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Renowned throughout Australia as one of the industry leaders in bike shop innovation, Pushys Bicycle Warehouse is a Canberran institution.
There has been a bike shop on the Pushys site for as long as most Canberrans can remember.
Pushys was established in 2010, from the previous store on site, Onya Bike Fyshwick. Onya Bike started out as a small store in the shell of the old Canberra Cycles store, slowly taking over the shopfronts of surrounding businesses and making improvements to become the store you can visit today. Just eighteen months ago they expanded again; Pushys Plus now exists in a cavernous space behind the original store.
Pushys has always aimed to accommodate the broadest range of bike riders possible, and now they have the space to make that happen. The front store caters to the traditional market, with mid-range bikes for your typical Canberran rider, as well as clothes and accessories. There are kids’ bikes, trailers and child-seats, as well as a large selection of car racks. There is even a room dedicated to electric bikes, appealing to a rapidly-expanding section of the market.
The back store draws a different customer – the type who self-identifies as a serious cyclist, and wants the bike to go with the lifestyle. Here you’ll find more expensive bicycles looking right at home next to bspoke café and bar, complete with roaring fire place and single origin coffee. There’s a beer garden out the back, and meeting rooms that are available for use to the public, gratis.
They’re even considering opening a barbershop as a complementary addition to Pushys Plus – soon they’ll be running a bicycle village on that iconic Fyshwick block.
The centre of the impressive Pushys Plus space is where Steve Hogg, world-famous bicycle fitter, has been installed. Dave, Pushys general manager, is taking me on a tour of the new space when we come across a massage table.
“You weren’t kidding about catering to a new level of clientele,” I say upon sighting the table.
“That’s for Steve,” Dave says. “It’s where he uses his magnet drill.”
“Uses his what?”
We move on, with Dave promising to put me in touch with Mr Hogg for more detail on magnets. Clearly, Pushys is diversifying – with a clear eye on the growth of cycling as a lifestyle choice for a range of different customers.
One of the biggest areas of growth has been electric bicycles. Pushys has been at the forefront of e-bike retail in Canberra since the technology has existed.
“I’ve been interested in e-bikes for the past fifteen years,” said former owner Peter Keast. Peter sold the store years ago – when it was Onya Bike Fyshwick – but maintains close links through his Brompton city bike importation business. He happened to be in Pushys e-bike showroom when I visited.
“At the start they were a disaster. Nothing worked, the batteries overheated, the wiring was terrible. We’ve come a long way.”
“Electric bikes are now only being held back by two things in Australia; culture, and the laws that govern e-bike use,” Peter said.
“Mandatory helmets are an issue, but so is the fact that people generally don’t see bikes as an easy way to get around.”
Peter is confident that bikes with electric-assist function could change that – if people could be encouraged to give them a try.
And Pushys is having success in convincing the Canberra market to give e-bikes a go.
“When we first started selling them, we’d do maybe one or two bikes a month,” said Dave. “Now it is seven or eight a week, on average.”
“We have a dedicated e-bike mechanic on site, but really they only need the same amount of attention as a regular bike. As long as you keep the battery charged, there’s really no difference.”
For Pushys owner Shane Wolki, part of the e-bike push is about opening up bike riding to people who wouldn’t normally be able to ride a regular bike.
“It’s a mobility issue for a lot of people,” Shane said. “For the bike riders who are getting older but still want to get out on their bikes, having a little bit of help might be what makes the difference and allows them to keep on doing what they love.”
“It also opens up riding to someone who might have recently had a hip replacement and needs low-impact exercise – people who’d never have even considered a bike before.”
But they are also seeing a generational shift when it comes to ebike uptake. “In the past couple of years we’ve been selling far more e-bikes to younger people, who mainly want them for their commutes,” said Dave.
“You want to ride to work but you just want to wear civvies and not work up a sweat. The electric bikes make it so much easier, and more people are realising that.”
Pushys stocks five brands of electric bikes, with prices starting around $2,000. If you want to try one, and get a taste of how your life could change with a bit of electric-assist, go and see the guys at Pushys in Fyshwick. Grab a coffee while you’re there, or perhaps a beer – maybe even a haircut.
Want to know more? Come along to Pedal Power ACT’s next Social and Information Night on June 20 to hear about the latest trends in cycling gear and gadgets from the cycling gurus at Pushys. Or visit Pushys at 70 Newcastle St, Fyshwick. They’re open 7 days a week.