- Richard L. Duquette
ShareMellow Johnny’s: The Big Buzz
With all eyes on Lance Armstrong and his tour performance, I decided to do some digging into his bike shop Mellow Johnny’s in Austin, Texas. (I am sure you already know this, but “Mellow Johnny” is a play on the French “Maillot Jaune” or “Yellow Jersey,” something Armstrong is synonymous with these days.) We asked if it's a poke back at the French for hounding Lance.
The store spokesperson said no, it's a nick name for the yellow jersey that originated during the Tour de France, because the Americans butcher the pronunciation of it. Armstrong has worn the yellow jersey more than 60 times, thereby spawning his shop's name "Mellow Johnny's", according to the Smithsonian page.
Mellow Johnny’s, is located smack-dab in an up-and-coming area of downtown Austin, and is a hub for recreational bicyclists, morning commuters, and anybody else who wants to join in.
Armstrong and Bart Knaggs (Armstrong’s longtime friend, manager, and part owner of Mellow Johnny’s) envisioned Mellow Johnny's as a true urban store with a commuter focus, and not just a cool place to buy bike gear. (It's 18,000 sq feet on two levels.)
They have stayed true to this urban store and commuter focus vision with $1 showers and big fluffy towels for commuters to use, a free bike drop (in the service department), and an awesome café (see more below) full of fuel-food. If your bike needs service, just ask; they can do that while you're at work!
Mellow Johnny’s also holds a variety of rides around Austin designed to scout new community routes and encourage camaraderie in addition to classes in bicycle repair and racing. (To the right you can see the Austin City bike route map they have posted.)
Moreover, downstairs they have the sports specific Pedal Hard Training Center a state of the art indoor training and testing facility, led by 6-Time Tour de France rider Kevin Livingston. Lance likes to come in and train when he's in town. He used it to recover from his recent broken collarbone. Lance liked the controlled environment during his recovery process. The Center is rigged with new fluid trainers, video, and sound. Kevin and his coaches direct the sessions. You just bring your own bike and hook it up to a state of the art computrainer. The center also provides....
INDOOR CLASSES The Center features the virtual 3-D Computrainer system that measures power, heart rate, and cadence.
BIKE FIT Pedal Hard uses the Retul system to factor for saddle height, fore-aft of saddle, shoe/cleat position, back angle, and handlebar reach.
THRESHOLD TESTING Through the use of an SRM Ergometer and lactate analyzer, we can determine your current level of fitness
Finally, you can end your training session or ride at the JUAN PELOTA Café and Coffee House. According to the Mellow Johnny's web site, the Founders wanted a place to gather, interact, and have a great espresso. They also offer an impressive selection of Sandwiches, Salads, and Pastries.
If you're just taking a ride break they also have Power Foods & Drinks. You can Hydrate and energize with their wide selection of items to consume on or off the bike.
According to Community Outreach spokesperson Eileen Schaubert, a self-described political advocated for bicyclist’s rights, those at Mellow Johnny’s want to encourage commuting and bicycling for exercise and sport in any way they can. And as far as we can see they are doing an OUTSTANDING job.
The Austin community, known for the UT Longhorns, Lance Armstrong, live music, and an abiding love of everything alternative, has embraced Mellow Johnny’s with open arms. During the launch party for the 2009 Tour de France the streets were chalked, there were contests and podium girl photo ops, and, of course, fund raising for the Live Strong Foundation.
Check out some fan support pictures we snapped in Austin…
......and don’t forget to cheer for Lance! Even if he isn’t your pick for the 2009 TDF certainly his efforts to advocate for safe, affordable, and feasible bicycle community as well as his tireless efforts for cancer research are to be applauded!