Lance Armstrong plans to open a bike shop, commuting center, training facility, and café in his home town of Austin, Texas. It’s no surprise that the Tour de France champion is continuing to work in the cycling industry. However, rather than using his name to hock the latest, greatest, ultra-bling racing bikes, Armstrong is hoping to inspire everyday people to get out and ride – as he always has.
Armstrong’s story of overcoming was hard to ignore, and it transcended the “fringe” sport of cycling. Armstrong battled with cancer, returned from the brink of death, and conquered the Tour de France – arguably the most difficult event in all of sports – seven straight times.
While spandex-clad athletes may still receive raised brows in NASCAR-nation, cycling has come a long way during Armstrong’s reign. He had more to do with sparking the surging bike market in the United States than anybody. Armstrong’s impact even has a name in the bike industry: The Lance Effect.
Mellow Johnny’s, named for the “maillot juane,” the leader’s jersey in the Tour de France, will be located one block from the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, an east-west path planned through downtown Austin. Although the shop will sell fancy high-zoot model bikes, the focus will be on encouraging commuters and developing a bike culture. The shop will feature showers, a locker room, and bike storage available to commuters who ride to work downtown.
Armstrong hopes to help Austin become more like Portland, Oregon, where bikes are integrated into daily life. As he tells Austin 360, “Walk outside, and the streets are lined with bikes — because they have a safe place to ride.”
From Austin 360:
"There are times I ride in Austin, and I’m afraid of cars," Armstrong said. "Imagine what the beginner cyclist must feel like? I think (Mayor) Will Wynn’s dream was this whole revitalization of downtown, which we’re getting, but it’s going to make it a lot easier if people can get around on bikes."
"If you’re a commuter, you’re just as important to us as the state champion on a road bike," Bart Knaggs, Armstrong’s partner in the project said.
"Potentially, more important," Armstrong added.
Photo via flickr by Butterflies-R-Free.