Ticket to ride: Tailwind Bicycles a home for beginner and die-hard cycling aficionadosBookmark this
Bike lovers, rejoice! You now have a place to call home.
In less than a year, Tailwind Bicycles, located in Kingwood, is now a major spot for biking enthusiasts of all levels. Tailwind sells all types of bikes and equipment, whether it’s cruisers, dual sports, or 10-speeds, wrapping up a successful year since opening last November.
The success is not all surprising considering the community features over 80 miles of paved bike paths that wind through the neighborhood and is close to the paved trails of Jesse H. Jones Park and the Spring Creek Greenway.
“It’s a huge biking scene around here because we do have the benefit of being right outside of Houston,” said John Vondra, part-owner and general manager during an early morning chat at the shop. “When you go right outside the community, you have miles of roads for people to ride. You don’t have as much traffic as someone in a downtown location, for instance.”
In addition to a wide-variety of bikes and bike equipment for purchase, Tailwind is a full-service shop that offers flat repairs, clean and lube jobs, building bikes, to complete overhauls. It’s not uncommon to walk into the shop and see bikes being worked on by staff and riders.
“It’s instant gratification when you fix a bicycle,” Tailwind service manager Ben McQuaid said. “It’s broken, you work on it, and it’s immediately fixed right then. Then to see the customer bring something in and then you give them back a bike, it’s always nice to see on their face.”
Vondra first became immersed in the biking world in 2011 after years working as a producer at 93Q Country. He fell in love with bicycles, riding and racing them in his time away from the studio. He eventually quit to focus on bikes full-time.
The store kickstarted as an offhanded joke with part-owner Mads Thiel and about running their own place.
“He was like, ‘Actually, I was thinking of investing in a bike shop and had you guys in mind,’” Vondra recalled. “It all came down to us quitting our jobs and him backing it financially.”
Vondra and McQuaid, both Kingwood residents, spend much of their spare time riding bikes. The shop offers a 36-mile beginners ride every Saturday to Crosby and back to anyone who wishes to join them. Vondra is a firsthand witness to the positive changes cycling brings to the lives of his patrons, whether it’s the health improvement or introducing them to others who share their passion.
“You get a really good benefit to the soul for people that become really good customers,” he said. “You’re selling people a lifestyle, which is cool.”
The Kingwood location is just the start for Tailwind. They are pushing towards opening in more locations with a business model that not only sells and services bikes, but also features a coffeeshop for riders.
The high caliber service and selection of bikes for sale draws customers to the store. But as a positive consequence, Tailwind is now a popular location for those passionate about cycling. It’s developed a tight-knit family of riders, something that far exceeded Vondra’s expectations when Tailwinds opened.
“Getting other people to ride the bike you sold them, and then getting to go ride with them on the weekend, you don’t get that out of selling a t-shirt,” Vondra said. “Just from being open since November, I’ve made some really good friends. They come here, hang out, and we ride bikes together.”