CrimsonBikes has it's roots in the crazy dream of two Harvard students. In 2008, Charles James with the help of his friend Dan Lorenzana began fixing and selling bikes out of their dorm room. One day, Charles got the idea to build a fleet of bikes and rent them out to students who needed them. They created the CrimsonBikes "Bike Share" and within 18 months, CrimsonBikes had become one of the largest campus bike shares in the US!
Fast forward to 2015. Both Charles and Dan had graduated, but Charles was still itching to return to his first love - bikes. Having studied the way people use bike shares, he began to wonder if there was a better way to make bikes more accessible. His bet was that retail was the way. That summer, Charles quit his job and decided to come back to CrimsonBikes - only this time, as a for-profit company. It was a HUGE risk, but if it worked, it could do a lot of good for current and aspiring cyclists.
Working out of the same 10x10 room where it all started, CrimsonBikes quickly evolved from a decent bike share to a baby-faced retail company. Yet, while the business model changed, the mission stayed the same: make cycling more affordable, convenient, and inclusive. To do this, CrimsonBikes would imitate cell phone companies.
1. Use monthly plans to spread out the cost of bikes and service.
2. Use technology to lower costs so that we can pass those savings on to customers.
3. Use bike repair vans in addition to a physical location so that customers can get service and products on their own terms.
Since changing our business model, CrimsonBikes has served tens of thousands of people in the Boston area, and we're just getting started. We've expanded from that 10X10 room to an 8000 sq ft store just outside of Harvard Square, have 2 dedicated delivery/repair vehicles. We've even won a few awards along the way! We're excited about what the future holds, because for us, success means more people experiencing the joy of cycling.
Charles and Daisy are the engines that make CrimsonBikes go. Ever since discovering cycling in college, Charles has combined his love for bikes with a passion for business and problem solving. He is motivated by the challenge of helping people to afford great bikes. From the bike share to the shop, this has been a core of CrimsonBikes' mission. When he decided to convert CrimsonBikes to a for-profit company, Charles knew the perfect person to help: his long-time friend Daisy. Prior to CrimsonBikes, Daisy had worked for Boston Public Schools as a teacher while helping to launch the Mary Lyon Pilot School. For Daisy, making bikes more accessible also meant providing more options for riders with disabilities. Living with a spinal cord injury, Daisy understands better than most what real inclusion looks like.
Both Charles and Daisy share a common vision for a future where bikes redefine human mobility - a future where people adopt cycling as a preferred form of transportation and recreation.
We believe that cycling should be accessible to everyone. Accessible to us means three things: affordable, convenient, and inclusive.
We aim to make biking at all levels more affordable. Our monthly plans help to reduce the upfront cost of bike products and repairs. Our business model is meant to reduce our costs, and we pass those savings onto our customers.
Our shop is conveniently built around our customers lifestyles. Between our shop, our website, and our mobile bike repair/delivery service, our customers can fulfill all of their bike needs on their schedule and wherever they choose.
We want to bridge the social gap in cycling. In 2018, pro cyclist Ayesha McGowan identified the lack of diversity as cycling's biggest problem. Women and people of color are underrepresented both on the road and in the industry. If you peer more closely, there is a wide economic gap as well. CrimsonBikes is doing our part to address this issue, by choosing to offer our services in ways that appeal to a broader range of customers. We also go great lengths to make sure that our staff reflects that diversity.