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Innovations Threaten the Neighborhood Bike Shop | NY Times

Sean Sweeney opened the door to the refurbished 1839 barn behind his home in Wayne, Pa., outside of Philadelphia. Inside, one bicycle after another hung from hooks screwed into a beefy ceiling beam: Mr. Sweeney’s triathlon bike, road bike and two mountain bikes dangled alongside four bikes belonging to his wife and one of his three daughters. Mr. Sweeney races often, and the whole family competes in triathlons.

The 59-year-old Mr. Sweeney, a strategic adviser for the Tokio Marine insurance companies, always hated hauling the bikes to a local shop to be tuned up and repaired. “I have to carry that big thing right there,” he said, gesturing toward a bicycle rack for his car. “I have to load it; it smacks my legs. My wife and kids, they all hate doing it, and we all put it off.”

On this day, however, Mr. Sweeney only had to point to the bike he wanted repaired — a Trek hardtail mountain bike with a few mysterious squeaks after a recent race — and the work was underway. Seth Samson, a bicycle mechanic for a company called Velofix, rolled the bike into a large red van parked in Mr. Sweeney’s driveway, clipped it to a stand and started taking it apart.

As Mr. Samson worked, Mr. Sweeney asked him about a bike he wanted to buy, a light and fast off-road bike he thought would give him an advantage in a race. The bike would be bought through this Velofix franchise, part of a Canadian mobile bike shop company, and Mr. Samson would deliver it to his door, assembled and ready to ride.

Read the full article by Jim Rendon on the NYT website.