Imagine a local hangout in Jacksonville that attracts all walks of life, from liberal and conservative to artistic and athletic. Imagine a place that encourages conversation, not just about common interests, but about life itself and the things that make us different or bring us together.
One might imagine this place as a bar, or maybe a cafe . . . But could you imagine it as a bike shop?
Owner of Open Road Bicycles in Jacksonville Beach, Ralph Teten, did. And that vision continues to inspire each person who steps foot in the store.
Open Road Bicycles in Jacksonville Beach is like no other bike shop you will visit — Photo courtesy of David Wilson
Located in the heart of Jacksonville Beach, just a few blocks from the ocean, Open Road Bicycles sits unassumingly in a strip mall facing Third Street.
The creative window display is the first hint of the imaginative design that Open Road’s interior has become known for. Brand new shiny bicycles sit amongst creative pieces of art, drawing the eye in and making a bold statement. Maybe, just maybe, there's more to behold inside than you’d expect from your average bike shop.
Creative design makes a bold statement at this Jacksonville Beach bike shop — Photo courtesy of David Wilson
As you walk in the doors, you're at once met with an unusual visual. Every type of bike – from professional road bike to classic beach cruiser – lines the walls. That, in and of itself, isn’t so exceptional, but it’s the method of display that strikes you.
Repurposed windows and doors have been refinished and turned into shelves and product displays. A giant mural demands your attention on the back wall, and a corner of the room invites you to have a drink at the bar or relax in the sit-down area while watching TV.
Even a visit to the bathroom is opportunity for artistic display, with a vintage bike doubling as a counter for a sink.
Beach cruiser purchases make up half of Open Road Bicycles' business — Photo courtesy of David Wilson
Open Road Bicycles prides themselves in everything bike related. If cycling is your sport, then you came to the right place.
Their knowledgeable staff will exceed your expectations and create anything your imagination can contrive, from traditional road bikes to tri bikes. And since the shop is located at the beach, it comes as no surprise that beach cruiser purchases make up about half of the clients that seek out Open Road.
Not only do they sell bikes, but they also repair, maintain and even rehab vintage bikes, as well.
Is the bike shop the new coffeehouse? Open Road thinks it just may be. — Photo courtesy of David Wilson
According to Teten, the original vision of Open Road Bicycles in Jacksonville Beach was to be a "socially conscious meeting place for the locals to come hang out."
The idea isn’t a new one; cities all over Europe and the U.S. have adopted concepts like this one, and its popularity proves that people are seeking a relational outlet. Biking just happens to be a great uniting factor – not to mention food, drinks, art and hot topics.
Open Road Bicycles is dedicated to everything bike related — Photo courtesy of David Wilson
So many bike shops have a static feeling to them. More often than not they are known as kind of a guy’s place to go and talk shop. The concept at this location was to break down those boundaries and make it a more inviting place for novice riders and women.
From the shop's regular “First Friday” parties to their personal commitment to help new riders get the hang of cycling with groups or gain the courage to compete, Open Road is doing just that: breaking down boundaries.
Whether you're a new rider or an old pro, you're invited to experience a new kind of bike shop, a place where relationships come first.
Find the perfect ride and a community of passionate riders who unite over a common passion at Open Road Bicycles.