Chasing the Dream
Everyone who has ever worked in a bike shop has dreamed, at least once, of owning their own store. For most people, this dream fades, dies or is replaced by something new. But for some, the dream never dies — and for a select few, if they’re smart, lucky and work hard, the dream actually comes true.
Opened in 2006 by industry veteran and lifelong shop rat, Darren McKay, Vancouver’s Dream Cycle may be the perfect embodiment of this dream. Beautiful, custom-built steel touring and city bikes line the shop floor. Jewel-like components gleam in glass-fronted wooden cases. Hand-painted and carved signs welcome customers and spell out the shop’s services and rates. Even the tool benches and work stands ooze quality and careful consideration.
Living the Dream
The staff takes its responsibility as a neighbourhood shop seriously, and go out of its way to ensure everyone, from tire-kicker to stranded commuter, feels welcome. Dream Cycle handles all manner of bicycles and offers every type of service you could ask for — along with a few you probably wouldn’t.
But a cycling enthusiast who walks through the door at 1010 Commercial Drive will quickly realize they have stumbled across something special. While the shop’s rich decor, custom builds and well-chosen parts and accessories are noteworthy on its own, its true role, and that of Dream Cycle itself, is to help customers answer the question Darren asks at the beginning of every custom-bike build consultation. “So, what’s your dream?”
Building the Dream
Dream Cycle offers every service and resource necessary for the execution of a custom bicycle built in-house. The process starts with an interview that covers everything from fit to components to accessories. Darren offers stock frames from a number of companies, and has built relationships with several well-known frame builders. He also offers custom fitting, allowing him to tailor an off-the-shelf frame to suit or to work with a frame builder to customize measurements and geometry.
Dream Cycle handles or facilitates every step of the process, from ordering parts to hand-building wheels to custom paint, ensuring that the final product meets the customer’s, and Dream Cycle’s, high expectations. And with every custom-build that rolls out of the shop, Dream Cycle’s reputation is growing. “We’re building bikes for people who’ve just flow into town,” says Darren with pride. “They come to us to have the bike of their dreams built before hitting the road to tour around BC.”
But as good as its methodology has become, it’s the passion and fun that Darren and his staff bring to their work that makes each build something special. Darren sums up his role as mechanic, custom-builder, shop manager and small business owner this way: “I get to monkey around and ride some of the nicest bikes in the world.” With his help, so can you.
Article written by Omar Bhimji