Mike started Easy Street in 1996 and has been firmly shackled to it ever since by his unceasing devotion to his customers. If you have difficult questions about your peculiar bicycle that no one else can answer you will find yourself talking to Mike. He is an odd duck, but is famously patient with people and (reputedly) quite honest. He owns a Lightning P-38, a BikeE E2 tandem, and an HPM Tri-Hauler, but is now working on developing his carbon footprint by driving the company van all over the landscape. If you ride a bike in Austin, Mike thinks you should join Bike Austin, the local bike advocacy organization, which he helped form in 2006.
Before joining us as Sales Manager, Micah was the go-to guy for recumbents in Fort Worth. When he isn’t on his marvelously well-equipped AZUB Origami or his Rans Hammertruck, he is tinkering with eccentrically-designed British automobiles, particularly Ja-gu-ars and Range Rovers. Knowing just how crazily his own Ja-gu-ar is engineered he drives it very carefully. He can also shoot like Wild Bill Hickock, but fortunately he is a really nice guy.
When Service Manager Laurie isn’t building bikes or wheels for us, she builds other things. Some of her metal, leather, and bookbinding projects can be found at L.R. Wicker Design. Skilled in several mediums with no lack of creativity, she is just the sort a shop like Easy Street needs. Outside that, she beats on helpless pieces of metal with Balcones Forge. She claims she treats dogs like people, but she doesn’t treat people like dogs.
Rebecca di Luce
Rebecca is our secret ingredient, organizing our events and keeping our customers connected and informed. She produces our newsletter and our coordinates anything related to our community and our brand. If she isn’t doing that she’s rescuing Mike from his own bookkeeping practices or doing whatever else the shop needs to keep running smoothly. Otherwise, she likes cribbage, dancing, her motorcycle and really dirty martinis.
“How in the hell did I end up in retail?”
Mike Librik discovered recumbent bicycles in 1994 in the European cycling magazine Bike Culture Quarterly, which he found on the rack at Freewheeling Bicycles in Austin. BCQ is no longer with us (nor is Freewheeling), but their former editor launched his own magazine, Velo Vision, which keeps that tradition going in a more financially robust method. Check it out.
In early 1996, Mike’s friend and future business partner Amy was severely injured going over the handlebars of her bike. They began a search for a safer alternative, and quickly turned to recumbents specifically for their safety advantages. They found recumbents in Austin at Recumbent Ranch, a small part-time operation. Recumbent Ranch was closing at about that time, so Mike bought it and called it Easy Street, based on his philosophy of cycling.
It is cliche in this industry to say that the owner “had a passion for cycling.” In truth, Mike just saw a great product that needed a champion, and once he had customers he realized they needed continued support. So Easy Street began, and so it continues, spreading the word about a great thing and supporting those who supported us.
After 11 years of working on a limited scale out of his house, Mike quit his day job and moved Easy Street to its current storefront location in late 2007. He was initially worried about paying the rent, laying in a large store of peanut butter and Beanie-Weenie, but with a storefront location his business jumped 7-fold in the first year and has steadily increased. Next came staff, which made rent look cheap. Next came the shop van, and a commitment to taking the word about recumbents out across Texas. And lurking in the back office is the struggle to turn a small, caring mom & pop operation into a growing, caring enterprise. This work continues today.
Recumbent specialists have come and gone in Houston and DFW during our time, but we keep in there, the only full service recumbent specialist in the south central USA. The store has lasted through two major recessions and has outlasted quite a few of its original suppliers. We aren’t big, and we don’t boast a giant inventory, but we keep on going. And that, in the end, is just what it was in the beginning: a commitment to supporting our customers.