Cardinal Bicycle is changing the cycling game in Southwest Virginia, and people are noticing. In 2019, the now owner, Whit Ellerman, had a vision of creating a destination where cyclists of every level and background could come and feel at home. A place that would foster the development of a community of cyclists that support each other both on and off the bike and propel the community forward through moving experiences.
Ellerman purchased the Cardinal Bicycle location on Orange Avenue in early 2019. The company had been doing business in the original location in Roanoke since it was founded in 1977. Roanoke families, and folks in the surrounding areas, had a long history with Cardinal Bicycle, purchasing their first bikes and their kids’ first bikes from this location for generations. The Orange Avenue location was remodeled in 2019 to better serve the community, and particularly the Botetourt, Hollins, Fincastle, Daleville and northeast Roanoke County markets.
Whit also wanted to cater to the ever-growing population of competitive athletes and trail-chasers that have arrived to the valley in recent years, since the region’s transformation into one of the east-coast’s top cycling destinations. That’s when the opportunity to develop the region’s first 11,000 square-foot ride center, bike shop, and café all in one, started turning into a reality.
“When the old Mick-or-Mack building came available, we saw an opportunity to create a new kind of bike shop in Grandin Village. The vision was to create a space that went beyond traditional retail, a community cycling hub that is welcoming to all,” says Whit. “The center also needed to cater to all of a rider’s needs, from new bikes and safety equipment to parts and service, to bike fitting, to a café with fresh food, coffee and craft beers.”
The ride center concept became a reality in the fall of 2021, after undergoing a stunning transformation from a 1960s-era grocery store to a state-of-the-art bike shop. The shop features a huge service center, showers, lockers, café, bar, Retul fitting studio, and the largest bike inventory in Southwest Virginia.
The shop has weekly rides nearly every day of the week to cater to beginners, mountain bikers, gravel riders, road cyclists, and greenway riders. The goal of these weekly rides is giving riders the outlet and encouragement they need to participate in the sport they love so much, provide learning opportunities, and find their tribe of similar riders.
The Grandin location strives to be a destination for bike commuters as well. As gas prices continue to rise, the growing prevalence of the eBike (electric bicycle), and the region’s efforts to add more bike lanes and greenways – many folks are choosing to make their daily commutes more fun and cost-effective by biking. Cardinal Bicycle has gone to great lengths, even sending service staff to be trained in the latest eBike motor and battery technology in California, to ensure that both locations can support this growing eBike commuter population.
The ride center has also started offering maintenance classes, training programs including Couch to 20k and Shenandoah 100k training groups, and private coaching. The shop soon plans to launch a rental fleet for tourists and those looking to explore the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains by bike. Whatever your interest, you’re going to want to follow their progress as Cardinal Bicycle continues to develop new programming and events for regional cycling enthusiasts.
Cardinal is a leader in Virginia’s cycling and business communities, cultivating a love of cycling in generations of riders in a vibrant and growing outdoor sports destination. Learn more at cardinalbicycle.com.