Crozet newcomer Cor Carelsen will open Crozet Bicycle Shop, offering new bikes and repairs, in the former house on The Square that once served as the office of Barnes Lumber Company. The house is being remodeled—fewer walls, larger windows—to suit the needs of the new business, which is expected to open next month.
“We want to make it a friendly store,” he said. “The customer will be able to see everything happening in the workshop, which will be behind the counter.”
The store will sell Giant and Santa Cruz brand bikes. Giant is a Chinese manufacturer—“one of the best,” said Carelsen—and Santa Cruz he described as a “high-end mountain bike.” Carselsen said that there are other manufacturers he believes in but those companies have existing arrangements with Charlottesville bike shops. He’s shooting to have a small inventory on hand for Christmas.
Carelsen was raised in Kimberly, South Africa, and he and his wife, an American who spent her childhood in England, formerly operated a horse safari business in Botswana. This is his first venture into the bike business.
“We had the horse safari operation for 14 years,” he said. “I got tired of horses. I got into bikes. Some couples would be both, one on a horse and one on a bike.” Carelsen learned to repair the bikes they used and later went to a school, Barnett Bicycle Institute, for formal training as a bicycle mechanic.
“You have to have a passion for fixing it right,” he said. “Modern bikes are getting complicated with hydraulics.”
“My wife is the real horse rider. I’m a mountain biker. I was looking for a place to bike. This area has both horses and bikes. I need to get into nature and then I’m happy. Here it’s 10 minutes away.”
Carelsen said he had never heard of Crozet and identified it through an Internet search. The family is living in Greenwood now and looking for a house in Crozet.
“We first looked at Staunton. Charlottesville appealed to us more. We saw a house for rent in Crozet. I saw a lot of bikes around and there’s no bike store here. The Charlottesville stores are well established. We need one here closer to the mountains and the trails.”
“We’re really focused on quality work, quality bikes, and on friendliness,” said Carelsen. “It will be about good service. I’ll come get a bike to fix and bring it back.” He said he expects to be in the shop early and late.
“I’d like to be involved in the development of the sport locally. We’ll be sponsoring events once the business gets settled. For instance, we’ll hold workshop on how to make roadside repairs,” he said.
Carelsen has joined the Crozet Cycling Club on their morning jaunts around western Albemarle. He’s been riding with them for a month, except for when he feels too sore, he said. “It’s a nice bunch of guys and it’s been a lot of fun to go out with them.” He said he likes the fact that you can ride on gravel roads.