Curbside Cycle began - not surprisingly – by the side of the curb, about twenty years ago. Back then we were just a slightly legal tent, a variety of ever-changing locations, and a pretty clear idea about what was missing in the market. Our focus, from the beginning on, was the neglected city cyclist. At the time we were one of many ragtag operations across North America turning old road bikes into flat bar bikes, a trend the bicycle industry later turned into a bike called the hybrid. Around the same time the hybrid was developed we finally acquired storefront in the much desired Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. Sure, we moved a couple feet away from the curb, but we always remained Curbside, a store dedicated to that strip of road beside the curb that the city cyclist occupies.
Today, we're an institution in Toronto's Annex and a fixture in North America's rapidly emerging bike culture. Frustrated with the market dominance of adrenaline performance bikes we began importing proven, stylish, and simple city bikes from Europe - starting a supply chain that now spreads across the continent. In 2007 we started Fourth Floor Distribution, the first company in North America to bring real city bikes to the people. We imagined an all-inclusive barrier-free bike, a bike that is more like your car: comfortable, low-maintenance, long-lasting, and above all, something that is fashion forward - that keeps your clothing free of oil and grime.
We wanted a bike that could glue an urbanites life together the same way a car glues the suburbanites life together. It's a missing product that has existed in countries like Denmark and Holland for over a century. It's hardly revolutionary. But, building a city bike culture in North America is revolutionary, and bicycles are the building blocks. The success of Amsterdam's bike culture and the explosively new bike culture in Paris comes down to one common denominator: the right bike.
Today the Curbside model has been repeated all over North America. Whether it is Adeline Adeline in New York, Flying Pigeon in LA, Bike Bike in Calgary, we have helped create a revolutionary network of retailers that sells the least revolutionary concept ever: the simple bicycle ride - going to work, getting groceries, dropping the kids off at daycare. No performance handling, no spandex or special gear, just a practical bike that is safe, efficient, and upright.
The world needs more upright cyclists. The upright cyclist is not only sitting upright, but is also acting upright. A cyclist is as much a part of traffic as a car, rollerblader, skateboarder or pedestrian. Each street, like a blank slate, is the space where traffic is forever negotiated. This is the bicycle culture we imagine in North America - an all-inclusive group of people who meet everyday, face-to-face instead of window to window, riding fashionably and sweat-free on the most democratic invention ever made: the bicycle.