Bike Service Goes Mobile

by RaeAnne Marsh

The “we’ll come to you” concept now has a bicycle incarnation in Beeline Bikes, a Bay Area startup that has a Phoenix-area franchise operator in The Velo to serve Downtown Phoenix and segments of the East and South Valley.

“The typical Beeline Bikes mobile bike shop customer is very different from the typical local bike customers,” says Beeline CEO and founder Pete Buhl. In fact, in the four years it’s been operating in San Francisco, he’s seen a less-than-2-percent overlap. Busy professionals who work during tuypical office hours enjoy the convenience of a mobile bike service, as do families that have three to five bikes, possibly of different types, Buhl explains. He notes also that, increasingly, the millennial generation uses bikes as a commuting tool, leading to corporate customers who encourage employees to ride bikes to work and offer to subsidize Beeline Bikes’ oncall service as an employee benefit.

Beeline also has premier partnerships with e-retailers, and is able to deliver, assemble and even offer a tutorial to serve the cyclist customer.

Rather than being seen as competition or disruption to the industry, Beeline is a more convenient additive. Bike shops have the opportunity to co-brand a Beeline Bikes Sprinter Van, equipped with all the tools and parts needed to fix a bicycle right then and there, and serve the customers in a community they normally wouldn’t, including those who have never visited a brick-and-mortar bike ship for their cycling needs.

Phoenix’s attraction as a market for Beeline Bikes’ expansion includes having a college population as well as weather that encourages a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, Buhl shares.

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