Sam Sells Treadly But Keeps a Hand on the Levers

Adelaide, SA

Adelaide urban and touring bike specialist Treadly Bike Shop has been sold … but don’t expect founder Sam Neeft to walk away completely from the business he has built over the past 12 years.

The boutique store, located in the inner suburb of Norwood, has become the maiden business venture for former mining technician Dave Walsh.

“I was excited by where Sam saw the shop heading. That was a large part of the attraction to buying the store.”

While he is enjoying a protracted handover and the prospect of ongoing input from the business’s founder, Sam is relishing the opportunity to have an ongoing role to help realise the vision he and his wife Emily held for the store.

Sam is redirecting much of his focus to his new bicycle and accessories distribution business, The Bicycle Collective, and other work commitments that will allow him to spend more time with his young family.

However, Sam and Dave have already begun discussing potential collaborations as Treadly moves more towards cargo bikes, e-bikes, folding bikes and tourers.

“I was excited by where Sam saw the shop heading. That was a large part of the attraction to buying the store,” Dave said.

“Sam’s leaving but he still wants to see Treadly succeed and he will always be welcome here.”

Dave was born and raised in the rapidly growing city of Mt Barker, in the Adelaide Hills, but has spent much of his working life in the mining sector in India, Africa and Asia.

When he started a family, he wanted to be closer to home and returned to Adelaide in 2018.

“I’d been sniffing around for a long time looking for business opportunities and was actually starting to look at getting back into employment. Then Treadly came up for sale,” he said.

“I’d been a customer of theirs for many years and I recognised a good product when I saw it, so I started talking with Sam.

“When we decided we were going ahead, Sam invited me to spend time in the store and I’ve hung around ever since.”

That was formalised into a three-month handover, which will continue until the end of January, and ongoing plans for mentoring as Dave finds his feet and evolves the store towards their shared vision.

“The approach by Treadly and that future direction just matches my interest in cycling – the adventure cycling and cargo bikes, that bicycle lifestyle.

“Going to places like Holland and Japan, I really enjoyed seeing the way bikes are part of the lifestyle. Treadley does that really well.

“It’s a lifestyle choice for a lot of people and for an increasing number of people.

“Community stuff has been a key part of Treadly and we’d like to continue that.”

Their shared vision includes a greater emphasis on folding bikes, to cater for rapidly increasing inner-city residential density.

Sam said: “If you look at the apartment buildings going up – the medium to high density living in the city and inner suburbs – it’s increasing a lot.

“We’re getting more people looking for a simple bike to use in their local area and a lot of the time people get drawn to a folding bike.

“Their apartments are small and there are more apartments being built without a car parking space.”

He said Adelaide has finally followed Sydney and Melbourne’s lead in amending building regulations to allow apartments to be built without their own car parking spaces.

“And while there is often bike parking in these buildings, sometimes people just want to be able to take their bikes up into their apartment,” he added.

“Folding bikes work perfectly for that.”

Similarly, Treadly is also exploring opportunities in cargo bikes. In true Treadly style, the business is interested in brands and styles outside the more conventional options.

“If we’re going down the path of cargo bikes and e-bikes, why not look at something offering a different point of view.”

“Cargo bikes and e-bikes in general were something we’d been looking at for quite a while. However, we didn’t have the floorspace when we were located in the middle of the city centre,” Sam said.

“The extra space we have in Norwood allows much more opportunity to move into more types of bikes for commuting, transport and touring.”

Dave said Treadly has recently become a retailer for French brand Moustache.

“When you look at Moustache’s range, some of its bikes are quite different to a lot of the mainstream brands out there, such as its dual suspension touring biker with front and rear racks and fenders,” he added.

“We’re trying to find gaps in what’s available. If we’re going down the path of cargo bikes and e-bikes, why not look at something offering a different point of view from typical e-bikes for commuting.”

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