Freeride Bike Co. owner’s passion becomes a business in the childhood district
Owner Brian Morris sits on a PK Ripper, one of only 250 such models ever made, at Freeride Bike Co. (Tom Blodgett / Community Impact Newspaper)
Brian Morris grew up near Higley Road and Williams Field and remembers riding his bike to the local convenience store near the southwest corner of Williams Field.
Now 46, Morris turned that childhood memory into his life’s work at the Freeride Bike Co. in the same building where the convenience store once stood.
Morris, a fifth-generation Arizona, started his father’s landscaping business, but 12 years ago, around the time he married his wife, Ashleigh, the two got into it in the bicycle shop trade. Ashleigh had become an avid motorcycle enthusiast after meeting Morris.
“We pulled the trigger and jumped in and started in our garage,” he said. “Now we are the biggest reseller in Arizona and according to Trek [Bikes, a vendor], one of the best in its class in the United States.
The name Freeride comes from a type of mountain bike that the rider winds his way through, or when it comes to the company’s beach cruisers, not really having a destination.
“It kind of matched our vibe,” Morris said.
Despite his passion for cycling, Brian said it wasn’t really his dream to open a bicycle shop as a profession.
“The bike shops here are very commercialized,” he said. “We brought a different aspect to it. We started by manufacturing and importing our own beach cruisers. And now we’re just selling a lot of stuff. We are a unique bicycle shop. We are not a road bike shop or an ATV shop; we are a real family bike shop. We welcome everyone.
That means having 10 to 12 brands of bikes in store, rather than the more typical five or six, with access to selling maybe 30 brands if a customer is willing to wait, Morris said. The store also maintains bicycles and offers a variety of bicycle accessories, including its own bicycle basket liners.
Being a family-friendly bike store also means customer service is especially important, Morris said, whether someone is putting $ 10,000 on a specialty bike or $ 10 on an inner tube. He said he wanted them to be part of the family no matter how much money is spent.
This ranges from promoting the local cycling community, from partnering with municipalities on bike rodeos to sponsoring publicity tours of up to 300 people on bikes to help get bikes into the hands of foster children or children with special needs.
“It’s something we can do to give back to the community,” he said.
Local store numbers
Freeride Bike Co. offers a variety of cycling services.
30-50 bikes maintained per day
More than 10,000 bicycles sold per year
30 brands available for sale
10,000 basket liners sold per year
5-6 custom handcrafted bikes per year
Freeride Bike Co.
3143, chemin E. Williams Field, Gilbert
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am-5pm, Sun 11 am-4pm