Queen Street bicycle shop changes gears

AN iconic Bendigo bike shop changed hands earlier this year, with Harding Cycles taken over by franchise Bike Force on January 6. 

Moira Pasquali and Brad Steigenberger, who left their jobs as an accountant and a spare parts manager respectively,  to open the store, picked Bendigo because of its strong cycling scene. 

"Bendigo has a huge scene," Ms Pasquali said. 

"Road and track cycling are popular, as well as BMX and mountain biking."

Ms Pasquali said the focus will be on customer service. 

"Business has been great so far."

Previous owner Ash Harding, who will continue to work at the shop as a mechanic, was sad to see the family name gone from the shop front. 

"But these guys have already done so many great things to the store," he said. 

"I got the shop after my parents (Russ and Jill Harding) semi-retired.

"I ran it for about eight years."

Russ Harding, who started Harding Cycles more than 30 years ago, said he was pleased he could finally retire.

"My wife (Jill) and I did semi-retire when Ash took over," he said, 

"But we can really retire now."

Ms Pasquali said the inspiration to buy a shop came after she and Mr Steigenberger had their bikes stolen.  

"We had to get some new bikes, and it went all through insurance but we went to Bike Force in the Docklands (in Melbourne)," she said. 

"And that's actually the head office for Bike Force.

"We got to talking to them and they said 'hey, you guys would be great to run a shop'.

"So when this one came up, they called in June to say there was a Bike Force opening up in Bendigo and that we would be perfect for it."

Current BMX state champion Brock Tuckerman is also on board as a mechanic for the shop.

Mr Tuckerman said he hoped he could offer local and industry knowledge to people coming into the shop.

"My hopes for the bike shop are that it gets super busy."

merran.reed@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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