Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Orange Cycle, Orlando

I've been promising this for a while now, and now that the bacterial infection in my household is on the decline, I can get to it. This is the Orlando Bike Shop Tour.
OK... Actually, this city-wide survey turned into a real Bike Shop Tour...just one shop. Here's why...

I learned a few months back that my job was shipping me off to Orlando for training, and I'd just hatched the idea to take a peek at the Gainesville shops, so it stands to reason that I'd combine the two. Went out on the old webby-poo and did a quick search for Orlando Bike Shops and came away with a general list of stores and addresses, the only one which was familiar to me being Orange Cycle. Two other 'shops' were reasonably close by, via address, so they made the list...'Bikes Beans and Bordeaux' and 'Glory Cycles'.

On to the tour...

Stop one...Glory below in its 'melancholy and infinite sadness'...

OOPS! Seems times are hard in the Orlando bike biz...shame. No flaming babies to award here.

Score - Goose Egg!

Glory Cycles
1005 Virginia Dr

Next stop...Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux...

Uh...OOPS! This place is actually a restaurant! A nasty little curbside bump in an aging automobile oriented strip mall, no less! I expected Mellow Johnny's, and instead I found $9 hoagies, stale coffee and worn out bike parts spray painted silver and screwed randomly into the drywall. Somebody must have gotten a postcard from Boulder or Madison or Austin, or some such college town hipster-ville and had a business plan epiphany. But like most things even remotely associated with Orlando and Disney, something went horribly wrong in the translation and execution! I was so shocked that I hid behind an SUV and took covert pictures like a cold war spy. Bonus points to the tacky strip mall for having a bill-board in the parking lot advertising injury malpractice law firms...classy. So much for web instructions on bike shops in O-town.

Score - Goose Egg!

Bikes Beans and Bordeaux
3022 Corrine Dr

Final stop...Orange Cycle.
I've been here before. This place was the VooDoo dealer back in the day, and when VooDoo first came out, after the split between Joe Murray and Kona, one of my college buddies and I made a special drive to Orlando to rub our junk on the top tube of an orange Bizango that they had on the floor. Then, it was a much smaller shop, but still the 'flag bearer' in central Florida bike-dom. Today, Orange Cycle is well on it's way toward big box style world domination, ala Disney itself. The street view of OC, seen here occupying nearly the entire block face...

Here's a shot inside, showing merchandising at the point of sale, and the register facilities...

OOPS! HERE's the inside shot, not that it makes any difference... Sorry about that...

Seems that like most things in Orlando, Orange Cycles has grown into a bloated caricature of fake Italianate Architecture or a 80,000 square foot sushi bar on International Drive, this place is over the top. I understand the concept...offer all things to all people, but cycling doesn't translate well to this approach. I find it hard to believe that anybody gets very good information or service here, and my experience reflected that, as I walked the lonely isles for 15 minutes, and even took pictures, and nobody said a word to me. I must look homeless.
On to Da Score!
1 Flaming Baby - Was there anybody even there on the clock?
1 Flaming Baby - Wally Word for the bike-minded. Bring a tent, and a sack lunch maybe. At least some breadcrumbs so you can find your way back to the front door.
4 Flamers - Specialized and Cannondale. and the good stuff to boot!...Not just Rockhoppers and Hot Rocks and crap like that.
4 Flamers - Again, wall to wall stuff. None of it very cool, but essentially everything you'd need to simulate your favorite HGH pumping euro-trash pro cyclist.
Fuzzy Feeling!
1 Sizzler - 15 minutes left me bloated with a lifetime of agony for the future of the cycling industry. Sure somebody there is getting rich off bikes, and the success is good I least on some level. Still, money isn't everything, and this shop owner needs to go to church.
Overall...2 Torched Tots. Everything you didn't know you needed in a bike shop...and more!
Orange Cycles
2204 Edgewater Dr

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I THOUGHT I sensed a bit of, shall we say, "passive-aggressive arrogance" throughout my entire retail journey there, whether from the gay day-manager, the owner (who once FAILED TO HOLD OPEN THE DOOR TO HIS OWN STORE as I trailed 3 steps behind while walking my bike!) or the esteemed service staff, which run the gamut from ornery straight-edge (think Henry Rollins '89 FOREVER), a Breaking Away-type character (w/ Indie sensibilities of course), and a pot-bellied red-headed guy (whether Potbelly contributes on ANY level to the Straight-edge's demeanor is undetermined). Now honestly, would anyone come up with a review like this if they had been truly delighted w/ this vampire nest? Hmmmmmmm.....