Kickstand goes out for family-owned Westside bicycle shop after 46 years
A 46-year Westside business tradition is slated to end in March when the Colorado Springs Bicycle Shop at 622 W. Colorado Ave. shuts down.
Distinctive since a 2000 expansion because of the 40-foot-tall lighthouse motif built into its roof, the store had been started in 1973 by the late Ed and Carol Spillman. They sold it to their daughter Bonnie and her husband Ed in 1985, and the couple has run it ever since.
Taking over the the bike shop building - probably in March - will be the Cerberus Brewing Company, which will remodel the roughly 11,000 square feet for a tasting room (bar), banquet hall, a brewery and office and storage space, according to plans submitted for city review.
Since 2016, Cerberus has run a brewpub on the corner opposite the bike shop (702 W. Colorado Ave.), and its popularity triggered the need for expansion. (See Westside Pioneer article at this link.)
However, the bike shop's presence is not disappearing entirely. Bonnie clarified in a recent interview that Cerberus has agreed to hire her two mechanics. So people who have been getting their bikes fixed in her store - a “profitable part of the business” - can continue to bring them to that location. Customers will be able to enter through the same side door, except that the repair shop will
The Johnsons are in the process of relocating to Florida. Asked about the building's iconic lighthouse, Bonnie noted in an interview that she and Ed “love the tropics and the ocean.” One example - which was recently taken down as the business transitions toward full closure - was the in-house “Liki Tiki” juice bar, which featured palm trees and a thatched hut.
Bonnie expressed nostalgia about leaving the business, as well as the city she was born and raised in. With her parents having started about 30 bike shops around the state going back to the late 1950s, bicycles have been a part of her life “since the day I was born,” she said. This included helping out in the store from her youngest days. “They loved the cycling business, and so do I,” she said.
In Colorado Springs, the Spillmans also founded the Rustic Hills Bicycle Shop, which the family ran simultaneously for 16 years before closing it. Still in business in
Ed and Carol also created the Colorado Springs Cycling Club (in 1985), which is “still going strong,” Bonnie said.
Over the years, she has volunteered time to her home city. She was president of Crimestoppers for seven years and helped in the code enforcement office (“they work harder than anyone else in the city”) and served on the Active Transportation Advisory Committee (which in the past year or so helped write the city's bicycle master plan).
Another volunteer endeavor of hers is opposing puppy mills (indiscriminate commercial dog breeding) and supporting rescue efforts that are part of that. This is a mission she's shared with the Cerberus owners (who donate money from sales of their Buddy Up beer), and which she plans to keep working on in Florida.
Love of the ocean is not the sole reason that Bonnie and Ed are leaving the Springs. Although “I love this city,” she said she's become “kind of burned out,” especially with vagrancy problems in the area. She thinks the city is not handling the issue in a way that's beneficial to all, and said it doesn't help that the word is being spread nationwide that Colorado Springs is a great place for people hoping to take advantage of its homelessness programs.
Looking around the shop, she admitted to strong emotions as the day nears for it to close and various elements of it get dismantled or sold. Some of the customers go back 40 years or more, their kids too. “It's given us a great life,” she said of her store. “It's hard to take it down.”
Westside Pioneer article