Thanks to frequent flier miles, I was able to sneak down to Austin and visit one of the most talked about bike shops opened in recent history (of course, only bike nerds talked about it, but still). For the non-bike nerds that visit here, Mellow Johnny's is the bike shop owned by Lance Armstrong. You remember, the guy that won 7 Tours de France... the big bike race... in France... every summer... ok, fine, the guy that started those yellow bracelets (yeah, buy some) - That guy!
His shop's name has a bit of history in cycling circles, but simply put - the leader's jersey in the Tour is known as the "Maillot Jaune", which means "Yellow Jersey". A nickname, or for kids who can't pronounce it, is "Mellow Johnny". This also became synonymous with Lance owed to the fact that during many of this Tour wins he was pretty even-keel. Teammates and family began to call him "Mellow Johnny" (or Johnny Mellow or Johnathon Mellow) for all of the above reasons. So, his shop now bears the very American name with the very French reference.
Don't think I'd ever seen an entire Brooks display case before. The Brits do know their leathers.
Kinda hard to tell from this pic, but this bike cost about $15,000. A handmade one of a kind.
"Plata Negra" in the flesh.
Motorola's team issue Caloi, circa '93-ish (I wish the pic was better).
Some of you probably saw this at EuroBike over the weekend, but I got to hold it in Austin. The whole Campy Super Record 11 group is in stock and ready for sale at about $3200.
I was excited to be going to the shop, but not super impressed upon seeing it. That is not to say it's poorly done not a cool shop to visit. Rather, I wondered to myself how a relatively small store (there are bigger shops in and around Austin) can continue to do well with so many employees (~10+) and, what looked to be slow sales.
I was not offered a look at the books, so I can't say for sure. But, I do know what a busy, humming, bikeshop is like on a Saturday afternoon - This didn't remind me of it. To me though, it's not about the bikes, but more about seeing some history and cool new stuff, which Mellow Johnny's has in spades (in the record books and in his store).
My feeling is that bikes can be art inherently, but they even had some official bike art.