Wheels back on as bike business booms
Only months ago the wheels had fallen off Noosa bike business Spoke N Trail as the initial COVID-19 business shockwaves first hit.
Now a delighted owner Jimmy Dawson has been pedalling flat out to keep up with "crazy" demand as people rediscover the simple joys of cycling.
Mr Dawson is so busy these days he's had to add three more staff to his one-stop mountain biking sales, hire, workshop and skills-coaching shop.
On Saturday this local success story is having a grand opening at bigger Noosaville premises.
The former champion mountain bike enduro rider hit a huge income pothole back when the shutdowns occurred.
"The foot traffic stopped overnight and the phones went dead," Mr Dawson said.
"Initially the business looked at whether or not we would have to be laying off staff and closing up the doors, but the end result is that we've had expansion and the ability to take on more local people.
"After that first week, that's when it really started booming for us."
Mr Dawson calls it the COVID craziness, when their business was besieged by people either wanting to buy new bikes or have their old, often long-neglected bikes back up and running.
"Basically we were assisting people to get out and get active in the fresh air," he said.
He said the bike sales had settled down to a nice steady level, but his workshop was still operating "flat chat" to keep up with demand to keep riders out on the trails.
In fact those keen to have their bikes serviced still have to wait a few days to book them in.
The winter recovery has come after Spoke N Trail had a strong year in 2019.
Mr Dawson was already looking at a larger workspace after making the top five retail outlets nationally in electric bike sales for their main brand Specialized Australia.
For Mr Dawson this is the pay-off for taking a punt on establishing a business around his number one lifestyle pursuit.
"For about 15 years I was working locally as a mountain biking guide and skills coach and then I saw an opportunity in the market for a cycling services and retail company," he said.
A couple of years ago he was a champion enduro rider, but competing has taken a back seat to these days sponsoring a race series.
He's also started up his own junior race team.
"The idea is to help develop their race craft and to keep their bikes running," he said.
"We have a core of say six on the team and anything up to 12."
On Saturday they are inviting the public to come out to the Leo Alley Way premises at a social distance to enjoy a day of celebrations including ebike demonstrations, drinks, pizza and music.
The day kicks off 9am with a beginner/intermediate trail ride and then at 12pm a faster social paced e-bike demonstration by Specialized Australia.
The day ends with a post-ride COVID-Safe shop front social gathering with bikes on display, music, food and BYO drinks.