Steveston business owner Tony Dales is hoping a "collective" effort from him and his customers will help get the wheels rolling on a novel idea for bike repair and maintenance.
Dales, who runs Steveston Bicycle & Kayak Shoppe, launched a do-it-yourself bike repair and training service earlier last month at his London Landing store that provides the workspace, tools and even some expert advice and help - if you need it - to keep your ride running smoothly.
It's a big departure from the traditional "drop-it-off-with-the-pros" way of doing business, but a clear sign of the times when new ideas are being offered to attract trade.
"The cycling business, like any other retail business, has morphed out of all semblance of what it was when I started in it around 10 years ago," Dales said. "What we're seeing with a model like this - consumer-based retail - is you'd better figure it out quick and change. And change is the only constant in retail."
It's also a reflection of how society has evolved.
"When I grew up, almost all of us had their parents' garage full of tools. And we all hung out there as teenagers and fixed all the bikes in the neighbourhood," Dales said. "Eventually, we moved on to motorcycles, cars and girls. But nowadays, you look around and most young guys and gals don't get that opportunity. That's just one of the reasons to do this."
On a personal basis, Dales said he'd much rather teach customers than just act as a seller of goods.
"That's my personal motivation," he said. "I've worked with kids in our school system and I've seen this as something that could really take off."
Where it might end up, Dales is not sure. "Maybe a bike repair school."
But at this point, he's focused on running the operation on a "learn-by-doing" basis.
"This is definitely the de-emphasising of retail and emphasizing of the experiential side," he said.
Two customers who are looking forward to use the new service are the cycling husband and wife duo, Shirley and Roy Haddock.
Both retired, they have called London Landing home for the past two years. They enjoy regular cycling excursions and would benefit from a little inside information to help keep their bikes in good running order.
Fellow customer Greg Rahn said he likes the do-it-yourself concept and convenience of being able to access a wide range of specialized tools that many bicycle owners would not necessarily have at their fingertips.
While the idea is loosely based on the framework of a collective, there is a charge for the service.
Cost for the service falls into three tiers that rise depending on how much professional intervention you need.
On the low end, for bike enthusiasts who already know their way around all the sprockets and gears, the cost is $8 an hour. That gets you a workbench spot, bike stand and access to tools.
At the mid range level, $16 an hour buys you verbal directions from staff.
And $24 an hour is meant for those who require hands-on help.