Retail Briefs: Popular Brisbane Bike Store Owner Dies During 53rd Birthday MTB Ride

Craig Saunders, long time owner / manager of River City Cycles in the Brisbane suburb of Yeronga, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday 1st June. It was his 53rd birthday and he was out mountain biking with his son at one of Brisbane’s most popular trails.

His family released the following statement on Instagram:

“With a Broken Heart we wish to let everyone know that yesterday morning, whilst Craig was having a momentary stop at Mt Coo-tha Lookout during his mountain bike ride with our son Jackson, he experienced a medical episode and could not be saved.

“We are beyond devastated and struggling with Craig’s unexpected passing. We appreciate your compassion and patience at this difficult time. Thank you Sarah, Jackson & Madison.”

Editor’s Note
I enjoyed visiting Craig at his store multiple times during occasional trips to Brisbane over the 29 years since it opened in 1995. He was always a willing participant in our How’s Business column, with our most recent chat just a couple of months ago here.

Craig was always an innovator at River City Cycles, being an early retailer of adventure riding / bikepacking bikes and also setting up professionally presented ‘store within store’ displays for some of his key brands.

I’m sure I would be joined by all of his bicycle industry colleagues in passing on our sincere condolences to his family.

Lifecycle Shopfront

Three Very Long-Standing Bicycle Stores for Sale in Tough Retail Market

Tough times are continuing for many members of Australia’s bicycle industry. As you’ll see later in this article, three bicycle stores are currently on sale via our Classifieds at the moment that have a combined trading history of 203 years! That’s 49, 69 and 85 years respectively for the three stores.

Two of Australia’s largest wholesalers recently posted their latest financial statements with ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission). All ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) listed public companies and foreign owned companies are required to submit their annual audited financial reports with ASIC and these can be purchased by members of the public.

While our policy has always been not to publish individual company data, we review these reports every year as they’re a valuable source of information. In summary, the most recent reports are showing either greatly reduced profits or increased losses.

Top line sales revenue is down by around 20%, which is not insignificant, but the biggest problem has been the cost of discounting, which has impacted gross profit margins.

Meanwhile on the retail front, we’re currently running classified advertisements for three very long-established bicycle retail stores that are all up for sale. In two of these cases, the owners are retiring.

Lifecycle in inner city Brisbane has been owned and operated for the past nine years by Mark Priestly and for decades prior to that by former NZ champion cyclist Blair Stockwell.

Mark recalled, “In 2015, I was given the opportunity to become the owner of this long standing business at its 37 year location at the Normanby Fiveways, right near the CBD. I came in at a time of much change in the industry, many players influencing the directions of stores, plus a few surprises to overcome.

Tamworth Bicycles shopfront

“In February 2017, I made the decision to move from the location and reopened in Highgate Hill in a much smaller operation, concentrating on service, selected frame and bike stock catering to well informed clientele. Added a few unique services and saw the business recover and remain operating.

“Lifecycle is a brand that is 49 years old, has a deep history and love among the cycling community and is a name that should be continued in the hands of the next enthusiast.”

The other two stores currently listed for sale in our classifieds are both in regional NSW.

Tamworth Bicycles has been running for a mere 85 years. Tamworth is a regional town of with 65,246 residents in the regional council area. It’s best known for its annual country music festival. Owner Tom McCluand is looking to retire.

Turner Cycles logo

75 kilometres to the west of Tamworth in Gunnedah, Garry and Angie Turner are also looking to retire and have put Turner Cycles on the market after 69 years of family ownership.

The store, which is on Gunnedah’s main street has a massive 700 square metres of floor area, something city shop owners would love. They own the freehold, which is potentially available for purchase with the business or for rent at $60 per square metre per year, another number that would make an inner city bike shop owner paying $400 or more, quite envious!

Meanwhile, there’s still a shortage of staff for many stores, particularly good, experienced mechanics. Our employment classifieds currently show positions vacant for a suspension technician, bicycle mechanic, store manager and custom wheels manager.

You can see more details about all three stores for sale and positions vacant via our Classifieds here.


  1. D. Phillips on 7th June 2024 at 7:14 am

    Craig certainly did a mist excellent job with River City Cycles! An Innovator most certainly, and a long term player in the Industry. He got a lot of people on bicycles and kept them there. That’s a Good Thing. My most sincere Condolences.

  2. Noel McFarlane on 7th June 2024 at 6:36 am

    Very sad to read about Craig’s passing.

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