POTSDAM — Jean-Pierre Lavigne is filling a void in the village with a boutique-style bike shop he opened Aug. 7, one that he hopes will build a following.
Owner and operator of the new Cycles Endurance & Sports at 25 Market St., Mr. Lavigne has more than 30 years in the world of cycling, from traveling across Europe by bike, competing as a triathlon and World Cup cyclist, and then working as a trainer.
After Ted C. Prahl closed the doors of his Tread Mill Bikes, formerly at 55 Market St., the 51-year-old Mr. Lavigne is bringing a bike shop back into the community, but that’s not all. He is also bringing a repair shop that will cater to bikes, including those bought outside his store, skis and snowboards. Ice skate sharpening is also available, as well as backyard and street hockey style gear.
Mr. Lavigne’s 19-year-old son, Eirik, a SUNY Canton student, will help him run the shop, which is currently open noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
In terms of sales, bike brands include Giant, Raleigh, LaPierre and their house brand, Endurance, as well as parts and accessories from helmets for the riders down to the tires they will be riding on.
The house, Endurance-brand bike comes in steel, alloy and carbon fiber. The first two models are manufactured in the company’s manufacturer, based in Mr. Lavigne’s native Montreal. The carbon fiber model is manufactured overseas but is designed and painted by Mr. Lavigne’s Montreal company, he said.
“We are going to be a little bit different. We’re going to have more of a European flavor to the road bikes,” Mr. Lavigne said. “They have more of a European geometry. It’s more of a relaxed, comfortable ride.”
He said while the market area demands for more of a community-style bike, he is going to cater to the demands of the community, including the local mountain bikers and road bikers. He will also be offering services of professional bike fitting, which he’s done since 1988.
“There’s a lot of road riders here, so we have a good selection of (road bikes) anywhere from the $300 range to unlimited,” he said.
Mr. Lavigne is moving from his store location at the former Frederick’s Bikes, Kayaks, and Storage, 5235 Route 37, Malone, but will leave a repair shop open in that location.
“Eighty percent of my business the last two summers came from Potsdam and Canton, even with the fact that Treadmill was here,” Mr. Lavigne said. “People were driving up and they knew we were selling more midrange to high-end (bikes) and the repairs, we did Walmart bikes, where I feel people feel intimidated about bringing their Walmart bike to a bike shop (but) we’ll fix them.”
But Mr. Lavigne said he also wants to be engaged with the community, utilizing his years of experience, which started when he welded his first bike and took it to Europe where he cycled through nine countries in four-and-a-half months. After that, he participated in a triathlon in 1987-88 and mountain biking from 1992 to 1997, and was involved in World Cup cycling and went on to training, including triathlete and Iron Man victor Lisa Bentley, he said.
Starting in the spring, he said he wants to start holding clinics that will build on that experience and hopefully grow a cycling community.
“So if we can start to introduce those types of adventures, whether it’s to be a racer, a commuter, or to go travel, we can definitely help you because of the experience that I have and what I’ve done in my lifetime,” he said. “We’re definitely going to try and recruit kids and show them a different sport. It’s a non-impact sport and you’re outdoors and that’s the main thing, getting kids outdoors and riding bikes.”