Broom Wagon Cyclery takes its namesake from the nickname of the vehicle that follows the Tour de France to pick up stranded riders who can’t continue the race due to physical or mechanical issues.
“We thought it was fantastic,” says owner Marty Vanderhoek. “A nice reference to the sport of course but also we’re here to help riders who need a tune up or they need an accessory or their bike needs attention so that’s exactly what the Broom Wagon does. It follows the race and helps people.”
After six years and counting working in the cycling industry from a sales person up to a manager, Vanderhoek decided to open his own store on the Danforth east of Pape Avenue. In addition to selling commuter bikes meant for running errands and getting to and from school or work, the shop also offers full service repairs.
“What we’re doing here is offering a very bright, friendly, welcoming atmosphere in a bike shop,” he says. “There’s not a repair that we can’t do because we have every tool.”
Vanderhoek hopes customers walk away feeling like all their questions have been answered and like they want to return, whether it’s to talk to him or to check out new gear. He also hopes their bikes are working better than ever.
“We’ve actually already got that response from a few customers that have left, they’ve said, ‘My bike has never worked this well’ so that’s kudos to my mechanic,” he says, adding Theo Tsimbidis, the shop’s resident mechanic, also has over six years experience in the industry.
Before opening his doors on April 21, he says he felt every emotion from bouts of confidence to shear panic, but was quickly reassured by the positive reaction from people in the community.
“Ever since opening day the neighbourhood response has been fantastic, they walk in and they’re excited to see a nice bike shop and to have a bike shop within a reasonable distance,” he says. “It’s been overwhelming. I thank everybody for their warm response.”
He says he first developed an interest in bikes when he started working in a restaurant and older staff members rode bikes that were much different than the department store brand he’d grown up riding.
“It blew my mind,” he says. “I thought they were the coolest looking bikes I had ever seen in my life and they invited me on a ride, these were 19-year-olds asking a 13, 14-year-old for a ride so I was blown away by that and it just got me hooked from there.”
Vanderhoek, who advises two locks are better than one and commuting cyclists should always assume cars don’t see them, says he’s enjoyed coming to work more than ever since he started his own business. Whether it’s talking about a lock or a $5,000 racing bike, he says he enjoys being able to chat with customers about all aspects of bikes.
“The best part about cycling for me, it feels like you’re a kid, even if you’re in your 30s or 40s, whatever, it doesn’t matter,” he says. “Riding a bike feels like you’re a kid again. It’s a lot of fun.”
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