Short story long…
1bike was born for three reasons — the desire to build beautiful things, the passion for bikes and the need to fix our own twowheeled pals. Back in history, we started as a small family business, located at the heart of Bulgaria – the picturesque town of Dryanovo. To get the idea, Dryanovo has a population of approximately 6 000 people and is cuddled in the mountains – it is a place to live a peaceful and romantic life.
Alex, who founded 1bike, grew up there and after long travels and living in Sofia for a decade, decided to come back to his roots. And why not start a business there? As a result in the hot summer of 2013 1bike was born – the first atelie for custom bicycles in Bulgaria.
At first Alex wanted to open a classic bicycle shop in Sofia and if there is some interest, build custom projects only when someone orders them. Well, two things happened that changed the plan – first, since he started the business only with some personal savings, he quickly realised that he would only survive a few months in Sofia and he risks losing it all; second, why opening yet another classic bike shop in a city full of classic bike shops?
So he took his bags, left his work and went back to Dryanovo. He hired an old store and started learning how to repaint bicycle. Together with his father they built an amateur paint chamber, that was nothing more than a box of plastic with one window. They experimented with different metals, primers, paints and varnishes. They learned how to take of the rust without hurting the metal, how to polish old chromed parts and bring back their life.
And as in all small business, the first clients of 1bike were friends of Alex. The first bicycle he redesigned became a huge success (check our the Bike of Travel and Wine) and soon after that orders started to come from all over the country. For an year he travelled to the homes of his clients, took their bicycles and brought them back totally renovated.
An year after Alex got a mail from Ivan, who wanted his bicycle repainted. After Alex was ready, they met for a coffee to discuss the work on the project and their shared passion for bicycles. And it trully was one of those moments for Alex, when you meet someone and you simply know you have to keep them next to you. As a result, one month later Ivan turned from client to partner at 1bike. Since that day 1bike was no longer a personal project. It is the project of two Bulgarian boys, who dream for having the freedom to do what they love and earn a decent living out of it.
To get the love story rolling on, Alex and Ivan decided that 1bike need a place in Sofia too. So in two months the workshop on 45 “Tsar Shishman” Str. was opened and things got even more serious – more clients, more work, more services, more pleasure.
Ivan added not only great marketing skills, but also great technical skills. He is one of the rare breed, that never stops when there is trouble and always finds a solution. He added class to the project, he created a beautiful website and enormously raised the quality control levels. As a result 1bike started as a small family business, but is now a growing company that manages to offer a variety of services at top level quality.
In numbers 1bike would sound like that – we had 14 projects in our first year. We had 48 in our second. And in our third year we had more than 100 custom projects. As to the bicycles we have fixed in our workshop in Sofia – we have long lost the number.
Now 1bike is a fully operating bicycle studio that not only works on custom projects, but also takes care of ordinary bicycles as well. We love them – old or new, rusty or shiny. We have successfully managed to develop our business in three areas that contribute to each other:
First, we are still a custom bicycle workshop. We still work on personal projects in our workshop in Dryanovo and we have improved a lot our skills and our equipment. We offer a variety of quality painting – from car paint to powder paint. We have a couple of magical designers who can draw beauty on any part of your bicycle. We also have established great work flow with other companies in the field of metal treatment so we can offer a full custom service – from production of specific parts to giving you the most amazing hand painting and polish.
Second, we have one of the best mechanics in Sofia – Nikola Borich. He has extraordinary skills and loves working on city bicycles. We are among the few workshops in Bulgaria who fix rear hubs with gears, who can fix your dynamo hub or rewire your electric components if you have such. We are not scared of old stuff, we are not scared of rust.
Third, we are gradually expanding the variety of accessories and parts we sell. Becuase we know that sometimes you do not need a whole renovation service. All you need is the right saddle or the perfect handlebars, or the right color of tyres. This is why we have invested in colors and forms when it comes to accessories and you will not find a place in Sofia that offers better variety.
So, if you need anything for your bike – from small fix to full customization, do not hesitate to find us a 45 “Tsar Shishman” Str. or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.