WebCyclery - 25 Years!

WebCyclery, a bike shop in Bend, Oregon is celebrating their 25th anniversary. Let’s catch up with Owner, Kevin Gorman, as he talks about how it all began. What makes WebCyclery different and the story behind moving the shop into a former church. How has his family been involved in building the business and what is Kevin’s favorite Central Oregon gravel route.

This podcast is sponsored by the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund.


LindaE: Hi, this is Gravel Girl from Dirty Free Hub, and today we have Kevin Gorman from WebCylery. He’s the founder and owner of WebCyclery, and he’s celebrating his 25th year in Bend. Welcome Kevin.

KevinG: Thanks for having me, Linda.

So tell me, how did it all begin? How, how did you end up with a bike shop in Bend, Oregon?

Back in college I was working in a bike shop and I met a friend there and we both thought it’d be really fun to open our own bike shop and do it online. We were, I was taking a class on H T M L back in, I think it was 1996, in Tallahassee, Florida. And I knew I wanted to get as far from Tallahassee, Florida as I could. soon as I graduated, I packed up a rental car and drove across the country and ended up in Bend, Oregon. And my friend came out a few months later and joined me and then we started, started the business and made the first website and took off from there.

LindaE: And the whole concept, as I recall, was all about these Timbucktu bags. Tell me a little bit about that.

KevinG: So one of the first deals we made was with the company called Timbuktu, and they make messenger. And at the time they made custom bags in San Francisco and you could choose different color panels. And at the time, no one else was offering ’em custom. They would order, you know, three or four basic styles and sell those.

But we were the first ones to actually make a website that you could pick the colors and it would show up online the colors that you wanted. And so there were about a million options altogether, and we were the only ones doing it. And we were selling a ton of bags. That was pretty much 95% of our business was selling their bags, and all we had to do is when we’d get an order, we’d hit a button and it would send the order to them and they would send it straight to the customer.

So we really didn’t have to do a whole lot.

LindaE: So how did you evolve into a physical bike shop that’s named WebCyclery? So it’s kind of funny.

KevinG: Well, after a year or two of selling those Timbuktu bags like that, Timbuktu decided that they could do the whole thing by themselves without us doing that. So that took away 95% of our sales. so at that time we’re like, okay, we need to change. Change the way we’re doing things. And at the time, my business partner, he was definitely more passionate. It’s a coding side and making websites, and he didn’t care as much about the bike side and what is, wasn’t as passionate about the business. But, so we ended up splitting up and at that time we’d had a couple people knock on our door asking for parts and all that. And so we’re like, oh, we might need to actually have storefront.

And so we got a little space down in the, Old Mill in the, what’s now the box factory. And it wasn’t very big. It might have been 500 square. And that was our first location. And it also helped getting vendors to, they didn’t wanna sell to guys just working outta their garage.

LindaE: Interesting. So WebCyclery is, is also been a very much of a family business. I believe your father and your brother both involved in WebCyclery for years. So how did that come about?

My brother Todd mean, Todd.

LindaE: Mean Todd

KevinG: Out in, I think it was 1999 and, I wanted him to work with me as much as I could. So we got, he was our first employee and then my father moved out here actually at the same time in 1999. My father, mother and my father had just retired and so we thought it’d be fun to have him around.

So we brought him on board and he helped with as much things, you know, as many things as we could get him to. He wasn’t, you know, super techy and it wasn’t into bikes, but he was definitely a huge help.

LindaE: is it? Is it hard to manage your father and your brother? That sounds a little tricky, I would imagine?

KevinG: Nope, not at all. We get along really well and I know I’ve obviously, I’ve known my brother for my entire life and, I know how he works and he works hard and does a great job.

LindaE: Yeah, me and Todd, and he is not so mean. Might I ask.

KevinG: Correct.

Tell me the story behind the church. I think you’re the only bike shop I’ve ever visited that is housed in a former church. So tell me the, how did that come about?

KevinG: About five years ago, actually exactly five years ago, our lease was coming up in the Old Mill, in the box factory, and we still had one more option, another five year option, but I could see the writing on the wall that that place was getting super busy.

It wasn’t ideal for our retail location. It was getting a little too crowded in the parking lot and so it was time to find a new home. And just so happened that the church became available that week that I started looking, or that day even that I started looking and I went there and I saw it was a big open space, which is all I really needed. It didn’t hurt that I was, had 12 years of Catholic school growing up and my mom likes that, that I go to church every day now.

LindaE: Oh, it’s absolutely a beautiful building.

So tell me what it, what really makes WebCyclery special?

KevinG: I would go back to the, the people, the employees, and our customers. We have, I, I’ve been lucky. I’ve got a lot of great employees who’ve stuck with me a long, long time. They do an excellent job. I’m friends with all of them. And we have great, great customers who keep coming back to us, luckily, and it’s, you know, great to be able to say hi to them.

I recognize their voices on the phone. It’s, it’s just fun seeing this, being able to be part of everyone’s life and helping, you know, share all our passions with them and show them things that we know or help them figure out things that they don’t know.

LindaE: So, tell me, if we wanna visit your shop, where are you?

KevinG: We are located in the Old Stone Church at 1 57 Northwest Franklin Avenue. just a couple blocks from downtown.

So Kevin and how, how do we find you online?

KevinG: You can find us@webcyclery.com.

And Kevin, tell me, are you surprised about the whole gravel craze? You’ve been in the cycling industry forever, so, so when the gravel bike started hitting, what, what did you think

KevinG: Oh, I’ve loved it. I’ve been riding on my road bike on dirt for a long, long time, and it’s, always been fun. I’m, I’m really glad that it’s taken off.

LindaE: Yeah, I remember an incident when we were out in the Ochocos and you were on a road bike and we had quite a few, I think everybody in the entire car or the, on the entire trip flatteded. And so my support vehicle was full of cyclists, and I think that was including you, if I remember Right.

KevinG: Oh yes. Yep. I remember wrecking a tire on that ride.

LindaE: And, and Kevin, what is your favorite gravel, route to ride in central Oregon?

KevinG: My favorite Dirty Freehub route would probably be Sherman’s Waltz up to Round Lake, up, up towards the sisters area. It’s nice long ride. It’s got some really nice, long, beautiful climbs, and even though I’m not built for it, I do like climbing.

So, Kevin, tell me about your shop. If, if somebody’s never been into your shop, uh, kind of, uh, give me a virtual tour.

KevinG: Virtual tour of it. Okay. Well, we’re located in the church,

I think, I think it’s pretty gorgeous. It’s got all the stained glass windows. The church was built in 1912, I believe.

LindaE: Oh, it’s beautiful.

And it’s just a huge open space, nice wood floors, and I think it looks, I think it looks pretty darn nice.

LindaE: I, I have to say, it’s one of the most unique bike shops I’ve ever been in, so it’s really, really a special place.

LindaE: Great. So Kevin, you’ve been in business for 25 years. What are you really proud of? Um, in this, about this 25 years?

KevinG: Proud that I’m still in business after 25 years.

I’m very proud that I’ve been able to work with my family. I’ve been able to keep my employees through the pandemic. I’m very proud of the church. I think it’s a beautiful place, and I’m, I definitely find that that was a, a big step for me being able to get the church.

Obviously there’s a lot of bike shops across Central Oregon. What makes you really unique?

KevinG: What makes us unique? Uh, besides our wonderful staff and our location, I think our product line definitely differs from the average shop. We don’t sell the huge brands, but we sell. amazing bikes, amazing brands. We sell Salsa bikes and Scott bikes, Moots, titanium bikes. You know, Scott has been around forever.

It’s one of the biggest companies in the world. Bike companies in the world, but just not in the US. They’re tiny in the US. Salsa has been doing very nichey products forever. They’ve been doing gravel and fat bikes long before gravel was a big thing long before fat biking was a big. They’ve always been unique, and offer, you know, adventure bikes and that’s what we really enjoy selling.

And Kevin, what is your favorite bike to ride?

KevinG: That’s, that’s a good question. Uh, I love all my bikes. I love riding on the road. I love riding gravel. I love riding on the mountain bike. It, I’m just happy to be outside. I don’t have a preference. If I had to have only one. Probably the mountain bike, but maybe the gravel bike.

LindaE: So Kevin, tell me a good story, that has happened in your business that you really connect to.

KevinG: A good story that happened in my business that I really connect to. Maybe the story would be our very first local customer. Came pounding on our door when I was, we were in our little apartment, we had all our bike parts in the garage and someone comes knocking on our door and my original business partner and I are sitting around in our bathrobes and incoming, these two guys, and it happened to be two who are, who have become very good friends of mine.

But, they wanted to see bike parts and we, so we let ’em into our garage at the time. But we’ve been friends or I’ve been friends with them ever since. So it’s been 25 years I’ve been friends with those.

So Kevin, you have quite the connection to Dirty Freehub. You were actually, one of our, you were our first sponsor, so we really appreciate you for that.

So, but tell me a little bit about the connection between Dirty Freehub and Web Cyclery.

KevinG: The connection with Dirty Freehub and Webcyclery. Well, I met Gravel girl and Captain O back in 1999, I believe, and became friends with them and even lived with them for a while. And, uh, have been on so many numerous rides all over the world, I guess technically with them and have always enjoyed riding with them and being with them and have loved watching the growth of the dirty Free Hub.

It’s been tremendous to watch, and be part of.

LindaE: Thank you so much for joining us today, Kevin. We really appreciate you stopping by.

KevinG: Thank you for having me.

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