Have you heard of a business called Red Mountain Bikes?
If not, it’s okay – it’s not a real business. One day, we noticed a large group of cyclists congregating in a parking lot across from our bDot 29th Street Studio. Seeing such a large and vibrant gathering – a community, really – inspired us to create a business out of thin air, one that would cater to the needs of Birmingham’s growing bicycling community.
We decided that Red Mountain Bikes would be a bicycle repair shop and store. We imagined that the owners previously had a mobile bike repair shop that would travel around town, performing repairs and serving as a place for cyclists to gather. Now it was time for a more permanent location, one that gave cyclists something around which they could gather consistently.
The goal, then was to create a dynamic building, and have a portion of the store and repair shop available around the downtown area to fix broken bikes, move inventory, promote cycling culture, and establish a presence in communities as well as at regional events. The mobile unit – a large moving truck, essentially – would be a key part of this design and could couple with the floor of the shop when the truck wasn’t in use. Then, when the truck is docked, it could serve as an extension of the service floor.
This change in elevation would allow for the use of large ramps to access the sales floor, enabling cyclist traffic to ride right up to the rotating pedal-powered front doors. There, they could gather and socialize, shop in the store, and wait for their bicycles to be repaired.
We also incorporated several sustainable features into the space, including rain water collection on the roof, xeriscaping, and bioswales. Xeriscaping is a way to landscape a property that minimizes the need for irrigation. Bioswales are landscape elements that work to remove silt and other polluting elements from runoff water. The result: an ample supply of treated water for the property.
We imagine that Red Mountain Bikes would set up shop along Birmingham’s newest biking trail in an effort to reinforce the spine of activity along First Avenue South and act as a checkpoint along the trail system. Cyclists from all over would gravitate to this trail and others in the area, and would use Red Mountain Bikes as a social nucleus for the community.
Red Mountain Bikes exists only on paper and in our imaginations, but that is where any great venture begins: in that initial spark of “What if?” and “Why not?”