Suburban Assault

I Heart Mellow Johnny’s

with 2 comments

I first read about Mellow Johnny’s from Bike Hugger. They happened to mention a visit to the shop while they were in Austin during this year’s SXSW Interactive Conference. Although, I was in Austin for the same conference, I wasn’t able to make it to Johnny’s at that time. I did learn through the Bike Hugger blog that Mellow Johnny’s is partially owned by Lance Armstrong and that it was going to be focused on commuting. Since I live in Texas, I was very interested in seeing what it was all about.

Fast forward a couple of months and I got a new opportunity to visit the shop. I took a short trip to Austin to catch a few seminars at the HOW Design Conference and decided to do a little urban assault ride the morning after. While tooling around downtown Austin that morning, I took a detour down 4th street over to Nueces Street. There it was, in a refurbished warehouse building with a simple, yet cool, sign out front.

Of course, being the early rider that I am, I was there before the shop was open (which was at 8:00 am – early for a bike shop). Fortunately, The Juan Pelota Cafe opens an hour earlier and had a hot cup of coffee to keep me company until the bike shop opened. While waiting on the cool patio, I noticed a huge commuter map of Austin hanging on their wall. It informed me that Mellow Johnny’s was a Downtown Bike Station – a place where commuters can drop their bikes off for service or storage. They also offered showers, lockers and free coffee (on Fridays) to commuters who needed to freshen up after a long ride into town. How cool is that?

While waiting for the store to open, a nice lady on a bike pulled up and asked if I was part of the group ride happening that morning. It sounded pretty grueling, so I’m kinda glad I had to head back home soon. After discovering that this was my first visit to Mellow Johnny’s, she offered up lots of information about the store and things I needed to check out once they were opened. Apparently, besides being a commuter friendly bike shop, there was some sort of art gallery upstairs as well as a neat little Lance Armstrong exhibit in the basement. I also learned about some really cool training facilities that were available as well.

Well, 8:00 finally came around and I was able to see the shop for myself. Talk about a kid in a candy store. It was far better than my expectations and had an atmosphere too cool to be justified by pictures. The employees, although busy with opening the shop, were friendly and the products were well displayed. It was as if the inventory was specifically selected for my needs – I wanted EVERYTHING. This time, I had to settle with just a t-shirt.

I could have spent hours there, exploring it from front to back, but I had to make the long trip home to Dallas. I was so overwhelmed by the coolness of the store that I didn’t make it upstairs. I did take a quick peak at the Lance exhibit in the basement and was pretty impressed. The next time I’m in Austin, I will give myself more time for a quality visit.

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Written by dickdavid

July 11, 2009 at 3:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. next time, you have to take me with you :^)

    Wendy Woodruff-Wezensky

    July 29, 2009 at 6:47 pm


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