Putting Community First

Recently my editor called me up and asked me to do a story on a local bike shop called The Bike Doctor, and of course I knew who they were. If you live in Vancouver, who doesn't right?

They've been around for over 26 years, but the challenge my editor gave me was, "Bill, write something original." "Like a screenplay, " I asked? "No dummy," he said, "something new about the Bike Doctor that we didn't know before." "Ah okay," I said "That makes sense, since you never pay me enough anyway." He hung up.

Okay so onto the story. How to cover the Bike Doctor Local Bike Shop on West Broadway, in Vancouver, and honestly what on earth should I write about? 

My challenge, come up with about 600 words or so on a fresh angle about the store; something that hasn't been covered before.

Yesterday I read lots of articles about the store and its owner Paul Bogaert, and watched a few TV clips; then and after sitting down with the staff at lunch, I learned one new thing that wasn't much reported on before that impressed me and that was DNA. Meaning what do they stand for? What do they value the most? And the answer is their community.

The store, the business, the staff, their DNA is all about giving back to their community in whatever way they can. These people live, breath and talk bike community all the time, but talk is one thing, action is another and I learned a bit more about their process and gleaned more insights into how they think.

The Bike Doctor is one of the only shops in Western Canada that pours every cent they have into supporting Canadian manufacturers -- start-ups and existing older companies; buying only Canadian (or as much as possible) and promoting Canadian-made gear and brands, and everything else in between. 

Additionally I'm told they also helped start almost every cycling advocacy group in the city and supported the launch of HUB and Momentum Magazine.

When Bike Summer, Bike Shorts and Velopalooza arrived in Vancouver, I'm told Bike Doctor provided funding, prizes and elbow grease to those events as well. 

And as a result the community has supported them in turn. Bike Doctor consistently rates as one of the top bike stores in Vancouver, and indeed in Western Canada. 

The Bike Doctor's emphasis has always been on transportation biking. According to Bogaert, "It’s “good fortune” that consumer interest has shifted toward the kind of cycling he promotes.

“It’s not that I knew this was coming, but it’s super-needed. It’s something that I’ve been wanting, working at and trying to support, and it’s now becoming popular.”

Says Bogaert, “But my greatest satisfaction is seeing people who came in and said ‘I really don’t plan to ride to work much’, and six months later they’re like, ‘I can’t believe how much I’m riding!’ That great connection that happens with a person and the right bike and – suddenly they become a cyclist. They realize that they can do it, and it’s fun, and it’s really not that hard.”

Bike Doctor, 137 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, (across from MEC), 604-873-2453, thebikedr.com.

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