Just a week before the first races rolled away at the 2023 Tour Down Under, a new bike shop crossed the starting line.
Contour is located on Hutt Street, at the leafy, affluent eastern side of the Adelaide CBD just around the corner from the East Parklands and the former Grand Prix motor racing circuit.
We spoke with co-founder Wade D’arcy, who said they had a few initial hurdles settling upon their business name.
“Contour wasn’t available on Instagram,” he said, “so we had to call it ‘ridecontour’ and our registered business name is Contour Cycling Club, but that doesn’t work well as a lot of suppliers don’t want to deal with a cycling club.”
The new business is a collaboration of several co-founders.
“Patrick Sharrad looks after the café and events. I oversee the bike shop. Tim Doherty takes care of the workshop,” Wade explained.
“Our main investor is Penny Hospitality, owned by Hugo Pedler. He was a track cyclist who raced at quite a high level. He got burnt out, but continued riding for fun and his passion has always been cycling so he approached us.
“This is an old Caltex service station and that’s an old National Bank,” Wade said, pointing to the adjacent building that houses Penny Hospitality – across a very rare expanse of open space on any CBD premises, partly covered by the original service station canopy.
“When they closed the servo, they took the tanks out and it sat dormant for five years,” Wade recalled. “When Hugo saw the opportunity to move into the old bank, he started looking into opening the café and bike shop.
“We’re running the café and bike shop in the old servo, with a full workshop. In the future we’re looking to move the bike shop into the other building and this would just become the café.
“For the TDU, we’re hosting Rapha, Baum and Chapter2 in there and SRAM and Curve Cycling are outside. It’s all happening!”
When we visited, there was also a wine bar and food truck busy serving the visitors.
“We’re going to sell Specialized, Orbea and Curve,” Wade revealed. “Road and gravel are our main aim for the start. Myself and Tim both come from a BMX background. We both ride mountain as well, so we’ll venture into some other stuff.”
Before Contour opened, Bike Society was the exclusive Specialized dealer operating in the CBD, albeit on the opposite side of the CBD, well over a kilometre away. But a much larger competitor is just a few blocks away in the form of Bicycle Express, one of the largest bicycle retailers in Australia. As we’ve previously reported here, Bicycle Express estimates they account for about 25% of all South Australian IBD sales turnover.
Wade does not see Bicycle Express as competition. “It was obviously a thought at first,” he reflected. “But we’re not competing with them. We’re sticking to road and gravel and we’re not doing any of the same brands as them.
“We’ll also just stick to doing our own workshop stuff. I’ve been a mechanic for 13 years and Tim for six or seven years, so we have a big enough following to sustain ourselves just from the workshop. We aim to make the workshop as big and as profitable as we can.
“We’ll always have outdoor seating. The front container will soon become our own wine bar. We’ll continue serving tap beers and can beers. On weekends we’ll open until 9pm – 7am to 4pm daily for the café and then 7am to 9am on weekends.
“We’re flat out with people waiting for coffee first thing. Lots of cycling groups have been meeting up, which is fun.”