I was lucky. I grew up riding a bike.
I rode everywhere. Through snow to school. Summer mornings along Lake Michigan. During Friday evening rain showers. This was Chicago. Riding was freedom. Riding was a thrill.
Fast forward to 1992 in Sydney and faced with the prospect of more of the corporate treadmill, the seeds of what would become Renegade Cycles were planted.
Market research consisted of pinning every bike shop listed in the Yellow Pages on a map of Sydney. I also bought a floppy disc (remember them?) of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It contained the latest data (1986) on cycling demographics by local government area across Sydney. Lane Cove ranked 10th for cycling but had only one small bike shop: Lane Cove Cycles. It was for sale.
Over three months the local bike shop was bought and new premises were found. I wanted a name that wasn’t so location-specific. More high-powered market research followed. This consisted of asking mates to describe in three adjectives how they felt riding a bike. ‘Free’, ‘independent’,’ wind in your hair’ all were a common thread. Armed with a thesaurus and a few red wines, Renegade Cycles got the nod. We moved to the new premises and opened under our Renegade banner in February 1993.
24 years on it’s still a great time. People shop at Renegade Cycles because they enjoy their riding and they want to do something that will make them feel good about themselves. I get to be a part of that which is very satisfying.
So yes, it’s something I still wake to and look forward to each day. Just as I did when I was that kid in Chicago. There is less hair these days but the wind - and the thrill - are still there.