G&O Family Cyclery offers hub for family bikers
Photo: Joshua Huston
Tyler Gillies and Davey Oil are best friends, riders, bike advocates and parents. They met in 2000, when Gilles was a barista and Oil a cook in the basement of Elliott Bay Bookstore when it was in Pioneer Square.
In October of 2013 they opened the doors at their new business, G&O Family Cyclery, in the Greenwood area, a business focused on cargo and family bikes. They wanted a friendly store that not only has the latest bikes and equipment, but also serves a community hub for new family bikers and enthusiasts who have been riding for years. They make over and retrofit bikes, too.
We asked Gillies and Oil about G&O Family Cyclery and what products are popular with family bike riders.
SC: G&O Family Cyclery has been open for more than a year-and-a-half. Are you surprised at how things are going?
Oil: It's what I was hoping. Frankly, I'm pretty surprised by everybody's response. The ways the space is used. There's definitely a small but growing community, who were connected through cargo biking, who meet up here to spend social time and get their bikes looked at.
If we step back, it's about bicycles and talking about bikes, but it's not all men – conversations shift between breast-feeding and bike trains. It is important to us!
What are some of the most popular items at the store?
Oil: The Xtracycle EdgeRunner is a cargo bike. It's a longtail, which means the rear end (platform) is 17 or so inches behind the bike and looks like a skateboard. It can carry three children, passengers, six bags of groceries. It's well suited in traditional conditions, is light and the capacity is enormous.
Photo courtesy of Xtracycle
The Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 2.0 is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker system. (The dome-like shell wirelessly streams hi-fi audio using Bluetooth from smartphones and other devices.) It is small and cute looking and can mount to the handlebars. It's great for parenting applications to keep kids entertained or to drown out whining.
Photo courtesy of Outdoor Technology
Another popular product is bags from Swift Industries in Ballard: panniers, rack bags, and trunk bags that attach under the saddle. They can be customized and you can choose your color.
Photo courtesy of Swift Industries
Do some bikes have electric aid and others don't?
Oil: Yes. We don't carry bikes that are built around electrical systems. We do refits. There's a level of quality where we can be picky about the cargo bike and electric assist going into it. We get to stay on top of technology as it develops and change it up. Since opening, there's been a whole turnover of what electric bike offers. We can find bikes that are very good for cargo biking. (Customers) can fall in love with the bike and figure out how to use it. Then they can add assist if they want and what suits them. We live in Seattle, but Seattle is a hilly place.
What is your favorite item in the store?
Gillies: An EdgeRunner bike that has been modified by a business in Georgetown in Seattle and made into cycle truck retrofit. It is awesome. We didn't know how it was going to ride and it is great. We hope to get a few more of them on the floor. It gives a nice big carry load area up front. Another exciting thing is a general technology we are starting to see, a mid-drive motor where the motor, instead of being in one of the hubs, this one mounts to the frame underneath the bottom bracket shell, tucked underneath the frame. The reason it's so exciting is that the motor can produce a lot more torque. Not to go fast, but here it climbs hills. Just phenomenal.
Christina Harper is a freelance writer who lives and works in Seattle. She is the mom of two daughters, Wendy and Lucy.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in June of 2014.