Nearly all of us have been there. Something on our bike is acting funky and while we love riding, we kinda don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to mechanics. Bike part names? Psh. Everything is just “that thing that attaches to that other thing.” Ashley here from the Customer Support Team and while I’ve gotten better with my bike knowledge since joining the Xtracycle team, I’m more often than not still that customer, having to reference a bike anatomy guide to know what I’m looking at. With some bike shops, the thought of asking for help and not even knowing what you’re talking about can be super intimidating. Especially if you are a women/femme tagging along kids walking into a shop full of bike bros. But then there are those real gems. The shops that make you feel capable, strong, smart regardless of your knowledge base, valuable as a customer and like you belong to this vibrant cycling community. When a shop makes you feel that way, you’ve found a real gem. A place dedicated to making the world of cycling a better place, for pros and amateurs and parents juggling crying kiddos alike.
Carice Reddin, the owner of Bicycle Belle, has created once such gem in the Boston, Mass. Take 2 minutes to read their Yelp reviews and you’ll quickly see that this place is the real deal with it comes to a business that embodies that Local Bike Shop joie de vivre. From selling bikes that turn into Book Bike Mobiles to supporting parents in getting set up to ride with their expanding families, they are truly having a positive impact on their community and the lives of their customers.
Recently our Dealer Sales Lead, Kris, chatted with Carice to get to know a little bit more about what makes Bicycle Belle so magical. Next time you’re in the area, swing by 368 Beacon St. and see for yourself!
Why did you get into the bicycle business?
I was doing advocacy work, and people often complained about the lack of a transportation-only bike shop in Boston, so I decided to open one!
Why do you carry Xtracycle?
I knew from the beginning that the Edgerunner - which had just been introduced as we were opening in 2013 was a huge part of the transportation puzzle here - especially for people with longer commutes and bigger kids. It's almost possible to forget how game changing the lower wheel/deck was at the time.
Tell a story about someone who's bought an Xtracycle from you, how they use it, and how it's changed their life.
A customer who had barely biked for years, bought an Edgerunner and commented that it allowed her to spend an extra hour of quality of time with her kids every day, instead of being stuck in traffic.
In 2014 (and then again in 2015) we sold the Cambridge Book Bike a 24D Edgerunner which they then built out with a custom shelf system over the rear deck to create the Book Bike. A modern “bookmobile” the Book bike delivers books and excitement about reading all summer to kids in local parks.
Do you ride bikes, carry stuff?
I ride daily with my two daughters 2, and 4. We're still in a box bike, but there's an electric assist Xtracycle in our family's near future. A typical load is two kids, 3 bags of groceries, a diaper bag and possibly a bag of library books!
What are your thoughts about the state of bike industry?
In this area, I do think that people are starting to take transportation bicycling seriously, but biking with kids and cargo is still an outlier for most of the industry. I'm glad to see electric assist mainstreaming, as I think that's important for a lot of people who are looking for a true car replacement.
What’s your favorite piece of SWAG you’ve ever received?
Dutch Stroopwaffels (syrup waffle cookies) from Gazelle
Describe your bathroom décor.
There's a bike frame, bins of paper goods, and a couple of back stock reflective jackets. One wall is exposed stone, which sounds more charming than it actually is. We used to have the diaper changing table and a mobile in there, but we moved it to just outside the bathroom.
What’s your favorite way to entertain kids while their parents are shopping/test riding?
What is your favorite book/magazine/blog?
Books? Blogs? I remember reading for pleasure before I had two kids and started a business..... Um, I read the NY Times every day. I try to check in with Streetsblog when I can.
What’s the most humorous thing overheard at your shop?
One particularly sleep deprived morning, I was reading a message about a family looking for bike options, and asked the message taker "How old are the four year old triplets?" It's become shop shorthand for being out of it.
Who is the first person you think of when you hear the word "successful"?
My husband, who is not only an amazing biking Dad, but a (seriously) world renowed scientist studying Regenertive Biology.
If you could ask Ross one question, what would it be?
What percentage of Xtracycles do you think will be electric in 10 years?
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