Old is new at the Retro Rides bike shop in Ottawa
Bikes from 1930s, 1940s adorn walls of new downtown shop
If you're in the market for a new bike this spring, you won't find one at Jason Komendat's store.
Retro Bikes, which recently opened on Sparks Street, only sells old, vintage bikes, some of which are older than the pedestrian mall itself.
Komendat spoke to CBC Radio's In Town and Out host Giacomo Panico about his store ahead of Bike To Work Month, which is held in May.
Among the collection of vintage bikes in his shop are a pair of tricycles made in Japan for Canadian Tire back in the 1970s. A retired high school principal from southern Ontario drove 1,400 kilometres to bring them back to Ottawa, Komendat said.
"A lot of things are timeless. Bicycles are definitely one thing that are timeless. The fact that a bicycle is vintage does not negate the fact that is it high quality, safe, beautiful, and unique," he said.
"We're really interested in getting people into commuting and a lot of bike shops in Ottawa - they're fantastic. The local bike shop culture here in Ottawa is amazing. It's one of the reasons why I have chosen not to sell brand new bikes because that's really well-covered."
Retro Bikes used to be run out of Komendat's house, but now has a more visible storefront on Canada's oldest pedestrian mall.
People who walk into his store won't feel intimidated, he said. In fact, they'll feel a little nostalgia browsing through the collection of old-school bicycles and tricycles.
"They remember the bikes that they rode, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, even 50 years ago. The colours, the graphics on the bikes, the quality of the bikes people know, they remember," he said.
"If they get a chance to put a leg over a bike and take it for a little spin on Sparks Street, they come back and they're excited. They can feel the quality that comes with a vintage steel bike that was manufactured with super clean steel, really nice bearings, and beautiful quality paint."