Rolling bike-repair shop comes to you

Judith Harris Solomon
Special to The Detroit News

Velofix Detroit, a full-service mobile bicycle shop, arrived on the local scene one year ago and has been wheeling and dealing ever since.

Mike Dega, left, owner of Velofix Detroit, and Rob West, Velofix's master technician, hold a Ridley X-Trail bike outside their full-service mobile bike shop on July 31, 2018 in Novi.

It uses a customized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van to match the abilities of a full-size brick-and-mortar shop while traveling to customers in need of its services.

“Because nowadays busy people often don’t have time to go to a bike shop, our slogan is ‘save time, ride more,’” said Velofix franchisee Mike Dega, an elite bike racer and the general sales manager of Mercedes-Benz of Novi.

While many customers purchase their bikes independently, some hire Velofix to set them up. Others prefer to buy their bikes from the company’s website, which lists several online partner vendors.

Bike building ranges in price from $129 to $329, depending on the complexity of the build; bike fitting costs $189; basic tune-ups start at $89. 

Rob West, master technician, Velofix Detroit, works in the full-service mobile bike shop, a customized Mercedes Sprinter van, on July 31, 2018 in Novi.

“Our prices are the same or even less than it would cost at a bike shop,” Dega said.

Velofix sells parts, accessories as well as nutritional items such as energy bars, gels and recovery drinks.

And in the winter months, obviously a slow time for a bicycle business, to keep the van busy, Velofix services both skis and snowboards. 

Dega owns two different Michigan territories: Detroit North to Lake Orion and Detroit West to Ann Arbor. He hopes to add additional ones within the next year.

Approximately 100 Velofix franchises currently exist in the United States and Canada and the company hopes to expand globally in the near future.

“We were frustrated cyclists who thought there must be a better solution to going to a regular bike shop during the hours we worked, and we didn’t like leaving our bikes to be serviced for a week so decided the solution was to find a way to bring the service to our home or office,” said Chris Guillermet, CEO and co-founder of the parent company, which is based in Vancouver, Canada.

Velofix also sells and installs Zwift, an online game that you play sitting on your own bike, which in turn rests on a smart home trainer device. The massively popular game allows participants to virtually ride along with other bicycle riders either casually or competitively over multiple courses that change almost daily.

Rob West, master technician for Velofix Detroit, works in the full-service mobile bike shop.

Attorney and avid cyclist Ron Sollish, a resident of Huntington Woods, recently purchased a Ridley Gravel Grinder bike online and then hired Velofix Detroit to set it up.

“If you don’t have a lot of excess time, this concept is spectacular,” Sollish said. “Besides the convenience, what’s nice is there is no premium. I’m paying the same amount I would have paid to a brick-and-mortar store. And they give back to the community as well, which is a wonderful thing.”

For example, on Aug. 18, Velofix will be one of the green sponsors of Wayne State Universities’ Baroudeur Bike ride, a fun non-competitive ride for all ages that raises money for student scholarships. The race offers three different routes to accommodate riders of all experience levels. 

On race day, Velofix will also provide volunteers to make sure the cyclists’ bikes are in tip-top shape prior to the event. They will also fix bikes that break down during the race. 

Velofix also spends days at designated workplaces tuning up employee’s bikes. 

“Sometimes the employees pay for this service, but often the company pays because they feel bike riding encourages healthy living,” Dega said. 

Velofix is open for business 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. For further information or to call for an appointment, call Velofix at (248) 954-9767.