By Anne Cleary
This summer Transition Bikes opened a new showroom after moving its headquarters from Ferndale to Carolina Street in Bellingham last year. The showroom has a spruced up garage feel with a beer fridge under the register and a display of mountain bikes both current and historical.
The company moved partly to get closer to the trails and the community of local riders -– the same reason they moved from a basement in Seattle to Whatcom County in the first place. The new location allows mountain bikers to demo a bike for $40 and ride it off the showroom floor, through Whatcom Falls Park to Galbraith Mountain, less than 3 miles away. Even better, the $40 goes entirely to the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) to support local trail building and advocacy.
“That’s my main goal, to promote the WMBC and do everything I can to make the organization stronger because that’s really the backbone of why we’re here and why we want to be in town,” said Transition co-owner Kevin Menard. “It’s been sweet; some months we’re donating $2,500.”
Though the shop is primarily a showroom, they also service Transition Bikes. Since opening, it has already evolved and changed.
“We’re slowly figuring out our identity in town and what we’re going to do,” Menard said. “We definitely want to do more group rides and community involvement here.”
Transition offers a 100 millimeter travel bike with 24-inch wheels for young riders called the Ripcord, and works with local elementary schools to get kids on bikes. As the company dives further into the local mountain bike community, it also continues to expand overseas.
We definitely want to do more group rides and community involvement here.
Menard just got back from riding in the Dolomites in Val Gardena, Italy, where he found his bikes are popular.
“I didn’t know what our dealer situation was there when I arrived, but I walked by this shop and there were four complete Transitions in the window,” he said. “I walked in to talk to the owner and he knew me right away – he only carries our bikes. ‘I love your brand, everything about you guys,’ he told me.”
The brand is about having fun and not taking things too seriously. Transition recently worked with Kulshan Brewing to create a limited edition collaboration brew called Party in the Woods IPA. A recent press release pokes fun at the industry by touting the company’s acronyms as the “most optimized” in the industry – its P.A.B.S.T. (Put A Bottle n’ Stuff in There) water bottle cage is one example.
Apparently that sense of humor and penchant for fun crosses cultural barriers.
“That’s why we do well in the international market, because there are a lot of other mountain bikers out there that do relate to that: having fun, not taking yourself too seriously,” Menard said.
Transition’s headquarters are now located at 1600 Carolina Street in Bellingham, a block from Kulshan’s Kentucky Street brewery and less than 3 miles from Galbraith. Swing by on weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. to demo a current bike and check out their lineage of historical bikes on display.
An always say yes attitude and a passion for storytelling through media brought Anne Cleary to Bellingham. She has employed filmmaking and photography to document and share adventure.