I was parked at the Harvard initiative known as Zone 3, talking with folks coming by for free business advice. There were so many cyclists and it got me thinking. What is bike culture? How do you sell bikes?
So I lined up an interview with Charles T James and Daisy Chiu, owners of Crimson Bikes.
Bikes. Lemme tell you that the oldest purchase that I still own today is my bike. It’s a 1976 Schwinn Collegiate. It’s sparkly green. It came with a pair of side baskets on the back and the whole headlight taillight combo WITH a generator. AND my neighbor brought me a 1950s vintage bell to put on the handlebars. I bought this classic bike 12 years ago. When I ride it people turn their heads and they ask where I got it.
So how do you sell a bike? It’s all about bike culture.
Charles and Daisy love to show people the feeling of freedom that comes from riding a bicycle.
Charles fell in love with biking when he rode with his friends bike to go kill a goose. He founded Crimson Bikes as a co-op style program when he was a college student.
After graduation he stepped back to try and start a career in tech, but realized that helping people experience bike riding was a more fulfilling move. The company operated out of what they describe as a broom closet with only 6 bikes before they were able to “get the tires turning”.
Daisy has a disability that requires here to be in a wheelchair. She is a huge proponent of adaptive cycling and accessibility to exercise for disabled people.