The Gladdening Effect of Gladys Bikes

Bike MoveMany of us have helped friends with a “bike move”, when one moves an entire household by bike and bike trailer. However, have you ever helped move a business by bike?

This past weekend, Gladys Bikes did just that, moving from their flagship location on N Williams to their new – bigger and brighter – space at 2905 NE Alberta. The event was complete with coffee, donuts, beer, pizza, and laughter; lots of it in fact.

That’s because Gladys Bikes focuses on the feel-good part of bicycling, so much so that their name pays homage to feeling good on a bike. Gladys Bikes’ namesake is a bicycle owned by turn-of-the-century suffragist Frances E Willard. At the age of 53, Willard taught herself to ride a bike as an example of women’s capacity to do anything. The gladdening effect bicycling had on her and her wellbeing resulted in her bike being named Gladys.

Gladys Bikes owner, Leah Benson, shares that enthusiasm for bicycling and its benefits. Yet she would assert that feeling good on your bike is also about finding a bike that fits your body and feels good to ride. To help people realize this, Gladys Bikes offers a range of bike fit services – from basic to custom – to help customers find the right bike for their body and riding style. Through their Saddle Library, they also help people find the right bike saddle.

“A saddle can make or break a ride, make your bike your best friend or your worst enemy,” shares Benson.

With a wide range of available saddles and saddle types, let alone body types, finding the right saddle can be challenging. Instead of having to choose at random, investing in what can be an expensive purchase, for $25 you can get a library card. Your card allows you to check out any of the saddles in the loaning library for a week at a time. Once you have found your saddle soul mate, whether the first saddle your try or the 15th, the $25 will go towards the price of your new saddle.

Gladys Bikes also believes that feeling good on a bike involves offering a warm and welcoming space where people of all backgrounds can feel comfortable learning about bikes and bicycles. “It’s about meeting [people] where they are at, no matter their knowledge level,” share Benson. “Gladys Bikes is a woman-focused shop that is all inclusive.” What does woman-focused mean? It means woman-focused, not woman-only. Gladys Bikes aims to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable, riding bikes that fit their bodies.

Next time you are cruising along NE Alberta, stop in and say hello. If you happen by on a Thursday evening, stay for their weekly Open Shop Night. From 6-8pm on Thursday’s a mechanic is on hand to help you learn about and work on your own bike, no matter your experience level.

Gladys, we’re glad you’re around.


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