100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

Family-run cycling store owners reminisce on four decades of bicycle bliss

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One of Noosa’s longest-running family businesses has reached the end of an era, after being a fixture within the local cycling scene for almost 40 years.

Neil Johnson first bought Noosa Bike Shop in 1985 after moving to the region from Melbourne with his wife and three children in tow.

A cabinetmaker by trade, Mr Johnson fell into the business almost by accident and 40 years later has become a much-loved fixture within Noosa’s cycling community.

Running the shop with his son Ben for the past three years, the father-and-son duo decided to shut up shop officially closing the doors on April 20, allowing Mr Johnson to retire.

In 1985 the business was a small hole-in-the-wall shop selling bait and tackle, and offering bikes to hire.

Speaking with Sunshine Coast News, Mr Johnson said he was proud of what he created in the decades since.

“My wife and I, back in 1985, decided to move here to Noosa from Melbourne,” he said.

“I was a cabinetmaker those days and I didn’t want to restart that here, so I decided to have three months off.

“After about three weeks my wife was sick of having me being around all the time so she told me to go and get a job.

“We decided we would look for the most run-down business in Noosa at the time and buy it. It was the bike shop.”

The original Noosa Bike Shop.

The bike shop was located at Noosa Sound and at there time there were about 100 bikes available for hire.

He moved to Noosa Junction for some years before the Noosa Homemaker Centre was built on Thomas Street behind the Noosa River.

“That was before McDonald’s or anything. Back then it was a swamp,” he said.

As the shop grew, so did Mr Johnson’s passion for cycling. He was instrumental in organising the Noosa ‘bunch’ rides – which still run today – and shaping the Noosa cycling community.

Mr Johnson also began racing, winning state and metropolitan titles in the masters category, and became involved with the Sunshine Coast Cycle Club, running local races for more than a decade.

The Sunshine Coast Cycle Club start/finish line in the main street of Cooroy.

Noosa Bike Shop became know as a place to purchase and hire bikes, and it also offered repairs and servicing from its workshop.

In more recent years, the shop incorporated e-bikes and motorised bicycles.

Mr Johnson said the landscape of retail stores had changed in recent years, admitting it had become difficult to run the shop like he used to.

“The first 30 years were terrific,” he said.

“It was a pleasant industry to be in (but) retail now has changed.

“Wholesale is squeezing retail out and people have learnt to shop online to perfection so there is not really a retail industry in it anymore.”

Noosa Bike Shop when it opened at the Noosa Homemaker Centre in the 1990s.

An avid trail bike rider himself, Ben enjoys exploring the network of tracks near his home at Pomona.

He said with the closure of the store he was looking forward to some time off but had plans to bring Noosa Bike Shop back in a different capacity in 2025.

“I want to spend some time to rediscovering my own passion for cycling,” he said.

“I think there’s lots of opportunities – especially with all the work Noosa Council is doing with the hinterland trail network – that I’ll be able to reopen in a different capacity.

“People love getting outdoors – riding, mountain biking and exploring the best of the Noosa trail network.

“We’d love to bring our expertise to riders in the hinterland and spend more time in this gem of a town while doing so.”

Neil and Ben Johnson.

Neil and Ben are thanking their customers and the cycling community for their loyalty.

“I just want to thank everyone who has supported us over the years,” Neil said.

Ben added: “It’s been wonderful to see how the cycling community has evolved over the years.

“Noosa has really become a hub for cycling and cycling-centric people and it has become a dominate sport in the area.

“It’s been great to see it become what it has.”

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