Not all bike companies are created equal.
Meet Beeline Bikes a mobile bike company that recently opened Beeline Bikes Orange County to further extend its growing network of mobile bike shops.
Based in San Carlos, Calif., Beeline Bikes has operated in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013, servicing many thousands of customers at their homes and at more than 100 corporate locations. Enabling customers to schedule a visit at the time and location of their choosing, Beeline is reinventing how people interact with bike shops. Beeline Bikes’ fleet of 16 mobile bike shops extends across the wider Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Denver, and Boulder.
A Mobile What?
What makes this bike company different is the fact that Beeline has developed a technology platform to streamline customer interaction, enhance operator efficiency and automate the supply chain. Beeline’s full service approach enables franchise owners and mechanic operators to profitably and efficiently run their own Beeline fleet of mobile bike shops.
Allen Ostergar is heading the franchise, teaming with bike industry veterans Tom Eichen and Matthew Mobley.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Allen and his team of very talented mobile bike shop operators,” said Pete Buhl, co-founder and CEO of Beeline Bikes. “They are highly skilled mechanics and bring 30 plus years of combined bike industry experience, which make them uniquely qualified to expand Beeline’s ‘We Come to You’ service in the Orange County Area. This is the beginning of a long partnership, and we look forward supporting the Orange County team as they grow their business.”
A Laguna Niguel resident, Ostergar has been a bike enthusiast since buying a Schwinn Stingray as a youth with money earned from his newspaper route. “After years of cycling in Orange County, I look forward to bringing a completely new type of bike shop experience to riders of all types,” Ostergar said. “As an active rider and a busy husband and father, I appreciate the needs of all riders and look forward to helping cyclists have that magical wind-in-the-hair feeling you only get riding bikes.”
Beeline Bikes Orange County General Manager Eichen has been working in the bike industry for over 25 years. “I’m committed to bringing professional and friendly service to the Orange County Area,” Eichen said. “I’ve always enjoyed providing customers a great experience, and Beeline’s model allows me to connect with cyclists in a whole new way.”
Ostergar, 50, says the idea for a mobile bike company started with his own experience.
“I took one of my bikes to the repair shop for a repair and was appalled that they wanted to keep it for two weeks. That same week I saw an online ad for a mobile bike repair company and wondered if anyone was operating in Orange County. A little research indicated that Beeline Bikes was one of the bigger players in the industry,” he recalls.
However, it wasn’t operating in Orange County.
“That’s when the wheels started to turn in my mind. I sensed that mobile bike repair would be a great fit for Orange County and I contacted the company to see if we could strike a deal. I ended up buying the rights to service all of Orange County,” he said.
It’s no secret that in today’s world, it’s all about convenience. For example, we now have everything from traveling pet groomers to bike shops that will visit you at your home. Think of any convenience as a wave of the future.
“I believe so,” Ostergar says. “Because we don’t have a brick and mortar store, our overhead is much lower than a traditional bike shop, and giving us the ability to offer our services at a price that is equal to or lower than traditional shops at far greater convenience to the customer.”
So why would someone call on Beeline vs. going into an actual store for one-on-one service?
“Convenience is a big factor. With Beeline Bikes, the customer no longer has to load and haul their bikes to the shop and then wait for 10 days to two weeks to go back, load the bikes and haul them home,” Ostergar says.
“We show up at the customer’s home or business and take care of the work on the spot. Also, the customer will actually get better one-on-one service through Beeline Bikes because the mechanic who works on your bike is also the one you will talk to and the cashier who closes the transaction. If you are not satisfied, he will be the one working with you to fix the issue. That’s what I call true one-on-one service.”
And the Customer Is?
Customers who might want to check out the conveinience of Beeline Bikes include Millennials and Baby Boomers, as well as anyone in between.
“Surprisingly the market seems geared toward Baby Boomers and riders over 35 with families. They are in a place where they just don’t have the time to take their bikes to the shop. Our business solves that problem for them,” he says.
On top of that, Beeline can do everything from fix a tire to more.
“We are a full bike shop on wheels. We have a full shop built into the back of our Mercedes Sprinter vans. We can repair all bikes, as well as sell any cycling-related item a customer needs. We have enough parts in inventory on each van to complete all typical bike repairs,” he says. “If we don’t have something on the van, we can special order most parts to arrive within a few days which we can then deliver and install on a follow-up visit.”
Beeline Bikes has complete catalogue available that offers everything from tubes to high-end racing bikes, and more, he says.
Ostergar says OC was chosen to start a franchise because he has I have lived in the area for more than 20 years.
“Not only is it now my home, but the cycling here is some of the best in the country. The weather here allows for cycling year-round and there is very little rain. Cycling is growing quickly in popularity here which will hopefully translate into a booming business for us,” he says.
All in the Family
Not only is Ostergar an avid bike rider, so is everyone in his family.
“My family is known as ‘those guys with the bikes.’ My wife and I are out on our tandem three times per week. All of our vacations now seem to involve some kind of bike adventure. This summer for our family vacation we are planning to ride from San Francisco to LA along the coast. I love riding my bike to meetings and hearing people say: ‘you rode from where?!’ ”
Even his employees are bikers.
“My mechanics are avid cyclists too. Tom Eichen is a former state champion and has owned a bike shop in the past and even helped manufacturers design bicycles. Matt Mobley raced BMX and Josh Peters raced mountain bikes competitively. Their real world experience makes them even better mechanics,” Ostergar says.
Cycling Is For Everybody
But bike riding is for everyone from young to old, he says.
“I loved the freedom that my bike gave me as a youth. I could power myself anywhere at no cost and get there quicker than a car in many instances. Now, feeling the wind in my hair as I ride brings back those same feelings I had as a youth,” he shares. “I think another factor is that most of us have an innate desire to explore. Riding a bike gives us the opportunity to see, feel, hear and even smell our towns and neighborhoods in a new way, outside of the cage of our cars. There is something really satisfying and even joyful about that.”
But even if you are new to cycling, it’s OK.
“Absolutely. Our mechanics start by asking you lots of questions to fit you to the bike that will be right for your needs and budget. We can help you get started with a bike you already own but that may not be working properly, or with an entirely new bike. We want to pair you with a bike that you can enjoy for many years,” he says.
In terms of the cost, there is a minimum charge of $29.99 for Beeline to come to your home or business. That amount is credited toward any service that you order.
“Once people experience our service, most are eager to use our services again. We envision solid growth in Orange County and plan on having 6 vans here by the end of 2017,” he says.
In the end, Beeline Bikes is special to Ostergar in more ways than one.
“We are all about getting more people out on their bikes. A bike that works properly is more fun to ride and will get used more often. That leads to better fitness and health. It also leads to less pollution and people enjoying their communities more. That is very satisfying to me,” he says.
Customers can schedule appointments online at https://beelinebikes.com or by calling 855-58-BIKES.