Custom Bike - 6~8 weeks
Bike Repair - 1 week
Dan, February 2008
This is a question I hear a lot. Actually, I'm not Mr. Rodriguez, my name is Dan Towle. I have been the owner of Rodriguez Bicycles (known locally in Seattle as R+E Cycles) for years now. Before that, I worked for Angel Rodriguez as the Service and Assembly manager way back in the 1980's.
Angel was a very outgoing, well-known personality in the local Seattle biking scene. He was a kind of 'cycling ambassador' representing Rodriguez Bicycles. He wrote books, and did a lot of speaking engagements. I've spent a lot of my time as owner behind the scenes here in the company, and ended up working in every area of the store at some time or another throughout every season. In 2008, after 15 years as owner, Scott, our manager, thought it was about time to let you connect the face to a name so to speak, so here it is.
Back in 1993, my wife and I, along with one other business partner, purchased Rodriguez Bicycles, and R+E Cycles from Angel Rodriguez. Our business partner, who ran the sales dept., left the company in 2003. My wife does all of the accounting work, and I work in the shop just about every day. I write the newsletters, web site, blog entries, and all other materials related to the shop, answer the store e-mail, design and help write the software we use for all aspects of the business, and maintain the network of 20 or so computers. A book could be filled with all of the mundane details of everything I do here, but suffice it to say that I am kept very busy. I love to work on the sales floor, but time constraints only allow limited time for it. My favorite place in the shop to work is the repair department, so I often sneak off to assemble or overhaul a bike.
I try to keep my focus on improving our products and services for our customers. After all, without the support of customers, a small business like ours would never exist.
I'm not as outgoing or well-known as Angel outside of the store, and you probably won't find me giving a speech at an industry trade show anytime soon. That's because I run the store in a different way than he did. I enjoy the day-to-day interaction with customers and their bikes. The current spotlight really belongs on the entire operation and all of the talented people that I am blessed to be working with.....all of whom share the same love of bicycles as myself. The spotlight also belongs on the customers who choose us as their bike shop, and keep sending us their friends. They are the Rodriguez Bicycles 'cycling ambassadors' of today.
All in all, owning a bike shop is much more work than I could have ever imagined, but more fun as well. My hat's off to Angel and anyone else who has put in the kind of effort it takes to make a go of it.
Me, Angel Rodriguez, and Glenn Erickson together at the R+E Cycles 40th Anniversary party. March 2nd, 2013.