“We recognize and rejoice in the virtues of bicycling, and we want to do what we can to encourage bicycling on the island (and beyond) as a way of life,” says Don George of Black Dog Bicycles on Lopez Island. George worked for over 25 years with Burley Bicyles, a formerly worker-owned business co-op headquartered in Eugene, Ore. George and his wife Desla moved to Lopez in 2005, after the Burley name was sold to a private party.
“After the co-op broke up, we wanted to move somewhere bike-friendly in our semi-retirement,” said George. “I bought some of the leftover inventory of bicyles and unwanted machine tools from Burley and built a shop next to the house. I’m as busy now as I was in my regular work-life.”
George is working on new designs for bike trailers that carry cargo or children. “Safety and ease of trailering are the most important elements of design,” says George.
George is also selling KHS touring bikes and Birdy compact folding bicycles from his Lopez Sound Road shop in addition to BionX electric assisted propulsion system for bicycles. “You can ride for up to 60 miles on a charge,” said George. “It makes a quick trip into Lopez Village doable, even if you’re tired after a day’s work. The price of gas and the interest in alternative means of transportation in the community have generated a lot of interest in the product.”
In January 2008, Black Dog Bicycles launched its website ,www.blackdogbicyles.com. “It’s really better if buyers see the products in person, but coming to Lopez is impractical for a lot of people,” said George. “We are trying to keep the prices as competitive as possible.”
In addition to selling new bicyles, Black Dog is also doing repairs and maintenance on customer’s bikes. They have a full line of parts, tires and even some accessories, including helmets, seats, pedals and carrier baskets.
In their spare time, Don and Desla are active with the Lopez Animal Protection Society (LAPS). In fact, the name of their business refers to their love of dogs and their black Labrador Retriever, Gracie.
Black Dog Bicyles is located at 1840 Lopez Sound Rd. on Lopez Island northeast of the Lopez School campus. It can be reached at 360-468-0913, at www.blackbogbicycles.com or email Topdog@blackdogbicycles.com.