Pemberton Bike Co: Pemberton's Favourite Bike Shop
Pretty much everything ever written about the Pemberton Bike Co includes the word Funky. When you consider that funky is defined as unconventional or eccentric it’s easy to see why.
Measuring approximately 600 ft2 this little bike shop is packed with personality and definitely worth a visit.
The thing about Funk and personality is, if it’s authentic, it doesn’t happen overnight. We caught up with John Inglis, co-founder of Pemberton Bike Co, who told us a little about the evolution of the company.
True to his humble easy-going nature, Johny explained “small businesses are like plants, they just grow” but it’s clear that the fact that he and his business partner Peter Colapinto have poured their souls into this business has made it into what it is today.
With 5 years of experience owning Whistler Bike Co. under their belts, in 1999, Johny and Peter decided to make the jump to expand into Pemberton where they both lived. They bought Highline Cycles which was operating out of a small shed-like structure along the side of the railway, located behind the current shop. It had a dirt floor and Johny muses that it was likely used for “cattle or grain or something” by BC Rail. They fixed the shop up during the winter, added a floor, and reopened for business in 2000 under the name Pemberton Bike Co.
In 2004, when the garden centre moved to a new location leaving a vacancy alongside the restaurant in front of them, it only made sense to expand again. Another reno, this time adding insulation but leaving the existing old wooden floor, marked the birth of the current location of the Pemberton Bike Co. Over the years the guys have covered everything in stickers and added several outdoor decks to create more space for the tuning side of the business.
About 3 years ago they revamped the old shed/store in the back into a dedicated tech shop. “It just made sense,” Johny explained, gesturing with his hands towards the back door, “we had guys wrenching out of here, guys wrenching on the deck… you know working outside is ok for a few months but it gets cold.”
Wondering where can you see this funky place for yourself?
On the main (okay, the only) street leading into Pemberton look for a cute red building with the sticker-covered front door and twenty-plus bikes outside. You can’t miss it.
Retail in the front
If you’re after anything from a tube to a new bike and everything in between, pop into the shop through the sticker-covered front door and soak in the experience. With records lining the walls above helmets, jerseys, pads and socks, and glass display cases showcasing an extensive line up of the best parts and accessories, it's hard to know where to look first.
Be sure to check out the display cabinet by the counter which houses a collection of museum-worthy bicycle components. On the walls surrounding the counter is an impressive collection of locally carved indigenous art and just inside the front door is one of the first hand-drawn trail maps of Pemberton.
When asked about their decorating style and stocking philosophy Johny shrugs with a smile. “Simply put [we’ve] always kind of run with the idea of allowing our freedom to express itself. We do whatever we want, and sell whatever we want – within reason of course. That's why we have our own business right?”
Looking for the perfect Pemberton souvenir? Make sure to check out the eclectic mix of rasta themed logo wear. Why Rasta? Because like Johny says, “rasta is like camo - it never goes out of style!”
Bike part-y in the back
If it’s local trail advice/maps or a repair/tune-up you are after, head straight to the open workshop door along the side as most locals do. Some say Bike Co. is the friendliest bike shop ever and that's not a stretch. Whether you can talk about bike parts like a pro or your bike is ‘making a weird noise you can’t explain’, the staff will sort you out with a smile.
When it comes to trail knowledge, it’s hard to beat Johny and Peter who have been heavily involved with Pemberton Valley Trails association from day one. “You have to be involved, trail [maintenance] days, races, all that stuff.” The guys have also been instrumental in helping to map the extensive bike trails in the Pemberton region.
So what are Johny’s favourite trails?
“Overnight sensation, cream puff, and Lumpys are the top three. Mainly for sentimental value, I’ve been riding them for 25 years plus almost 30 years.”
Time for a new ride?
Let the knowledgeable staff help you find just the right bicycle for you; be it a XC, downhill, cruiser or the first run bike for your newest riding buddy. The Bike Co. is a Giant “TopTen” dealer and they also stock Devinci, Kona and Norco.
Looking for a rental while you’re in town?
They do that too; XC, downhill and cruisers rentals are available.
Really with products from all the major companies, rentals, and a full tech shop what don’t these guys have? Be sure to swing by and revel in the awesomeness that is the Pemberton Bike Co. You won’t regret it!
Posted: Friday, September 18, 2020