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Industry Ticker: Beeline Bikes mobile bike shop expands into Portland

Posted by on June 8th, 2015 at 10:14 am

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Beeline’s home page.

Are mobile bike shops that come to your door the next big thing? Beeline Bikes, a company that has found success in the San Francisco Bay Area thinks so. With two years under their belts, Beeline is now offering franchises and they’re testing the concept in the Portland market.

Learn more in the press release below:

Beeline Bikes brings the Mobile Bike Shop to Portland

Beeline Bikes, based in San Carlos, CA, is leading the #1 trend in the bicycle industry – the Mobile Bike Shop. By enabling customers to schedule a visit at the time and location of their choosing, Beeline is reinventing how people interact with bike shops by providing the ultimate in customer convenience.

Beeline has grown to 6 mobile bike shops in the SF Bay Area and exceeded the expectations of many thousands of customers. Beeline is now offering franchise opportunities in the US with an initial focus on the Portland. For franchise information visit https://beelinebikes.com/franchise

Beeline supports individual cyclists and their home or work. Most of the leading bike friendly companies in the San Francisco Bay Area collaborate with Beeline to offer a virtual bike shop at work for their employees.

Beeline was co-founded by Pete Buhl, a former tech industry executive and a long time cycling enthusiast. He started Beeline after finding it extremely difficult to get his bike serviced at a traditional bike shop: As a paying customer, he was astounded to be turned away from 4 shops that simply refused to work on his bike – one shop only serviced bikes they sold, another refused to work on his bike brand, and 2 other shops had waits of 2 to 3 weeks for service. Pete developed an innovative business model and joined forces with Andy Jeffrey, co-founder & CTO and Neil Macc, a 15 year cycling industry veteran, with incredible bicycle knowledge, and experience as a mechanic, service manager and buyer in the industry.

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Beeline brings the Mobile Bike Shop and customer convenience to the bicycle industry. The Beeline approach enables the customer to get service and product at the location and time of their choosing – the ultimate convenience, and enables the mechanic to provide friendly, professional personalized support to the customer. The Beeline platform and fully developed supply chain combined with a low overhead model enables mechanics to make a good living in the industry they love.

Customers appreciate the convenience of the bike shop coming to them at the time and location of their choice…..the ability to support a customer at their home or work is a huge win given everyone’s busy schedules. Also, consider the house call at which Beeline can address all the bikes in the garage in one efficient visit.

Beeline has serviced up to 8 bikes at a single house call – imagine the logistics of getting multiple bikes to and from a traditional shop for service. The Beeline objective – make it easy for more folks to get out and ride more often on a safe, well tuned & well equipped bike.

Founders

– Pete Buhl – co-Founder & CEO – over 30 years as a cycling enthusiast and 20+ years experience in Silicon Valley as a technology investor and operating executive. UC Berkeley.

– Andy Jeffrey – co-Founder & CTO – 25 years experience in roles as technology & operations executive (including building scalable inventory management, supply chain and retail systems). Williams College.

– Neil Macc – VP of Operations – 16 years in the bicycle industry as a mechanic, service manager and buyer. Past Service Manager at Palo Alto Bicycles.

The video below offers a quick overview of Beeline’s approach…

Portland is definitely the type of market where a service like this could work. It will be interesting to see whether or not it catches on.

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30 Comments
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    Chris I June 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Beeline should strongly consider adding side under-ride guards to that vehicle. Trucks without them are a major hazard to cyclists and pedestrians, and the guards are now required in most European countries:
    http://www.sandiegopersonalinjuryattorney.pro/img/sideguard-truck-accident-safety.jpg

    Or they could switch to a smaller vehicle like a Sprinter van, which would likely be a better choice for our narrow streets, with the added bonus of no under-ride risk.

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  • Tony T
    Tony T June 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Hello trademark confusion.

    http://b-linepdx.com/

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      Chris I June 8, 2015 at 11:48 am

      I’m sure Mike Sinyard will find a way to sue.

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    Adam H. June 8, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Nothing says “We support cycling” quite like driving a giant truck around town. Sounds like a typical Silicon Valley solution to a non-existent problem.

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      Paul June 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Yeah, seriously a box truck? We’re fixing bikes here! How about something smaller like a Transit Connect work van or minivan? If you need dry space, deploy a tent!

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    Evan June 8, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I like the idea of mobile bike shops, but it’s not new – Portland has multiple mobile shops including WrenchRaiders, Rolling Wrench, Sproketfly, Left Coast, and NoPo Mobile bike shop. The difference is that in Portland, we use bikes, trikes, and human power instead of bringing large trucks in to your neighborhood. I’m surprised there is no mention of these existing businesses in the article.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Hi Evan,

      Thanks for pointing those businesses out. These “Industry Ticker” articles are meant to be very quick to post and we don’t devote much reporting time to them. That’s why you don’t see more original work and that’s why I didn’t take the time to go into the other mobile bike businesses in Portland. Thanks for understanding.

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        Erik June 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm

        I’ve been a mobile repair shop in a box truck for 29 years. Peter was a regular customer of mine for over 15 years. I was the first to suggest the franchising of my business to him. He offered me a position at his company before it launched two years ago…I refused. It’s been too sweet running this business all these years without a boss, employees or paying franchise fees. To all those that think a box truck is too big, if you want to be able to do all repairs of all bikes correctly and efficiently you need inventory space. I sell my mobile start manual

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      Adam H. June 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Agreed. Mobile bike shops should be bike-powered.

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      Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      I didn’t know about these local businesses, so thank you.

      A mobile service would be extremely valuable for me. I’m not just unwilling to do my own repairs; I actually am unable. For routine maintenance I can get to my bike shop, but if something goes unride-ably wrong, I’m up the creek. No car, my bike’s too heavy for me to lift it onto a bus, and god forbid get a rear flat because I can’t handle that myself.

      Before people go calling this type of service a solution to a nonexistent problem, consider all those would-be riders who don’t ride because they can’t or don’t want to be their own mechanics. I bought a practically indestructible bike with practically indestructible tires because I’m one if those people, but things still do go wrong, and not always within walking distance of my specialty bike shop.

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        Adam H. June 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

        A city-wide bike share program would be a great way for those people to ride that don’t want to deal with maintenance. Honestly, the mobile bike shop isn’t a bad idea, but the fact that they use a giant truck pisses me off. What if you have a breakdown on the Springwater?

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          Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 2:38 pm

          Personally, based on reports around here, I’m too scared of the Springwater to ride there, but I take your point…and I agree that the large truck is problematic.

          On the other hand, I have a lot of things brought to me by large(ish) trucks. Not sure I’m spotless here.

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          Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm

          Also, bikeshare wouldn’t meet my needs unless there were a station right outside my door. For me (and I imagine for others), a serious commitment to not owning a car has absolutely depended on having a bike immediately at hand. I do way too much by bike to be walking to some bikeshare station half a mile away. The day may come when Portland has a densely-deployed bikeshare system, but that day doesn’t look like it’s coming very soon.

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          Eric June 9, 2015 at 12:55 am

          Cargo tow bike brings you a loaner… is there a shop doing this yet?

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    CaptainKarma June 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I think I’d much rather support the homegrown folks, just because.

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    • Tony T
      Tony T June 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      It’s not even “just because.” More of your money stays in town. Win!

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    PDXrider June 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    VeloFix out of Vancouver (BC, Canada) is doing a similar thing and, and their platform is based on the Sprinter van. Its an interesting concept but I would think it tough to compete against standard bike shops as they continue to add value to the customer experience (like associated coffee shops, beer, etc.) and I never need too much of an excuse to go look at all the pretty shiny new things.

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      dan June 8, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Not to mention, somebody has to pay for the time spent traveling and not working on bikes. The VeloFix franchise seems pretty nice, but I wouldn’t imagine it was cheap, so you still have overhead to factor into your costs, which could make free estimates kind of a hard thing to justify. Add to that the few times where it turns out you didn’t have the part you needed, and then you’ve got the return trip.

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    Eric June 8, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Never had a bike a shop turn down a bike from me for service….not sure who that happens to. Working at BG many years ago, we never turned down a bike. Bike service is what pays the bills!
    Also, there are so many bikes shops in the area, you can practically throw a stone and hit one from wherever you are. But, if this company wants to trot around in a big diesel box van to serve customers, they have the right to do it and maybe they will be successful, which is good for bike culture in general.
    They better pray they don’t run over a bicyclist doing this (or worse! a duck!). That would be bad PR.

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      Mark June 8, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      BG has been notorious for discouraging service in favor of buying one of their new bikes. The first friend’s bike I ever fixed for pay had been quoted double what it needed to justify buying new. That was not the last time I heard the same story.

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    PDXrider June 8, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I had a big, well established local bike shop (RCB) tell me I would be lowest priority since I bought my bike elsewhere – a 6 -10 week wait during peak riding season. Not exactly a refusal but it effectively was. I get prioritizing your customers but they didn’t deal in that brand when I bought the bike so buying from them wasn’t an option at the time and, because of the specifics of the repair, it needed to go to an authorized dealer. Luckily another authorized dealer down by the side of the lake in LO got me in and out in a couple days.

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      was carless June 9, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Interesting. I bought my bike at river city but now do repairs at Sellwood cycle repair, the small shops work harder for your business IMO.

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    Mark June 8, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    It will be interesting to see how they do. Lots of fun comments here. Somehow I suspect Beeline is more interested in what corporate suburbanites think about the service than they are concerned with the hip urban opinions voiced here or the local human powered competition. To be fair the carbon footprint is at least neutral if not negative since they might save you driving to and from a shop maybe twice or more. Convenience is the new King?

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      Chris I June 9, 2015 at 6:23 am

      I think you are right about the clientele, although I can’t recall ever driving to a shop multiple times to get one repair done.

      With the Silicon Valley “services come to me” crowd moving here in droves, I’m sure this business will do just fine.

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    Christopher Sanderson June 8, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    I echo the sentiments from above that this could totally be done by cargo bike and trailer, which Rolling Wrench is already doing. Besides, the overhead on a cargo bike and trailer is much lower than running that box truck around town, and makes better business sense.

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    Mark June 9, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Unfortunately human powered service severely limits itself geographically. Plus with a truck you have room for a full stock of parts and accessories to sell. Local shops do need to take notice and adapt somehow or risk losing a lot of bread and butter service work. Even spookier for established shops is the fact that Beeline Bikes has an online store and can deliver new bikes fully built and tuned. Do they have a truck on the ground in pdx yet?

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    Erik June 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I have 29 years doing the mobile bike thing. Peter was a long time customer of mine and I suggested he franchise my business 10 years ago. He offered me a position with his company before launching two years ago. I refused because I liked being my own boss, without being tied to a company and paying franchise fees. About the box truck. To repair all bike issues the space needed for inventory requires a big truck. There are many other reasons that make a box truck necessary to maximize profit and my manual sells on amazon if anyone is interested in the details of my 29 years of experience

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    Erik June 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Sorry this didn’t make it. My point…the concept works. Beeline should do fine

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    Fourknees June 10, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Not sure what is proprietary about this? Every major bike shop has a normal van or suv with tools. I see these at every charity/group ride type events, even with pop up tent that some have mentioned. Seems like competitors could easy provide the same service.
    Am I missing something?

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      Erik June 10, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      I think the only thing you are missing is that most mobile only shops are less expensive than a brick and mortar shop, and a solo shop like mine you are always dealing with the same mechanic

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