B1 Bicycles is celebrating its fifth year in business.
The shop, at 124 E. Long St., opened its doors May 5, 2007.
“We started out primarily as a single-speed, fixed-gear, urban-focused cycle shop that also offered full service repairs,” said Casey Karnes, owner of B1 Bicycles. “I made sure to have every tool for every job from the beginning. As the business matured, we were able to use other companies’ lines of credit to stock merchandise and not pay cash for everything, which limited our selection.”
As time went on, B1 began carrying higher end road, mountain and cyclocross bikes, and trimming its selection of fixed-gear bikes as the trend shifted toward super low end products.
“We have focused more on the fitness side of cycling, as well as staying true to our urban/commuter roots,” Karnes said.
Before B1 opened downtown, local riders had no choice but to go to Clintonville or Grandview for repairs, he said.
“Us messengers used to always go to Baer Wheels, but it’s kind of a haul when you have a mechanical on your bike,” he added. “So my old roommate and I had a little fix-it shop in our basement in the Short North on Dennison Avenue, which was cool.”
In 2005, Karnes got serious about opening a bicycle shop, so he began saving money, working like crazy, and eating just one “super cheap” meal a day.
“It was tough, but I did it,” he said.
Karnes started out with three employees (including his now-wife Maika). He considered himself lucky to have them, as he was still working as a legal courier at Thompson Hine on weekdays and washing dishes at Betty’s on the weekends.
Today, B1 has five to seven employees for most of the year, and carries cycling clothing, shoes, helmets, gloves, glasses, and more than 50 bikes.
“We try to have around 150 to 200 in stock, and around the end of the summer I like it to be nothing but the next model year on the floor,” Karnes said.
When it comes to Columbus’s bicycling culture, he’s encouraged by the progress that’s been made since his business launched.
“Downtown Columbus is looking more amazing every day and feels completely different in our five years of being open downtown,” he said. “I love coming to work downtown every day and can’t imagine being anywhere else. So continue to support us and B1 will be here to stay, and we will be looking forward to our 10 year anniversary.”
To learn more about B1 Bicycles, visit B1Bicycles.com.