Kool Purchase Saves Kingscliff Bike Store

Kingcliff, NSW

The only bike shop in Kingscliff, in the NSW Norther Rivers region, has been saved from closure by the expansion of a prospering Gold Coast bike rental and retail business.

Coolangatta business Kool Bike Hire made a last-minute purchase of Kingscliff Cycles this month, when it looked like the small, foreshore store looked set to make way for a different type of business.

The shop lease was due to expire in April and, disillusioned with the industry, owned Daren French had decided to semi-retire, with a very part-time return to truck driving.

Kool Bike Hire owner Julian Thurlow saw a prime opportunity to add a second location for his business, which has “gone ahead in leaps and bounds, especially since Covid was over”.

Another tourism-oriented business had made an offer for the shop space and Daren had been preparing to accept the proposal when Julian stepped in with a bid to retain the store as a bike business.

Julian’s own premises, a two-shop operation at the entrance to the Beach House Resort, had well and truly filled its available space with push bike, e-bike, scooter and moped rentals, as well as its relatively recent sales and workshop operations.

He established Kool Bike Rentals in 2019, motivated by his involvement with bikes growing up in NZ and the moped rental businesses operated by a couple of friends in Surfers Paradise.
“I wanted to take it a step further and have push bikes and e-bikes, along with electric sit-down and three–wheeled scooters,” he said.

An artist impression of rebranded bicycle store
An artist impression of the rebranded Kingscliff store.

“We started doing sales about six months ago and set up a workshop mainly for our own bikes. But we’re open seven days and we started getting people in for repairs most weekends.

“The hire side of things is still 80 to 90% of our business. However, when it’s raining, not many people want to get out. So having bike sales and a workshop as well makes a big difference.”

Julian is planning a very rapid rebrand of the Kingscliff store, to make an instant switch to Kool Bike Hire & Sales, and aims to be in the store by the end of this week.

“The Kingscliff store will have a larger focus on sales and repairs,” he explained.

“We’ll have a good range of bikes and make a fleet of hire push bikes and e-bikes available from there.

“Having the two coastal locations just 15km apart will work really well together. We’re already delivering a lot of bikes down that way, to the resorts and AirB&Bs.

“Now if a customer has any issues, we can send out support from either of the stores.

“We’re so lucky having the Oceanway coastal cycleway, so people can ride all the way north to Surfer Paradise or south to Pottsville and beyond.”

At the same time, Julian is looking at options to expand his range, including cargo bikes.

“Sales of e-bikes are very strong around the Kingscliff area, where every second person owns one but no one is selling them,” he said.

Kool Bike Hire’s van
Kool Bike Hire’s existing premises in Coolangatta.

End of Era for Kingscliff Cycles

Daren bought Kingscliff Cycles in 2014, from long-time owner Dennis Berger, and left the family bike store virtually unchanged.

Daren had been working as a truck driver and plant operator for Boral in Brisbane when he had “a midlife crisis and decided to buy a bike shop”.

Born and raised in the nearby town of Murwillumbah, where he raced BMX as a junior, Daren decided to return to the Tweed Shire and take on the Kingscliff store.

“I had experience working on BMX bikes and did some rapid training to expand my workshop skills,” he said.

“I really enjoyed every time I got to fix someone’s bike and they rode away from here happy. However, I just got disillusioned with dealing with people in the industry and decided to step away when the lease expired.

“When I made the decision 12 months ago to sell the store, my supply of bikes was instantly cut off. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Leave a Comment