Comox bicycle company celebrates 30 years

Simon’s Cycles started in a basement

It started in their basement 30 years ago.

Since then, Simon Brampton and Patti Fletcher have expanded Simon’s Cycles to a garage addition, to a location on Church Street to its present location on Comox Avenue.

Looking back on those early days, Brampton recalls he was among the first Kona dealers anywhere in the world.

“They were new, so they dealt with us,” Brampton said of the Vancouver-based Kona Bicycle Company.

He recalls delivering flyers by bike to homes — a practice which came to a halt as the business grew. They opened a Satellite Simon’s in Cumberland — the Village’s first bike shop — but then sold it to the people who opened Dodge City Cycles.

The couple’s first employee was a teenager. The teen’s father — wanting his son to have a job and gain some useful skills — insisted on paying his son’s wage. But he didn’t want to do it directly, so he paid Brampton and Fletcher, who in turn paid their worker.

They now employ a staff of five when it’s slow and eight during the busy months. Manager Craig Harris has been with them for 25 years.

Regardless of time of year, the business likes to remind customers of its credo: No bad weather, just bad gear.

It also believes in ‘different spokes for different folks.’ Electric bikes, for instance, have become a popular mode of transportation for some people.

Along with running a business, Brampton and Fletcher take pride in being part of the Comox Valley recreation scene. The business supports organizations such as the Cumberland Forest Society, and events such as the Comox Valley Tri-K, the Royal Lepage Snow to Surf, and the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.

“That’s (community involvement) important to us,” said Fletcher, noting the business used to host an event called the Fat Chance Poker Ride at Comox Lake. “That was a huge event for years.”

Simon’s Cycles won the Chamber of Commerce New Business of the Year Award in 1991. It has also picked up a few of the Record’s People’s Choice Awards.

Stay tuned for a 30-year celebration sometime in April — but not on the first, Brampton quips.


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