Sydney bike store Renegade Cycles has changed hands for the first time in almost three decades and the sale appears to have unleashed a new force on the national bike industry.
Experienced bike mechanic and former financial adviser Griff Moore purchased the Lane Cove store recently, only eight months after buying his first bike shop, the University Bike Shop at Brisbane’s University of Queensland.
Griff last week revealed he is planning to buy another Sydney store very soon and that could be just the start of a grander strategy to purchase a series of stores in the eastern mainland States and Tasmania.
“We’ve earmarked about 20 locations in city and regional areas, looking ideally at stores that are strong in sales but where we could move in and really step up the servicing side of the business,” he said.
“While that’s a fair way down the track, I have some potential partners and we’ve spoken about buying another shop in Sydney very soon.
“We’re really looking at stores with longstanding reputations like the Uni Bike Shop and Renegade, that have been around for at least 15 years.”
The Uni Bike Shop has been operating since 1977 and Griff, now aged 34, has been working there on and off since he finished school.
He said when it was first suggested he should buy the store, he didn’t entertain the idea because he had no financial experience.
“I went away to race overseas and got a few degrees (in film and audio production, software engineering and a Masters in applied finance) and eventually set up a business as a financial advisor,” Griff said.
“When the previous Uni Bike Store owners Jeremy (Mayer) and Gavin (Young) asked me again last year if I wanted to buy the store, I thought after working in finance for quite a while I now know how to do this.
“I’d always had my heart set on buying a bike shop. I had been looking at setting up a bike store and my financial advice business in the same building.”
He said he’d planned to replicate the approach of Shayne Hendren, who he greatly respected as a bike store owner and had operated a number of shops including Semi-Racer and Velo.
Once Griff had taken the plunge as a bike store owner, he decided to get out of the “boring, same-thing-every-day repetition” of the finance sector and go “full gas with bike shops”.
He had heard of Renegade Cycles from his days as a mountain bike and road competitor, and when he heard it was on the market, Griff saw it as a solid prospect to get a firmer footing in the industry.
Griff has appointed a store manager to run Renegade Cycles and is already on the lookout for someone who could manage the other Sydney store in his sights.
Renegade Cycles is exclusively selling Trek bikes but Griff says he’s looking at introducing additional brands, including an expansion of the store’s mountain bike offerings.
The Uni Bike Shop also stocks Trek, as well as Merida, Norco, Avanti and Malvern Star.
“The uni students aren’t looking for high-end road bikes, they just want something around the $1,000 mark,” he said.
Previous Renegade Cycles owner Josh Blake, who has relocated to Tasmania, issued a heartfelt statement just before his departure.
Farewell From Josh
In an online blog, Josh praised the almost 100 staff he’d employed during the 29 years he owned the store.
“Inevitably they get off the train and go on to bigger and better things. From aeronautical engineers to tax lawyers to Olympians to marketing managers and so many more, they have touched my life and made my work so wonderful,” Josh says.
“When I started this business, my biggest concern, given my somewhat introverted personality after years in finance at an environmental services company, was that I would be dealing with the general public. Well, I got that wrong!
“The beauty of owning a bike shop is that almost everyone who visits the shop wants to be there. And they love to tell their story. It’s a fun place to work. I’ve been lucky to have fantastic customers over the years.”