things will be better in the spring with the vaccines in sight.”

The new owners plan to completely renovate the shop, starting work in January, according to Lara, who is upbeat about the project.

“It will be really nice and brand new. Something the neighborhood can look forward to.”

NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. “The major bike companies manufacture from factories located in China and Taiwan…”

      With all the unemployed Americans on the streets these days, holding up their outstretched palms, yet still no one can make a bike (or enough PPE) in America anymore?

      I guess that’s just a pipe dream, huh?

      I’m sure Orville & Wilbur are rolling over in their graves right about now…

      • ben says:

        Why work low-paying manufacturing job when you can just hold up outstretched palms and get money? Also important to note that manufacturing is tricky to move or set up when they have to build factories and train workers from the ground up. Certainly not shifty enough to do in the span of months.

      • Boris says:

        BREAKING NEWS: The USA has not been a nimble manufacturing giant for decades. It’s humorous that your solution is to employ people to make bikes in factories that neither exist or have supply chains.

        I don’t understand your reference to the Wright Brothers who had nothing to do with building or operating factories.

      • EdNY says:

        As long as people only want to pay prices that reflect wages in these other countries, you won’t have manufacturing in the US.

    2. Chase says:

      I’m sort of confused…. “new owners?” People bought Bicycle Renaissance? If so, how much did it sell for.

      From the looks of it, it seems like new people are opening a new bike shop and will throw a classic uWs name on it to prey on nostalgia.

      Will the shop remain at the same location? Please advise.

      I loved Bicycle Renaissance. For some time I was a bike courier and got virtually all of my work done there when my bike wasn’t getting flats in the field. Great team. Always tip your repair person.

      • ben says:

        Hardly surprising that the new owners are going the franchising route with Specialized. The Trek branded bike shops in the neighborhood appear to have been doing well. Yes the manufacturing is having trouble catching up with demand, so the brands just pull their supply to independent shops and give it to their branded stores, ensuring their survival.

      • Boris says:

        I don’t think confusion is your biggest problem.

    3. UWSmom says:

      The previous owners also sold Specialized brand bicycles. That is what we bought from Bicycle Renaissance for our daughter’s first bike. And of course we added the training wheels, helmet, basket, streamers, bell…. literally the full bells and whistles.

    4. Mary Mansfield says:

      Hmm… It’s no secret that bikes have become a treasured commodity during Covid times. It’s been a boon for bicycle shops! And bicycle thieves. Yes, bike shops have had challenges stocking enough bikes to meet demand. Which makes them…in HIGH demand. Am I the only one who took Economics 101? So…Renaissance sold to an entity that will carry only Specialized brand? Sounds like a lucrative sell-out to Specialized to me. Not that I blame them! But investigative reporting this is not.

    5. Parbodh Kumar Sharma says:

      Can someone provide the contact information (cell/email) of previous owners. They were great. We all are going to miss them.

    6. cyclist says:

      Call this what it is: a brand presence for Specialized, not a general purpose bike store.

      The Trek outlet that used to be Metro Bikes (and, briefly, Danny’s) on 96th has much different goals than a local shop. Last time I stopped in for a tuneup, they told me I shouldn’t bother, that my bike needs hundreds of dollars of work done, and I should just buy a brand new bike, like one of these great Treks. Thanks.

      I’ll be patronizing Eddie’s and Master Bike next year, among others. Support your local bike shop!

      • Kindly Dr. Dave says:

        Agreed. Buy local. Good local new(ish) shop on the corner of 110 and CPW. Courteous, well managed, reasonable prices. Eddies is great, too.

      • Boris says:

        Many of you take it too far with the ‘buy local’ narrative. ANY store in your neighborhood is local staffed by local residents.

    7. James says:

      My guess is the owners wanted to retire, and this is a good time to do it.

    8. Pro Biker says:

      You have the narrative wrong here. It’s the big bike companies like Trek and Specialized that are strong arming small bike shops into carrying only their brands.

      They require bike shops not to do business with their competitors, and then also require them to buy huge inventories of bikes regardless of how many they can actually sell to keep their dealer accounts active. This is why many independent bikes shops are choosing to sell out to manufacturer branded shops, which might be the idea all along.

      There are dozens of independent, American made bike companies you could buy from, but be ready to pay 3k+ for a bike and wait 6 months.