“That way, my marketing is completely targeted. It’s coming from a trusted source: a neighbor, rather than myself, who’s a random person. And it’s 100% free,” Oestreich said. “I don’t know of any other marketing technique that checks those boxes.”
Oestreich doesn’t set hours for the pop-up, but usually stops taking customers when he hits 15 bikes and calls it quits when the last bike is done. Each tune-up costs $75. Replacing things like inner tubes and chains costs extra. More than that and it’s a job for someone else.
“If your bike is falling apart and it needs all sorts of replacements, I don’t do that,” Oestreich said. He specializes in speedy, nearby service for everyone from the occasional weekend rider to daily bike commuters.
It’s the perfect business model for the pandemic, he said. The business is entirely outside, with little customer contact required. And by traveling to residential neighborhoods, he meets customers where they are — which at the peak of the pandemic was mostly at home.
New year, new neighborhoods
By the time Orangetheory offered Oestreich his job back, he turned them down.
Curbside Bicycles “fully supports me,” he said. “I feel super fortunate. The fact that the pandemic was a boon to me is kind of an amazing phenomenon.”