Q&A with Sergei Lekoutovich, owner of Cycle Couture
Photos by Claire McFarlane
dandyhorse recently caught up with Sergei Lekoutovich, owner of Cycle Couture at 926 College Street to talk about the perks and pitfalls that come with the job of running a bike shop in Toronto.
Cycle Couture donated a beautiful Public bike for our "Bee Scene" photo shoot (photo by Mike Ford below) in our current issue. We are very pleased to announce that we will be raffling THIS bike at our upcoming launch party!
Q: What do customers get at Cycle Couture that they might not get at other Toronto bike shops?
Urban cycling can be challenging. I went from not cycling at all to spending thousands of hours on the road as a bike messenger. I think this affords me a unique perspective that helps me empathize with cyclists of all levels of experience.
It's easy for cyclists and bike commuters to feel intimidated when walking into a bike shop, I felt that way too. But we're here to help everyone, and we hope to create an environment that encourages people to come in and feel comfortable. We are happy to offer advice and repair any ride that comes through our doors.
We provide quality work with our repairs and builds – attention to detail and bike fit is key. We're big on empowering people with mechanical information alongside their repair while creating a real rapport.
Our commitment to quality extends into the products we carry. We specialize in high quality urban cycling bags and apparel. Durability, comfort and functionality - without the lycra. Our merchandise works as good as it looks. With years of experience on the saddle delivering packages and in the shop as mechanics, we know which gear is actually going to withstand whatever you throw at it (or in it!)
Public brand bikes on display. We will be raffling a Public bike off at our dandy launch party later this summer!
Q: What kind of cyclist does your store cater to?
We cater to the discerning urban cyclist whose bike is their primary form of transportation around the city.
Q:What are your best-selling products this spring?
We've been seeing a lot of people come in for repairs and tune ups early in the season, which has been amazing.
Our C7 from Public Bikes has been doing really well, it's a seven speed step-through cruiser with sporty riding characteristics. Public will be announcing new colours in July and we're excited to see what they'll come up with.
The Chrome Kadet day bag is a favourite. It's a sling bag with enough room to store day trip essentials like a camera, tablet, lock, snacks and more, while staying compact. Our Mission Workshop bags are always in demand – they're a San Francisco export that has really zeroed in on exceptional craftsmanship.
Q: What are the greatest challenges and rewards of running a bike shop?
Work-life balance can be a challenge, especially since so much of my time is spent taking care of the shop. Additionally, a lot of our work fluctuates with the seasons. The warm months are super busy with repairs, but winter can be a struggle.
That being said, we get to help people make their bicycle their primary mode of transportation. Getting them on a bike for the first time, finding a functional bag to get their stuff from A to B, or breathing new life into their worn- out rides is awesome. We love hearing peoples' stories about their biking challenges and triumphs and trading cycling advice.
Our new issue of dandyhorse has arrived! dandyhorse is available for FREE at Urbane Cyclist, Bikes on Wheels, Cycle Couture, Sweet Pete's, Hoopdriver, Batemans, Velofix, and Steamwhistle. Our new issue of dandyhorse includes cover art by Kent Monkman, interviews with Catherine McKenna and the women behind Toronto's first feminist bike zine, lots of news and views on Bloor, Under Gardiner and the West Toronto Railpath and much, much more! Get dandy at your door or at better bike and book shops in Toronto.
Cycle Couture donated a beautiful Public bike for raffle at our upcoming launch party (pictured in our Bee Scene fashion shoot with Mike Ford in our new issue and on our homepage now)! Thank you Cycle Couture!
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