Berkshire Bike & Board
Ask anyone in the southern Berkshires where they got their bike, and they are more than likely to answer, “Berkshire Bike & Board.”
Steffen Root was knocking at the door when the local bike shop first opened in 1995 (it was known as Berkshire Bike & Blade then). Though his position as apprentice bike mechanic at Bike & Blade started as a summer job, he had “the chance of a lifetime” when he graduated from college and the original owners offered to sell the business to Root and his coworker, David Clark. The pair became the proprietors on January 1, 1999. Root has now been in the bike business for 18 years.
Root comes from the “learn by doing” school of business, but he has become a better business owner by taking classes at Berkshire Community College and working with the Bike Cooperative, an organization that provides services to independently owned bike shops around the country. He also thanks the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, Salisbury Bank & Trust, and Lee Bank for helping his business to grow and thrive.
Berkshire Bike & Board just recently opened a second location in Pittsfield at 502C East Street. Since some of the Northeast’s best mountain biking trails are in Pittsfield, this new location will specialize in mountain biking. Root and Clark are confident that they will attract customers from the city of Pittsfield and further north.
Even though Root and his friends called Great Barrington “Great Boring Town” when they were young, now he realizes that it was growing up on Jug End in Egremont that got him into mountain biking. “We had this amazing resource in our backyard, where we could go hiking, mountain biking, and exploring. There was a community of us kids on a road where traffic was never an issue.” He hopes to raise his own children in the same type of environment by keeping the Berkshire economy vibrant and the ecology healthy.
Creating that kind of community “takes effort but just a tiny bit of effort,” he says. “We can all be richer, both financially and community-wise, if we keep our money local, do our best to support our local businesses, and do as little outside sourcing as possible.” This is why Berkshire Bike & Board likes dealing in BerkShares. “The largest portion of my BerkShares goes back out for advertising—on our locally owned radio station, WSBS, and to Kwik Print, Berkshires’ Best, and the Berkshire Record—but Fuel and Gorham and Norton come to mind too.” He has hopes for locally produced bike frames, to be bought with BerkShares.
Berkshire Bike & Board is “a full service bike shop” for all sorts of cyclists, from tricycle-riding tykes to serious mountain bikers and road racers. The staff is made up entirely of cyclists; what they aim to do is not just sell you a bike but “sell you cycling.” That’s why they offer lifetime free tune-ups for the bikes they sell. Berkshire Bike & Board also organizes twice-weekly group rides that leave the bike shop on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5:30 all summer long. Root wants to make sure that, for his customers, “there’s no reason not to get on your bike.”