Johnny Velo Bikes Now Open in Clintonville
Johnny Velo Bikes celebrated its grand opening earlier this month at 4231 N. High St. in Clintonville. The full-service shop offers everything from flat tire fixes to high-end bikes.
Bike shop operator is a second career for JVB Owner John Robinson. Robinson got burnt out on a travel-heavy career in the banking industry (so much so that his son used to think he worked for the airline). A few years ago he started gravitating towards the idea of opening a bike shop. But, his wife told him frequenting the bike shop was not the equivalent of actually having worked at one, so Robinson started moonlighting on nights and weekends to gain experience.
A long-term goal of saving up and executing his shop dreams, became a the-time-is-now affair when his company went through a round of layoffs.
With more industry experience and knowledge in tow, Robinson started asking himself, “Do I buy a shop? Do I start my own shop?” He visited shops that were for sale. Ultimately, he decided to build something from scratch and JVB was born.
Robinson searched up and down High Street for a storefront, landing a corner space in the middle of a growing hub of local businesses. With neighbors like Hot Chicken Takeover and Little Eater, “That’s my demographic,” Robinson says. They are also an easy pedal from the bike trail.
JVB carries bikes for kids and adolescents, city cruisers for men and women, endurance bikes, road bikes and high-end options from brands like Giant, Bianchi and Kona. The shop carries accessories as well – water bottles, helmets, cycling apparel, bike computers and nutrition supplements.
As a full-service shop, JVB offers tune ups and repairs for any brand of bike. Robinson says they are also the only shop offering a Flat Tire Club. Buy a bike and for an additional $20, a rider gets lifetime service and tube replacement.
The bike shop experience can be intimidating, but Robinson is adamant on creating an environment that’s welcoming to everyone.
“I just want people to come in and feel comfortable,” he says. “I don’t care what they ride or how they ride, I just want to be able to help them so that they can ride more often and enjoy it better.”
‘Enjoy Your Ride’ is even the store’s tagline.
JVB looks to set itself apart in other ways – organizing community rides, creating a helmet pledge for kiddos, and, “Were the only bike shop in town that asks every customer that comes in if they want to make a donation to Pelotonia,” Robinson says.
For him, it’s personal. As a 34-year cancer survivor, Robinson has always wanted to pay back the cancer community.
“Because of my cancer status, I can’t donate blood; I can’t donate bone marrow or anything like that,” he says. “I tell people the only thing I can do is donate my sweat.”
Robinson is captain of Purple Tutu Society Pelotonia team. The purple tutu was supposed to be a joke between Robinson and his friend Dan in a competition to raise money – second to hit the goal donned the tutu – but Dan flipped the script and sported the ballerina gear as a badge of honor. When Dan passed away, the Pelotonia team was created in honor and has since raised over $160,000 for cancer research in two years.
For more information, visit johnnyvelobikes.com.