There are over 100 years in bicycle retail experience between the staff at Avantiplus Dunedin. And that’s just between owners Steve Dyet and Stew Thomas, and Greg Brinsdon in the workshop at the store at 110 Crawford St. That’s a phenomenal amount of combined knowledge about cycling, and what would be right for you if you’re thinking about getting into it over the summer months.
The store was originally opened as Browns in the 1920s, with motorcycle and automobile parts, as well as bicycles. It stayed with the family as Browns for Bikes, until Steve took the business over in 1990. He’s had an association with the New Zealand Avanti brand since not long after that. Having started riding before he turned five, Steve is passionate about cycling. He’s done a lot of riding around the world, and still likes to get out a few times a week. ‘‘We’re lucky, Dunedin is an amazing place to go cycling,’’ he says. ‘‘In any direction within 10 minutes you can be out of the city. There are great places to go for mountain-biking, roadbiking, and just for general fitness.’’
Avanti is an Auckland-based brand that was started in 1986. They produce mountain bikes, road bikes, kids’ bikes, and now electric bikes. The latter category of pedalassisted bicycles is a rapidly growing area of the market. ‘‘It’s the big growth area globally,’’Steve says. ‘‘We have embraced them in New Zealand. It’s pretty hot in Europe, although they use them a different way. They’re commute only really, whereas here we want to commute and go and ride on the trails as well.’’ He says the ease of access to world-class trails is one driver, and also the fact that cycling is a passive non-jarring exercise that is great for people with joint problems, and those with only a few years left in their legs.
Electric bikes can increase the length of someone’s cycling life, which is perfect for those who want to remain active in their mature years. ‘‘By and large we like to give things a go and we like to get out and about,’’ Steve says. ‘‘The biggest group buying electric bikes do so for wellbeing and health. They want to go and get some exercise, and also have an adventure, but not come home absolutely exhausted.’’
Off-road bikes are still incredibly popular, accounting for up to 65% of the market. With so many bikes available, it can be a daunting prospect for someone thinking of starting riding. That’s why the best thing to do is to go and have a chat with the experts at Avantiplus. As well as Avanti, they stock Scott, Raleigh, Malvern Star, and Haro.‘‘Face to face with bikes is still important — we like to ask a lot of questions,’’ Steve says. ‘‘We ask people what they’re going to do, where their friends ride. That’ll lead us to the right bike. Everyone that works here is passionate about seeing people out on bikes. Even though it’s a business, it’s a passion as well.’’
Avantiplus Dunedin: Open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday, 9.00am-4.00pm Saturday. 110 Crawford St, Dunedin. Call (03) 477-7259.