When Erin resident Brian Travis was 10, his father bought him a mountain bike, took him to a bluff near his home in Collingwood, and said to him, “It’s yours. Go explore.” Brian’s been cycling ever since.
Now the founder and owner of Forks biycle shop in Erin, Brian’s been working with bikes since the age of 14. He spent several years at Cervelo Cycles and then a power tools company, who offered him a position in Tulsa. Not wanting to move from Erin, Brian saw an opportunity: he could stay and start up Erin’s first cycle store.
“The stars kind of aligned,” he recalls. He had a vision of building a local family bicycle boutique and service shop. Two years ago, in May of 2011, he made this vision come true.
Since then the store’s become a community fixture; a local hangout for high school kids and a regular drop-in destination for residents passing by. Brian chalks it up to the Cheers mentality; “It’s just me in here,” he says. “But I’m cursed with a memory like an iron safe. The hook, line and sinker is the second time they walk in here and I remember their name and what they were looking for.”
Brian offers more than a feeling of familiarity; his business is selling his passion for cycling, and it’s this quality that’s both earned the loyalty of locals and visitors alike. He uses social media to engage the outside community, but also works with other local businesses on programs like “Tube it forward,” which offers use of an air pump and a complimentary bicycle tube and cloth at locations around the area for cyclists with a flat tire; and he’ll regularly haul out a special bike rack for cyclists visiting the bakery a few doors down who avoid the wrought-iron bike rings set out on the street.
“It’s that little attention to detail for those from the GTA so used to anonymity,” Brian says.
Brian’s work in helping visitors explore the Hills of Headwaters – with regulars coming from Milton and Kitchener and Waterloo for their weekly group rides – is what helps makes our region an incredible place to live and visit.