We’ve recently celebrated the one year anniversary of being in business! We launched Vie Bikes a year ago full of ideas and passion for getting huge numbers of families living happy by bike.
What a year! As you might expect, we’ve learned enormous amounts about what our customers want and how to deliver on those needs. We spent the first half of the year focused heavily on testing and refining our service and product offerings. And we’re glad we made that intentional effort; many of our initial expectations around what people would want took different form than we thought. For example, it turns out that few people wanted to test ride a bike for a month. The idea of it sounded good to most ahead of time, but customers ended up preferring to do much shorter test rides. A week was plenty!
We spent the second half of the year trying to figure out our operational challenges. Though we knew intellectually before launching that this business sector is rife with supply challenges, we really learned this lesson the hard way post-launch, and have worked hard to smooth out these issues so that they don’t disrupt our customers’ experiences. Similarly, like most businesses, we dealt with the issue of the incredibly high price of San Francisco real estate once we outgrew our initial incubator space. We tried centering all of our operations out of our Berkeley HQ with dispersed staging and distribution in San Francisco, but that system was prone to the small errors that are frustrating for customers (e.g., the proper size seatpost falls out of a bag in transit during a dark night, making the bike unusable to an especially tall rider). The details matter when it comes to bikes, and the stress of this opportunity for error was keeping us up at night. Of course, we were also spending far more time driving across the Bay Bridge than we could ever want, which is just not good for anyone’s mental health.
So we are excited to announce that we are in the process of building out a new San Francisco HQ, in the heart of the Mission (Treat Street between 17th & 18th Streets). We expect that having a centered physical address in San Francisco again will make our operations much smoother AND make it easier for customers to try bikes. We’ve also heard a lot from people who want to be able to try on kids helmets and seats in person. Our new location will make that possible.
That said, we will still not be a traditional bike shop. Once we finish building out the space, we’ll introduce regular shop hours in both San Francisco and our existing Berkeley HQ to make it easy for families to come by and check things out. But we’ll also still be driven mostly by appointments so that we can customize people’s experiences to their unique needs.
Our new space is a work zone at this point, so if you happen to be rolling by on Treat Street, you won’t see much (except our very cool neighbors). But you can now book test ride appointments at this location. We’ll announce regular shop hours as soon as we complete our build out.
Thank you for being part of the Vie family over the past year. We hope that biking is bringing more smiles to your family! We look forward to year two!