Interview by Sara Button, Photos by Natalie Goff
Have y’all checked out the new bike shop in town? Velo Republic Bicycle Co. & Service Station over on Fort Worth Drive had their grand opening earlier this month and we got to speak with the shops general manager, Nic Bagherpour.
The bike shop formerly known as The Bicycle and Run Path closed their doors and sold to local business owner, Gabe Aguilar. The space has reopened as Velo Republic Bicycle Co. & Service Station, and the staff looks forward to serving the community of Denton.
Bagherpour spoke with us about his favorite places to ride in Denton, his involvement in the biking community, and the amazing service we can expect from Velo Republic.
WE DENTON DO IT: How long have you been involved in the biking community in Denton?
Nic Bagherpour: I've been involved in cycling in Denton for about a decade. It all started with my car breaking down and being basically totaled. So, I got a cheap bike from Target for like $50 to get to and from work. I soon realized two things - I wanted a nicer bike and I really enjoyed cycling and wanted to get more involved in it
Eventually, I ditched the cheap bike and rehabbed an old Nishiki Olympic 12 road bike and that's when my passion really started. I started going into Bluebonnet Bikes in Lewisville so often, they offered me a job there and that's how I got started working in shops. Right around that time, Querencia Community Bicycle Shop was starting up and I got involved through the encouragement of my friend, Howard Draper who started bikedenton.org.
How did you meet up with owner Gabe Aguilar?
Gabe and I first met when I started working at Bicycles Plus in Coppell. He'd been there for a couple of years already. Once we figured out we both lived in Denton, we started commuting together and hanging out. Gabe's a drummer in a bunch of bands and I'm a failed guitarist and just generally a music nerd, so we hit it off pretty well from the start. We've talked and dreamed of starting our own shop together here in Denton for years, since it's the town we live in and love so much. So when Gabe found out this shop was for sale, he bought it and asked me to come help him run it.
What do you think Velo will bring to the community of Denton?
I think Velo Republic will bring a new level of awesome customer service and a good assortment of mid-range to high end bicycles to Denton. Gabe and I both have several years of experience in bike shops and also in retail. So we're very customer service oriented and we expect the same of our staff. The biggest focus of my training toward the staff is customer service based. Many of the retail establishments where I've worked were family owned and operated and still emphasized what I believe to be the best parts of the "old way" of doing business. Greeting customers with a smile, being honest with them, and making them feel like they're part of the family here is what we're all about. We want this shop to be more than just a place where people buy bikes and have them repaired. We want them to feel like this is a place where they can come and hang out even when they don't need anything. We also want our customers to know that just because they have a small repair or they aren't buying a $4000 bike, we still value their business.
Where is your favorite place to ride your bike to in Denton?
It's a tough call to say where my favorite place to ride in Denton is. I like riding to Aubrey via FM 428 (Sherman Rd. in town) and I also like to ride west down Oak into Ponder and Krum. There are also some great gravel road routes north of us in the Sanger/Krum/Valley View area. But, lately, one of my favorite rides has been riding the Denton Katy Trail with my wife, Brenda. It's nice to be able to share something I'm passionate about with my wife.
What is your next personal bike purchase looking like?
The bike I'm really wanting to get is called a Fargo and it's made by Salsa Cycles. It's a pretty unique bike, because it's a 29er mountain bike but it has "drop" handlebars like a road bike. It's made for "bikepacking", which is basically the cycling version of backpacking. You do multi-day off-road touring and you pack all the gear you'll need on the bike in bags and racks. It's something that has been tempting me for years because it combines two things I love--cycling and camping--into one activity.
How do you think the city of Denton can help improve our streets, or the town in general, for cyclists?
When I look back over the 11+ years that I've lived here in Denton, I realize how much has improved in this community for cyclists. Though general awareness of cyclists could always be increased and improved, I think that a much larger percentage of the community looks out for us and shares the road. We've also gained some bike lanes, though I'd like to see more. I'm pretty sure that's actually in the master plan for the city's pedestrian and cycling plan.
I'm really excited about our new Pedestrian and Cycling Coordinator for the City of Denton, Julie Anderson. She's been by the shop and we've talked on the phone a few times. She's very passionate about her job and has a great vision for the community. She's also incredibly receptive to suggestions and input from the community and she has been taking time out of her free time to get involved in community rides and other events. I look forward to all of the great things Julie is going to contribute to our community.
The biggest thing I'd like to see happen here in Denton is for us to get a mountain bike trail in the city limits. I think it could be a tremendous economic boon to the city if we did it right. It would improve our status as a cycling destination in DFW.