Tempe’s Cycling Commuter Support Station Provides Green Alternative
By Jennifer Lindley
We all know bicycling costs practically nothing; it’s also green and keeps you fit. Many people bicyce to work everyday, saving gasoline and reducing air pollution. For some, the thought of breaking into a sweat before arriving at the office is a disincentive, not to mention all the planning and expense of a work wardrobe and cycling gear. Then there’s the dilemma of trying to shower at work and the challenge of turning hair that’s been under a helmet into something approaching stylish.
Those thoughts and more went through the minds of the owners and founders of The Bicycle Cellar, Joseph Perez and John Romero. Modeled after similar projects in California, this state of the art facility in Tempe was built to assist and promote bicycle commuting. “One of our main objectives is to help those individuals who want to commute by bicycle but don’t have the confidence and knowledge to do so,” says cofounder Romero.
Located at the Tempe Transportation Center, within steps of the Metro light rail, Valley Metro buses and Tempe’s Orbit Shuttle, The Bicycle Cellar is a retail bicycle shop and membership facility where commuters can securely leave their bicycle and head to their final destinations. Bicyclists have access to showers, lockers and towel service and choose daily, monthly or annual membership. In addition, a bicycle repair and rental service is available on site.
Adam Rosenberg lives in Scottsdale and uses The Bicycle Cellar facility, “I enjoy riding my bicycle to and from work and it’s only about an hour each way, getting shorter as I get fitter. Plus, I don’t have the hassle of driving, red lights and traffic.” Rosenberg credits The Bicycle Cellar’s business model and having a safe and pleasant place to store a bicycle, shower, and keep his stuff. In addition, Rosenberg adds, “The people are friendly, so I have one extra ‘good morning’ smile and ‘see you tomorrow’ wave each day. You don’t get any of that in the company parking lot.”
Romero and Perez started this business as an outgrowth of their long time passion for cycling, with Perez referring to it as a “love venture”. While they both have full time careers, they put all their spare time and effort into this business and want it to succeed.
None of this would have been possible without the vision of the City of Tempe. About two years ago, Tempe finished building the $26 million, three-story, Tempe Transportation Center. The building is LEED certified which means it’s more efficient and uses energy saving ideas. The city plans to fill it with businesses that incorporate environmentally friendly practices in their daily operations to complement the center’s environmentally conscious construction. The Bicycle Cellar is the first entrepreneurial occupant.
Future plans are optimistic and long term goals include opening another Bicycle Cellar in another Arizona city. Perez says “If five percent of people in the East Valley chose to bicycle to work five days a week like I do, our roads would be less congested, and our air would be cleaner. I don’t have a car payment, and I don’t spend money on gas or car insurance. Bicycling everyday has really improved my quality of life.”
The Bicycle Cellar is located at 200 E. Fifth Street in downtown Tempe between Mill Avenue and Sun Devil Stadium. Visit www.thebicyclecellar.com for additional information.