(The staff at Mike's Bikes in San Rafael, CA)
Founded in 1964 in San Rafael, Mike’s Bikes is now a growing family of local shops in Northern California. The partnership between Ken Martin, Mike Gabrys and Matt Adams is well known in Northern California for their singular focus: Get More People On Bikes. Today, Ken Martin and Matt Adams manage 11 Mike’s Bikes with over 200 employees, selling over 20,000 new bikes a year. We caught up with Matt Adams, just as the holiday sales madness was starting and he graciously took time to speak with us about their growing business and their comprehensive approach to get more people on two-wheels.
peloton: What is your fastest growing segment?
Matt Adams: The are two segments that are growing very fast for us: Competitive road bikes like the Specialized Tarmac and Wilier Zero.7 and transportation bikes like the Raleigh Detour and Specialized Globe
peloton: You sponsor teams and events?
Matt Adams: We believe strongly in supporting the cycling community locally and globally. Given the size of our company and success over the years, I feel we have a responsibility to support cycling and help it grow. We have our own Elite Men’s Road team – Team Mike’s Bikes – and they dominated the NorCal racing scene in only their second year. We also partner closely with a local women’s team – RED Racing. Beyond that, we sponsor about a dozen teams all around the Bay Area. Outside of road racing, we are a huge supporter of the NorCal HS MTB League and have been for a very long time. We support many charity rides, the biggest being the AIDS/Lifecycle ride. And our largest philanthropic effort is our work in Africa where we help local entrepreneurs in Southern Africa set up their own bike shops and help spread the use of the bicycle in their communities.
As for rides, our flagship group ride is the Col Du Pantoll ride during the summer. It’s a weekly evening ride with a monthly CHP escort. It’s fast paced and covers some of the most beautiful roads in the world. We’ve had up to 200 riders and we usually have a big BBQ after. And almost all of our stores have at least one weekly ride that leaves from the shop.
peloton: Describe your craziest customer?
Matt Adams: We are in Northern California so we get all different kinds of crazy. You can only imagine the range of people that come through our Berkeley and San Francisco stores. But as a cycling enthusiast, my favorite kind of crazy is the guy who has to have the best, most unique, fastest, etc. We have one guy who fell in love with my custom S-Works Venge and built his own, but of course his had to be better. I thought I went crazy on my build with Di2, Zipp wheels, and the Calfee battery integration, but Chris went one step further and had custom decals made to cover all the white on the bike with gloss black. Suspiciously, the gloss black on matte black became a stock color for Specialized the next year.
peloton: Any new programs for this year?
Matt Adams: Our newest program is what we call Peloton Club, It’s a way for us to reward our very best customers. Some of the benefits are free MB clothing, free entry into a MB sponsored event, guaranteed 24- hour service turnaround, and free use of our demo fleet. The response has been tremendous since we launched it in November.
peloton: What are you most proud of about Mike's Bikes?
Matt Adams: I am most proud of the positive impact we make on the cycling community. Whether it’s watching one of our African Sister shops grow, seeing the development of one of our U23 racers, or knowing our support of the NorCal League is allowing a high school student to participate in mountain biking. I know our entire company is dedicated to the sport and the cycling community, and that makes my job rewarding.
peloton: What do you hope customers come away thinking about Mikes Bikes?
Matt Adams: I hope customers think our shops are what I know they are: A welcoming, friendly place, with all the knowledge and expertise to make sure you get what you need, backed up with a shopping experience that’s unmatched in the industry.
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