To set us off, I’m delighted to feature Pete, Lia and Andrew from Bio-Mechanics Cycles & Repairs.
- What is Bio-Mechanics Cycles & Repairs?
We’re mainly a bicycle repair workshop, but we also carry a range of specialist touring bikes—such as Surly and Vivente—as well as Curve bikes and wheels, Whyte bikes, and accessories such as Syntace, Tune, Brooks, Ortlieb, SQ-Lab, Kask and more.
- What makes your shop unique?
Whereas most bicycle stores see repairs as a secondary arm to their business—and have the same mountain bikes and road bikes as everyone else—we’re the polar opposite of that model. Repairs are the focus of our business, and our expertise is in skilled and accurate technical work. We often get referrals from other bike shops, and we also do suspension work in-house rather than sending it interstate. We’re known for our attention to detail and customer service.
- How long has it been in existence?
BMCR opened in Nov 2004. We’re coming up to our thirteenth birthday, which is really exciting. (Keep an eye on our Facebook page; we usually do birthday week give-aways!)
- Who are the people behind Bio-Mechanics Cycles & Repairs and what are their roles?
Peter Hague has been working in bike shops since he was 15, and wanted to create a place where cyclists could feel that their bikes were being expertly looked after. Peter was the sole force behind BMCR for its first three years, until he was joined by his wife, Lia Weston, in 2007. Lia looks after the customer service, admin, and marketing (though she will change your tube if you ask her nicely). In 2009, Andrew Field joined the shop as BMCR’s second mechanic, bringing another 20 years of bicycle industry mechanical experience. We’re a small and dedicated team, and fortunately all share a high tolerance for Tool and Weird Al Yankovic music.
- In a paragraph or two, can you provide a brief cycling history of each?
Pete started racing road bikes in the late 80s/early 90s, then went across to MTB racing in the mid 90s.
He’s always had a fascination with bikes, even from a very young age, and it never left him. Lia is a dedicated commuter (she loves her steel Surly) and also hits the hills on her road bike when her writing (see next question) allows. Andrew started riding in Brownhill Creek shortly after he could walk. He’s been competing in mountain bike races since 1988, and is still having a blast.
- What are your team’s interests outside of cycling?
Pete enjoys gardening, and eating and drinking stuff.
Lia is a published author; her second novel, Those Pleasant Girls, was released in April, with a third book due out in 2018. In between writing and working, she loves to meander through the parklands with BMCR’s shop dog, Kif.
Andrew has no interest outside cycling.
- What are your favourite cycling routes?
Pete likes anywhere that’s not the test-ride block around the shop. Lia enjoys the old classic route of Norton to Lofty and down the old freeway. Andrew’s favourite route is the Sturt Gorge trails, including Craigburn Farm.
- What bikes do you have in your garage?
Pete and Lia have a Baum, custom steel MTB, Santa Cruz MTB, Lemond, and their Surly 3-speed commuters. Andrew has too many bikes to mention.
- What do you like about Adelaide and why?
Adelaide is a beautiful, progressive and accessible city. It’s been really exciting to watch the arts and food scenes in particular flourish over the past few years. From a cycling point of view, it also has the potential to be a mecca—hills one way, beaches the other, and a flat CBD that’s easy to navigate.
Hopefully progress can continue to be made to ensure the promotion, safety and participation of cyclists of all ages and abilities, whether newbies or experienced. More people on bikes makes for a happier city!
- What are some of your challenges as a bike shop?
We’re pretty busy year-round—which is great, especially as most people find us through word-of-mouth—but it often means that Pete works extremely long hours. (10 pm finishes during our peak season are not uncommon.) Taking more than a week for a holiday is not possible at the moment as it involves closing the shop completely. When considering expanding our staff, it’s very tricky to find mechanics with the skills we need; our reputation is based on our service work, so we’re extremely particular about the people we take on.
- What are some of the more common jobs you work on in the shop?
We deal with a lot of mystery clicks and creaks, and also tricky gear issues. Often when people find us, they’ve already been to a couple of other shops without getting their problem resolved, and they’re happy to finally find somewhere that can fix it! We’re also known for our suspension work and problem-solving skills. A lot of our customers also have their regular service work done on a yearly or six-monthly basis; our general service is very thorough and basically involves stripping the bike down to a frame and rebuilding it from scratch. We also get a lot of tourers on their way through Adelaide who need emergency repairs; we have a lot of experience in touring bikes, and it’s always great to meet people who are seeing Australia from two wheels. Some of the distances ridden are just mind-boggling.
- Have there been any standout projects come through your doors?
Lots, but custom builds are always special, such as James Raison’s Curve Belgie he used on the Indy Pac.
Frame: Curve Belgie Spirit – 56 cm
Fork: Curve Road 12 mm
Handlebars: Syntace Racelite Carbon 44 cm
Aero bars: Syntace C3
Stem: Tune Geiles Teil 110 mm
Seatpost: Syntace P6 Hi Flex
Saddle: Specialized Power Expert 143 mm
Seatpost clamp: Tune Schraubwürger
Hubs: Tune Kong/King
Rims: Curve CC 38
Spokes: DT Aerolite
Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 35 mm tubeless
Bar tape: Fat Wrap
172.5 mm, 50/34 chainrings
160 mm Shimano rotors
custom 13-36 SRAM cassette – cog sequence: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28, 32, 36.
Pete put together a specific cassette to give me usable gears for the flat, and a big range on the climbs. He individually chose cogs from multiple cassettes and made sure they would all work together. The shifting quality is fantastic and there’s no issues with chain slack. He’s a wizard.
We’re also working on one at the moment that will change the way people think about small road bikes. We can’t say any more than that at this point in time…
- There has been a few major changes to cycling over the years, from uptake trends such as Mountain biking, Road, CX, plus the introduction of disc brakes onto high end Road bikes, not to mention the disruptive on-line technologies. Where do you think cycling is going over the next 5 years?
It’s always difficult to guess these things, but greater electronics is probably an obvious one. E-bikes are becoming more and more popular, so it would be nice to see them evolve into something that isn’t a tank: most e-bikes need a motor because they weigh so much. Remove the motor and battery, and you have a bike you can pedal.
- Do you have any cycling partnerships you’d like to mention?
We’ve sponsored the Adelaide MTB Club for 12 years, and we also sponsor the Kingston SE Triathlon. We’ve worked with remedial masseuse Holly Hicks from Bodyline Health for many years (though she’s just moved interstate *sob*).
One of the services we offer is bike fittings, so when customers have musculoskeletal issues which are beyond our area of expertise, we’re happy to send people to the team at the South Australian Sports Medicine Centre on South Terrace.
Thanks guys, a pleasure as always.
You can catch up with Pete, Lia and Andrew here.