As the Wheel Turns: Leesburg Bike Shop Reborn as Nonprofit

For more than three decades, Bicycle Outfitters was Leesburg’s go-to independent bike shop for both cycling newbies and experienced racers. When the shop announced last month that it was shutting its doors, avid cyclist and regular customer Robert Bagnall couldn’t let that happen. Bagnall bought the shop and has relaunched it as a nonprofit co-op. The new Revolutions by Maverick celebrates its grand opening Oct. 5 and 6.

            “Community bike shops are going away worldwide,” Bagnall said. “I think the way to make it survive is to make it a charity.”

            The new shop will continue to offer bike sales and service, along with a focus on community outreach and education. The shop will channel profits to cycling-related causes, including promoting bike lanes and other bike safety measures and will donate refurbished bikes to individuals in need. RBM will also launch a cafe with area wine and craft beer, locally roasted coffee and food designed to power athletes and enthusiasts.

            Bagnall, who is the founder and CEO of a successful cybersecurity business, Centreville-based Maverick Cyber Defense, is a longtime cyclist who has had the idea of a nonprofit cycling shop in his head for some time. His plans kicked in sooner than expected when he took a bike in for service and heard about plans to close the shop. Bagnall sat down with Bicycle Outfitters owner Mark Warner and had the new nonprofit up and running within a week.

            Bagnall has kept on the shop’s core staff, including Justin Hanger, known as one of the best bicycle mechanics in the region, and buyer/office manager Dawn Graham. Graham’s husband, Doug, an award-winning photographer and experienced rider, also helps out on the sales floor and is an enthusiastic supporter of the new venture.

            Doug Graham, who recently returned from a motorcycle trip to the West Coast, was impressed with the ubiquitous restaurant/bike shop combos in Seattle.

            “This is more Pacific Northwest-type of thinking. I think it’s innovative and it’s fresh,” Graham said. “It’s going to do the same thing that the old shop did but with more added value, specifically to the cycling community”

            Along with the seasoned and respected staff, Bagnall is also tapping into the shop’s prime location in the Virginia Village retail center, which offers easy access to the W&OD Trail and to the rural roads just west of Leesburg for group rides.

Physiologist and coach Sue Hefler, right, offers CompuTrainer classes, VO2 testing and other coaching services through HPC coaching at the shop. [Doug Graham]

            For Bagnall, who like so many GenXers grew up with a bike as his main means of transportation, fostering cycling culture is key. That means making Northern Virginia more cyclist-friendly and safer with bike lanes along with safety education for both cyclists and drivers,” he said.

            “As soon as I could ride, I was riding everywhere. All weather—it didn’t matter, you just rode your bike,” Bagnall said. “I just love riding, and I feel better when I do it every day.”

            Sue Hefler and her husband, Pierre Pelletier, will continue to run their coaching and fitting business HPC (Hefler Performance Coaching) out of the shop.

            “Rob [Bagnall] is very community focused and that’s what I’m excited about. … Letting the community know that this is a community shop,” Hefler said.

            Both Hefler and Pelletier are former professional cyclists who launched their Northern Virginia coaching business in 2003 and moved it to Bicycle Outfitters in 2015. The couple works with clients from novices to experienced racers and triathletes, offering professional fittings, VO2 fitness testing and classes with CompuTrainer technology that allow riders to train indoors on their own bikes. HPC will offer free BYOB (bring your own bike) classes at Saturday’s grand opening. 

            “We don’t just work with races or a certain level. We work with all people from children to seniors,” Hefler said. “The mission of what we do is to get people moving and have fun.”

            Hefler also coaches competitive youth teams and hopes to expand that mission with the new nonprofit. 

            Part of Bagnall’s community-focused mission includes opening the shop as a gathering place for both cyclists and non-cyclists. The shop’s cafe will offer local wine by Casanel Vineyards and craft beer, and Bagnall is working on developing food options designed with cyclists in mind.

            Loudoun-based coffee roaster and triathlete Kellie Capritta, owner of Catoctin Coffee, will also supply the café. For Capritta, who is a familiar face at the Leesburg Farmers Market at Virginia Village every Saturday, supplying the bike shop offers a chance for her fans to get her local roasts during the week. Capritta, a two-time Ironman competitor, has trained at HPC and had bike work done at Bicycle Outfitters for years and got to know Bicycle Outfitters staff through her stand at the market.

            “They’ve been customers of mine, I’ve been customers of theirs,” she said. “It all kind of goes hand in hand.”

Pierre Pelletier, left, of HPC offers cycling analysis, pro fitting and athlete wellness services. [Doug Graham]

            Bagnall’s goal is to work with local suppliers to create a community space that will draw in cyclists and non-cyclists alike.

            “If we can get more people who drive to sit down in our coffee shop and think about riding, it’s winning all ways,” Bagnall said. “Knowing that every time you contribute to the place, you’re helping grow this for everybody.”Revolutions by Maverick is located at 32-C Catoctin Circle SE in Leesburg. The grand opening takes place Saturday Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk will stop by for a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.For more information, call 703-777-6126 or check out Revolutions by Maverick 

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