Welcome to the world of Sable and Argent, a Sydney-based bike shop like no other. Nestled on the northernmost path of the Bourke St Cycleway in Woolloomooloo, this urban concept space is at once a retail showroom and store, a cafe hangout, a workshop and a community forum.
We headed down to Sable and Argent to catch up with Manager Danny – a pioneer of the increasingly popular two-wheel lifestyle – to talk fixies, thinking green and the thrill of the ride.
Sable and Argent’s home – a huge, industrial style warehouse space – originally functioned as a scooter workshop. When the business was taken up by Danny and the team, it was split down the middle to incorporate the two aspects of the two-wheel lifestyle; the scooter and the humble bike.
“Bicycle sales just rocketed” says Danny. “Scooter sales were showing signs of decline, so it made sense to go with pedal power not petrol power.” And so the store evolved, becoming the ultra-cool hangout it is today, where any one with two wheels is a friend. “It’s just a place to come enjoy yourself, take your time, and shop a little while you’re here.”
For Danny, Sable and Argent’s cycle-centric success can in large part be attributed to the comeback of fixed gear bike culture around two years ago. Fixed gear bikes, or ‘fixies’, can be best described as the cool-dudes of the cycling world, characterized by a wheel fixed directly to the pedals, a sleek frame and no gears.
“They are a great way of commuting – simple and light,” says Danny, who himself rides a fixie in forest green. “That was probably a big driver for the trend – you don’t have to do much maintenance to keep them running.” Plus, they look pretty darn hot!
Alongside a collection of slick fixies and more conventional geared and road bikes, Sable and Argent stock a whole host of bike wear, street apparel, books and accessories. “We try and source a variety of different products, not just for cycling,” says Danny.
“We try and find things that are not mainstream. We try to find the strange, the obscure, the unique, the new. If there’s anything new out there, we’re always try to get that in here and show it to our customers.”
In a world where it is becoming only more important to think a little greener, these two wheel lifestylers are lifelong converts. “Cities aren’t getting any quieter,” says Danny. “They’re getting busier and more polluted. Driving a car seems to be less and less of a choice of people.” Yep, there is no doubt that bikes are becoming an increasingly important part of urban life.
“There is nothing better than finishing your day and riding home. You see more, hear more. The whole thing is a lifestyle – an experience, essential, visual -and it has such a big impact on your life.”