Who is Yellow Jersey?
Yellow Jersey was founded on April First, 1971. Or at least that's our official birthday because that's when we fiiled papers with the Secretary of State.
Mercifully, our name was filed as "Yellow Jersey" at the last minute, over the objection of Mark Stahlman, our resident communist, who lobbied for "Hammer & Cycles" which almost sounds cute in retrospect.
Somewhere in the early spring of 1970 several riders formed a small nameless group to import quality bikes and help each other with parts and service. There were so very few quality European racing bicycles - "superbikes" we called them - that nearly every rider knew all the others, or so it seemed. Whole Earth Coop, in the 800 block of East Johnson, donated a bit of basement space where one went with $67 to place an order for a Mercier. Magically, four months later an exotic French bicycle would appear. Whoever was hanging out that evening would offer to help build newly arrived bikes with the few tools available.Our volunteer staff brought a good heart but little else.
Thinking this could actually be fun, six people formalized the operation into a bike shop and, having no capital, sold "memberships" for $3 to a few thousand riders. Space was available on University Avenue at a vacant cold-storage warehouse and the rest is history.
Thinking that running a bicycle store would be a pleasant adventure, our six original staff jumped in the deep end together. They were Sean Morris and Leila Shakkour, managers, Michael Heckman and David Agger in assembly and service and Lynn Wendt and Phil Van Valkenburg for sales. President Bill Bregar, followed by President Mitch Nussbaum and eminence grise Rick Ball lent much needed advice and counsel
An early project, led by John Doer, scrounged fifty bicycles which we painted with white house paint and hand lettered directions to "Ride as you will and leave for others to use. Please do not lock". By the next spring, a few of these "White Bikes" came out of the lake as fraternities set their piers. The rest had simply disappeared as a gift to America. In that era we began our bicycle service classes on Wednesday eveinings enhanced with Lewis Wolman's tire repair clinics on Thursday mornings
Yellow Jersey has always retained a helpful rider-oriented countenance with air outside 24 hours, free advice and prompt minor service at no charge
Our mail-order business started in 1972 with Nylfor nylon headsets and Columbus frame tubing, expanded with an early commitment to Suntour Winner freewheels in 1975 and sold our own custom frames and bikes with national advertising and a winning race team.
In this era of "fast-food" bike shops (who try to keep the twenty highest volume items and little else) we find ourselves shipping French chainrings and touring tubulars to small towns in North Dakota and beyond. No order is too small. We understand your plight when you can't ride your bike for want of a derailleur pulley! We love to help solve life's little problems. We're trying to sustain the kind of service that was once expected in bicycle stores but has disappeared from most places today.
Email or call anytime- we'll do our best to listen and help as we are able.
Click to email: Andrew Muzi