While down in Austin this past week I had a chance to checkout Lance’s bike shop, which is called Mellow Jonny’s. Before I went I checked out the website – which honestly came off a bit over the top. They had few items on there and they were all super-expensive. So while I was still absolutely interested in going, I didn’t quite know what to expect. But when I got there, I was blown away. Turns out there’s good reason to be over the top at a place like this. Here’s a bit of bike shop goodness to help kick off your Friday morning – enjoy!
This place is the mecca of cool cycling stuff to ogle at. Hands down…no competition.
Let’s start off with just walking up to the front of the store. As I was walking in, a SRAM’s Neutral Support car was getting set to head on out (turns out it was around from helping out at an event this past weekend). The coach/driver was actually packing up and just about to drive off when I snapped this.
Once you walk inside, you’ll note there’s two floors – the main floor with mostly merchandise, and the lower level with non-merchandise. The main floor also has the repair shop and cafe. Let’s hit up the main level first.
First off – there be a crapton of bikes here for sale. And not all road bikes either. There are mountain bikes, road bikes, commuter bikes and fixies. And while there are plenty of TT bikes hanging around that aren’t for sale, I didn’t actually see any on the floor for sale.
Now, while this shop has lots of special stuff (which we’ll get to in a second) – it also has plenty of normal stuff that you’d expect from any other bike shop – like nutrition and bike accessories.
And it a wide assortment of clothing as well – everything from very prominent Livestrong items to stuff focusing on the Austin/Texas cycling scene. Most of the designs were pretty cool too.
While most of the stuff in the photos above was kinda reasonably priced (about $20-30 for a nice t-shirt), there was some stuff that was definitely not. Exhibit A – the Jersey’s below – would fall into that category:
They were $120 a pop. Had it been a special jersey from an event like the Olympics, or The Tour de France where I was there myself…then perhaps. But a jersey from a bike shop? Ummm…no thanks.
Now, while the normal bikes and apparel are neat and all – it’s at this juncture that we take a completely different track from normal bike shops.
For example – does your bike shop have this hanging from the ceiling?
On the main floor there is also this back area, which looks like it’s the team workshop area for the newly formed RadioShack Pro Cycling team. I thought it was interesting all the bikes had PowerTaps on them.
There’s also just a lot of random cool stuff floating around. For example, he has all of the Yellow Jersey’s from each and every tour up on the wall. Here’s four of the seven:
And if you wander towards the bathroom they have this cool piece of artwork up on the wall, which when you look a little closer has a cyclist for each stage of the tour he’s done.
And the decorating carries into the bathrooms as well. When nobody was in there, I got this quick shot:
Wondering why there are lockers? Well, one goal of this bike shop is to be a community hub for cyclists and bike commuters. So they offer free bike storage (the place is basically downtown), and also offer showers/soap/lockers for only a $1. Sweet.
Like many shops, they also have a slew of weekly rides as well.
That said, it’s time to head downstairs…
The downstairs is divided up into a number of areas. First up to the left is a fit center and indoor training center.
The training center does bike fits, threshold testing, training and team CompuTrainer competitions. This is pretty cool – and becoming increasingly popular. You take CompuTrainers and link them together and then race against each other.
You bring your own bike in and just toss it on the trainer. I thought it was interesting some bikes had aero wheels on them (given the expense of the tires and using them on a trainer wears them out faster).
If you swing over to the opposite side of the basement, you’ll find a fit studio and another conference room.
It’s inside this conference room that the never ending stream of expensive bikes begins… The below costing a cool $11K. Interestingly, this was the only bike ‘protected’ – everything else was hanging out in the open where anybody could check it out in detail.
But, the real good stuff is just a few feet away. Behold – Lance’s 2009 Tour de France bike – which is interestingly being auctioned off this Sunday for charity. Looks like I caught it just in time before it went out.
(It’s below – the one to the right)
Yup, I’ve now touched the same place that Lance has touched. He’s sweated in the same place I’ve touched with my pinky. Perhaps that bit of cycling connection will carry through to future races.
There’s also a display of new Trek bikes down here as well:
I thought it was cool to see the integrated ANT+ cadence/distance/cadence sensor (Duotrap, noted above) that they introduced earlier this year on some of their bike lines (most expensive). This means you no longer have to deal with a separate sensor for ANT+ compatible devices (like the Garmin 305/310XT/405/705, etc…). Hopefully other bike companies will catch on here as well.
There’s also a bunch of just random interesting stuff floating around – such as below – a good party’s worth of wine bottles.
Or these flowers sitting on a desk – which if you zoom in a bit you’ll see is made from bike parts – cabling for the stems, bar tape for the flowers, and then simply chains in the bottom of the vase.
Last but not least…the cafe.
With the goal of the shop being that of a hub for cyclists, it stands to reason a cafe would be a logical addition. This fairly laid back cafe had a steady stream of folks swinging by while I was there.
So with that, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip through his store. If you’re ever down in Ausitn – definitely go check it out. It’s absolutely worth the trip – even if you end up getting nothing more than a sticker for your bike case.
Great post. Must have been hard to leave.
Thanks for posting all those great pics and information. I’ve tried to make it over to MJ’s when in TX but never had time. Kinda gives a shop some clout when they have tdf yellow jersey’s hanging on the wall. wow. can’t wait to check it out (someday)
Awesome pics! I’ve always wondered what it’s like in there, I wish everyone had a bike shop that awesome around them!
You’ve definitely captured all the good and not so good ($120 jerseys!) of Mellow Johnny’s. I moved down here a year ago from D.C. and still like finding new stuff there. My husband actually works at Pedal Hard (the training center).
Wow. I LOVE this bike shop. Must. Visit. Austin. Again.
Thanks for the tour, I’ve always wanted to check that place out.
Wow – that is my idea of a trip to Mecca.
Thanks for the awesome photos! Very cool! I agree on the pricey jerseys. The row of compu trainers is probably the coolest. Is there anywhere here that has that? Cycle life in Georgetown?
I want, I want, I want, I want!
I love stopping in there when I go to Austin.
I have to go and clean myself up I have drooled so much!
The name “Mellow Johnny’s” is a play on the French term for the leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France, the maillot jaune.
What cracks me up it the name of the associated cafe: Juan Pelota’s. “Pelota” is Spanish for “ball”. So Juan Pelota, a pseudonym that Armstrong used to use when checking in at hotels, is a joking reference to the outcome of his battle with testicular cancer.
Gotta love that he still has more than enough cojones to put that out there.
Did they have a “Hiring” sign out front…I’d be willing to move.
Now where ‘s the real post on BBQ?
Thanks for the tour. My husband has been in the store a few times (of course, he has to visit pretty much every bike store in the area he goes to) but I had not. Those “flowers” are funny!
it’s as if i was there myself! thank you for the tour.
Wow, totally a great read, and some awesome photos. Thanks – I doubt I will ever get a chance to visit this place.
This is a great review but you definitely got a different picture of the place than I got. Maybe because you’re more into biking or maybe because you were doing a review for your blog. I took my father’s bike here to get it fixed up after not riding it for three years after his passing due to cancer. I thought that this would be the place to go and they would be caring and helpful. The bike is not a hunk of junk but is pretty old and means a lot to me as it is one of the things my dad left me that I can put to good use. However, the employees were rude, careless, and condescending. I felt like a second class citizen because I didn’t have a $5000 bike. I will never go back to this place.
Yeah, it’s more just a photo tour than a review. A lot can change in three years…
Great pics thanks Ray!