Pedalhead Road Works Profile

By Scott Kelly originally produced for the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada

It used to be that a sticker on the window of a bicycle shop showing the worlds “Campagnolo Spoken Here” was a good indicator of the shop’s standing in the road cycling world. With the advent of mountain biking in the 90’s, the small road-centric shop, with imported European brands, run by an elderly sage mechanic seemed lost for forever. Ten years ago, however, a young man from Texas started a winning streak at the Tour de France that would go on to rekindle North America’s love affair with road cycling. And then one year later, Guri Randhawa saw an under-serviced market in Alberta, and Pedalhead Road Works was born.

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Radhawa started Pedalhead Road Works (PRW) after completing university in Calgary and moving to Edmonton to work at Pedalhead Bicycles, Road Works’ sister shop. After a year, Randhawa approached the owner with a plan for a stand-alone road-specific shop that would better serve the needs and wants of their road clientele. PRW started out above the Pedalhead shop and later made the move to its present location at 10108A-124 Street in 2003.

Randhawa knew that road riders were interested in the latest and greatest road specific equip-ment, as he himself raced on the road and knew the frustration of the lack of local availability of all the brands ridden by the heroes of the European peloton. His gamble paid off: nearly one decade later, PRW is one of the most respected bicycle shops in Western Canada and sees clients travel from as far away as Calgary and even BC to purchase a new bike, fit an existing one, or simply soak in the road culture. Randhawa is proud of the fact that he doesn’t just sell bikes, he turns people who buy bikes into cyclists.

PRW stocks bikes and frames from Wiler, Colnago, Ridley, Giant, and Cannondale.

You can also find components from brands such as FBM and Dugust (Randhawa makes a point of stocking the full line of tubulars, including cyclocross treads, year round) Fizik, Selle Italia, Zipp, Shimano and of course Campagnolo in PRW’s stock. Looking through the clothing section, you can find a large selection of Assos, Pearl Izumi, Sidi shoes, and Catlike helmets. Although PRW sends more Giants and Cannondales out the door than Wilers, it’s the boutique brands that still make up the majority of Randhawa’s business.

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Some might find it intimidating, stepping into a store in which such expensive bikes are the norm. However, after a discussion with Randhawa or one of his three part-time employees, one quickly discovers that the same knowledge necessary to sell bikes worth $17,000 translates well into selling bikes worth $1,700. Dialogue, says Randhawa, is crucial to purchasing the perfect bike, and as such, he often spends several hours working with each client to ensure that their bike is perfect for them.

“When a client comes in and spends ten thousand dollars on a road bike, they don’t want to show up to a group ride and have the same bike as their friend. Building a bike up from a frame, component by component, ensures that the bike is uniquely theirs.” Randhawa thinks his success stems from the fact that he doesn’t just dabble in road bikes. He feels that to be successful in selling bikes, one has to commit both effort and floor space to it. He knows that he could likely place a few mountain bikes on the floor and expect to sell them, but in order to excel, retailers need to offer the components, accessories, and knowledge necessary to service their target market properly.

Randhawa feels that, in addition to his focused approaches, what separates PRW from larger shops is the relationship he forms with his clients. Customers know that when they call, he will be there to answer the phone, and that when they drop off their bike the week before an important race or trip, that he will be the one who looks after it. Randhawa mentions that earning clients’ trust doesn’t happen overnight-but it is that trust that  keeps them coming back.

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In addition to his work at PRW, he’s also active in the Alberta cycling scene.

Still an active racer, he also finds time to organize races; he’s sat on the Alberta Bicycle Association Racing Committee, and is the Technical Director for the upcoming 2010 Canadian National Time Trial Championships, which are being held in Edmonton.

Randhawa also takes time to attend racing events the world over, scoping out the latest trends and components as well as adding to his jersey collection, proudly displayed on the walls of his shop. Next year, PRW will be moving into Pedalhead Bicycles’ old space, as they in turn move into a larger shop. Randhawa is excited about the move, as it will allow him the extra space to pursue his latest project: a foray into frame design and construction. He hopes to be able to offer custom steel frames to his customers in the near future.

Passion for the sport and his customers is what Randhawa brings to his shop each day thereby acknowledging the small road-specific shops that came before him. Campagnolo has long since done away with their “Campagnolo Spoken Here” stickers. In recent years, they have been replaced with a sticker that reads “Campagnolo Worldwide Pro-shop Project” instead. Fittingly, you’ll find one proudly affixed to window at Pedalhead Road Works!

2009 is an exciting year for Pedalhead Road Works as they are moving to 9635 82 AVE in Edmonton and will be open for business at this new location on September 1st.  The shop will be closed from August 24th – 30th for the move.

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