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Longtime Newton bicycle shop shuts down

Harris Cyclery in West Newton closed for good on Sunday after 70 years in business.

H/t Mike.

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So was no one in the family interested? There's good money in bikes and bicycle parts I hear.

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I would love to see Ferris Wheels step in .

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Nope not good money. If you can get parts now, you can sell them, but the margins have been compressed over the years. There’s several factors but the two biggest are major brands and distributors reducing their footprint in small shops and favoring the mega stores like Landry’s and Wheelworks and competition from online retailers like Amazon and REI. It’s gotten to the point where it’s just not sustainable for the small shops. It’s been an issue in the industry for 15 years and nationally small shops have been dying out at an increasing rate.

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Parts aren't that easy to come by the last 18 months. It has hurt as many bike businesses as it has helped.

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One of the longest-running bike industry jokes is "How do you wind up with a million dollars in the bike industry? Start with two million."

The bike retail biz is rough, and the current, record drought in availability of complete bikes and parts is only going to make things rougher through 2022, if not 2023.

Repairing bikes can make good financial sense, but only if you can get stuff at wholesale to do it. Right now, that's real touch and go for many shops. If I were thinking of getting out of the business, and needed to sell all my remaining inventory for the best possible price, this year would definitely be a good time to do so.

Harris was a bastion of transportation cycling and slightly retrogrouch/esoteric stuff. I hope some of their very talented staff will land elsewhere and keep all those good bikes zipping around the area.

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Sorry to hear it.

Will sheldonbrown.com be maintained by someone else? It’s a really valuable resource on bike technology, and Harris Cyclery has been maintaining it since Sheldon passed away.

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Announced they will continue on.

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Used to be little fender-sized stickers with this on them.

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It's been maintained by a John Allen and Harriet Fell (Sheldon's widow) since his death. They removed most of the linkages to Harris over the years and hasn't been directly affiliated with the shop for some time.

People new to cycling or who are younger don't appreciate Sheldon's influence on cycling. It's always amazing a little neighborhood bike shop was behind so many cycling trends with such a far reach. Honestly, I don't think the Harris family appreciated it either.

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On Sunday I was fortunate to grab the last T-shirt Harris Cyclery had with Sheldon's bright smile and his trademark eagle-helmet.

I'll probably not be wearing it though; it brings up too much distress for me regarding the lost era of people at local shops always helpful, always a good deal, always friendly faces and the treasure trove of skill and knowledge. These are simply irreplaceable. How much ever people love the 'great' deals to be found online, they will never experience being in the company of people who live and breathe bicycles. Some people I spoke to have (now sadly had) been working at Harris for more than three decades.

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For anyone who didn't know, Harriet Fell, Sheldon's widow who maintains the site, is a computer science professor at Northeastern. Amazing woman in her own right.

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Amazon is forcing small businesses to close.

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