One of the great reasons to travel is to gain an insight into human interaction. Being a traveling cyclist means that you get to meet other cyclists, who happen to be some of the most interesting people. You’ll most likely wander into some bike shops, too. One of the most interesting and welcoming is Sweden’s Bavabici, which operates in the apartment of Simona Bava.
Has Bavabici paved the way to a new generation of bike stores?
By guest writer and photographer Matt Leasegang. Simona Bava; Cyclist, cat lover, mother and operator of Bavabici – a bike shop run from her small apartment in Stockholm City, Sweden.
Converted from a two-bedroom apartment into an open floor plan living space, Bavabici has redefined the idea of a bike shop and crafted a new concept of personalized bike builds by doing so in a bedroom/living room/kitchen.
On first impression, you feel like you’re walking into someone else’s life, into their personal life and that’s the magic; you are. I was greeted with a hug, a big smile and in front of me there were bikes hung on the wall.
I paced into the room no more than 5 steps before my second greeting came from atop Simona’s bed from her adorable cat. My initial impression was that I was at a home and not at a shop and this is the pivotal point to Simona’s success.
Born in Italy, Simona took up learning the Swedish language in the 80’s before securing a scholarship, which landed her in Stockholm city. She took up work as a personal trainer and then moved on to working in a large bike shop.
A stint of working for Kona followed, and a range of other suppliers where she finally located her true passion, building bikes. Her idea stems from a simple concept, which is providing quality gear and service to her customers.
Quite often her customers come to her with a concept of what they want and she helps them to fill in the blanks, building them a completely custom bike from the ground up; a method she feels a lot of the Stockholm stores find is “too hard to deal with”.
It’s with this attitude that she has crafted a unique place in the market where her clientele don’t just come to her for a bike they come to create something of their own with a personal touch.
She feels more like a personal shopper than that of a shop owner/operator as she’s pumping her soul into each build and leaving an imprint on each project she undertakes. If you’re in Stockholm and looking for a custom build book an appointment to visit her and get your dream bike underway.
This simple idea spawns so many questions for the industry and whether little shops will be a viable option for the future or whether massive chains like Wiggle will take charge with an imprinted culture of paying as little as possible whereby the onus is passed onto the consumer.
So we ask you, the reader, “Where do you think the industry is headed and what do you think we will see in the next 5 years?” We’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below!
Matt Leasegang is a photographer from Brisbane who shoots everything from urban landscapes to redheads. He is also exceptionally good at photographing bicycles. Check out his awesome portfolio.