Bike Shop Ken opens on Route 7 in Danbury
Last week, Alder opened his third bike shop, fittingly called Bike Shop Ken, at 66 Sugar Hollow Road (Route 7). He sells mountain, road and BMX bikes and accessories as well as performs repairs and maintenance in the 950-square-foot store.
He also maintains a mobile bike repair business, also called Bike Shop Ken.
Alder opened Cycle Dynamics in Westport when he was 20 years old. He sold that store and, at age 30, opened River Bicycles in Greenwich. He sold that business two years ago.
“I didn’t think I was coming back to retail, but here I am,” Alder said. “I missed having a bike shop. I figured this time I’d do a bike shop that was manageable. I don’t want a shop that needs six people there all the time. I called it Bike Shop Ken because I’ll probably be the only one working here. It’s low-key and fun.”
Customers may bring in bicycles for repairs or a tune-up, or Alder will drive his van to the customer and either fix the bike on the spot or bring it back to his shop. He will also return the bike when it is fixed. He started his mobile business 10 years ago, a trend that is now becoming more popular, he said.
Alder takes pride in knowing that the two previous shops he founded are still in business.
“By my own count, 27 bike shops in Fairfield County have come and gone since I opened my first shop. It’s just the nature of the business. They close because of high rents and the internet is killing business,” he said. “I sold my shops to people I trusted and knew would keep it going. They care about what they do.”
Alder started riding bikes in the late 1970s at a BMX course in Wilton when he was a teenager. That’s also when he started fixing bikes and landed his first job in the business. Other than a two-year hiatus to drive a truck cross country with his wife and dog (a cocker spaniel named Rodeo), Alder has been in a bike shop ever since that first job.
Bike Shop Ken, which has a Facebook page and website www.bikeshopken.com, includes a new hydraulic repair stand that allows Alder to position bicycles at different heights and angles without him stooping down.
Being a small shop, Alder has a relatively small but diverse selection of bicycles on hand. He said mountain bikes are popular now and demand for road bikes has cooled off.
“Road biking was up, up and away for a long time. Once Lance Armstrong got snagged the popularity dropped,” Alder said. “Now mountain biking is making a big comeback. The pendulum is always swinging. It seems they are never popular at the same time. I have a little of everything and my vendors will get me other bikes, usually within a day. I’ll even deliver it to the customers.”
The bike that is drawing the most attention now, he said, is the large and colorful “Big Ripper” BMX bike by SE Bikes, inspired by the MTV show “Rob & Big.”
Alder plans to hold mountain bike rides through his shop at local spots such as Bennett’s Pond State Park and Huntington State Park.
To reach Bike Shop Ken, call 203-969-5326.