Anne-Marie Gagnon, part-founder of Drop Bar Cycles, Squamish's newest offering for cycle enthusiasts, is certain that the time is right for a shop dedicated to "drop" bar cycling.
"Another Squamish bike shop?" you may be asking, and the answer is on the front page of the shop's website, where a hashtag proudly proclaims that they are definitely "notanothermountainbikeshop."
"All of the existing shops are very mountain bike focused," says Gagnon. "What many people don't realize is the Sea to Sky is also a great area for gravel and road riding, touring and bike packing. We hope to be a resource for riders who want to discover this outdoor paradise in a different way."
Gagnon founded Vancouver's Liv and Giant stores in Kitsilano, Vancouver, after running a Giant in Montreal and being offered a store in Vancouver by the company. After living in Squamish for a time with business and life partner Brad Collins, they relocated to North Vancouver where they still live and commute to Kits and now Squamish.
They and co-owner Andrew Dineen of New Zealand saw a market for the shop when they noticed a lot of customers travelling from the corridor to buy drop bar bikes in Vancouver.
"We thought we could offer a good selection of road bikes and gravel bikes, which nobody focuses on in Squamish," Gagnon said.
Due to strong brand alliances with Giant and Liv, those brands will be featured in the shop as well as adventure cycling brand Salsa and Canadian brand Argon 18; their "dream shop," stocked with only brands they would ride themselves.
But, they don't plan to be exclusive; if community members need help or have questions about riding or bike maintenance, they are welcome to come by.
"We're bike friendly people, any bike, even if it's not one of our bikes, we want to help people be more comfortable riding road and gravel, but also service bikes and answering questions," said Gagnon.
Giant and Liv in Vancouver host bike maintenance clinics several times a year and Gagnon hopes to bring that service to Squamish: "if people want to learn, we'll be happy to do that here."
The trio has first-hand knowledge of the sport's potential in the area. Gagnon and Collins are both avid cyclocross riders who explored extensively while residents of Squamish and Gagnon has toured the Pacific Northwest and Europe with her gear strapped to her bike; "we really enjoy riding and we also share a love of superior cycling brands with cool factor."
They hope to not only sell bikes but also provide a needed hub for the drop bar cycling and cyclocross community. They plan to organize events, rides, and races.
"We are very excited to expand our relationship with the community," said Gagnon. "We spend a lot of our time in Squamish, working and playing, and hope to move back there very soon."
The store is open and is hosting a social gravel ride on Feb. 18 as their grand opening event. For information visit www.dropbarcycles.com.
Editor's note: Stacy Thomas is our new business columnist, replacing Kirsten Andrews. To reach Thomas, email, firstname.lastname@example.org.