Every year ARTCRANK takes us to upwards of a dozen bike-crazed cities around the U.S. and abroad. Our first show went down at legendary Minneapolis bike shop One on One Bicycle Studio back in 2007, and we’ve been able to visit a spread of incredible shops in the years since. With this recurring feature, we’ll pay homage to the bike shops that keep people rolling and serve as hubs of the local cycling community.
First up is Denver’s Pearl Velo.
“From the start with Pearl Velo I wanted to create a bicycle shop different than most. One that would embrace the art of cycling. Working with like-minded people to create a moving piece of art, design and style. Here’s to the ones that are into exploring, innovating and collaborating together to create a simple tool that’ll hopefully propel you to places near and far. Enjoy the ride…”
–Tyler Hardie, Pearl Velo
On the corner of 43rd and Tennyson in Denver, Colorado resides an old red brick building that houses two-wheeled sanctuary, Pearl Velo. The front of the shop is adorned with hand-painted signs in the tradition of a 1930’s mercantile shop, and immediately inside the front door, a handsome piece of handcrafted steel from Avery County Cycles greets visitors and sets the tone for the Pearl Velo experience.
Opened by Tyler Hardie in 2007, Pearl Velo has remained a largely one-man show. The quaint shop is filled with a spread of quality cycling products that blend a genteel aesthetic with performance. It has it all and nothing more.
What motivated you to open the shop?
You get one chance at life.
What are the best and worst parts of running a shop?
Best: Having an outlet for creativity, as well as a place that inspires and promotes the culture of cycling. Most important to me is that my daughter Scarlett Pearl is growing up in a bike shop and witnessing her father pursue a dream.
Worst: I live three blocks away, and it takes longer to get my bike out of the garage than it does to walk to work.
You have a creative background. How does that translate into Pearl Velo?
I went to school for design and printing. I’ve created everything in the shop myself including store fixtures, branding and logos. The whole operation has become an outlet for my creativity. More than five years into it, and I’m still hand silk-screening every one of my shirts.
How have you branded the shop to stand out from the crowd?
I believe good branding of a business comes from strong influences. Branding is so trend-driven, but if you look back before computers, before the Internet, it was more of an art form than a tool–there’s plenty of great inspiration there. I grew up with a father who’s a sign painter and mother who collects antiques, so I was lucky to be around a couple of those strong influences each and every day.
How would you describe Pearl Velo in three words?
Culture, Authentic, Artistic.
How would you describe the Denver bike scene?
I wouldn’t be able to describe the bike scene without describing the current state of Denver in general. Denver is changing. We have incredible artists, entrepreneurs, and creative people living here. Denver is growing and cycling is a huge part of that growth.
How do you view Pearl Velo’s role in the scene?
Pearl Velo is here for those that… Could I say, “think differently?” I worked for Apple for four years, if you couldn’t tell.
To continue on the same wave I’m on now. I have a vision that doesn’t involve volume, size or money. I’m driven by happiness, riding my bike with friends, spending time with my family and helping my friends chase dreams. It’s contagious and it’s worked so far.