Forty-six years after its founding in 1977, Albuquerque’s oldest bike shop is closed.
After moving from its original location on Central, the Bike Coop has been selling wheels at 120 Yale SE since 2013 – but after repairs and builds are wrapped up on the remaining bikes in the shop and a final Memorial Day sale, current owner Amanda Batty said the shop’s doors will be closed for good.
“A lot of people in the community have helped. … It’s super supportive,” Batty said. “It’s hard to walk away from the effort put in.”
The decision came after a disgruntled customer came to the shop, forcing open the door and verbally berating owner Batty. The police were called, and the door was marked with a criminal trespass notification prohibiting the customer from returning.
But Batty said the incident was just one of many difficulties she faced as a small-business owner, which ultimately led to her decision to close the shop.
“The long and short of it is that it’s demoralizing,” Batty said.
Batty took over the shop three years ago; she said she invested $30,000 of her personal savings to bring the shop back to life. But at the end of 2022, Batty quietly cleared out the rest of the staff, and has been running the operation alone.
The ownership change came during the pandemic, when bike shops worldwide saw “unprecedented” business. The shop was already buried in customer repairs when Batty bought the Coop when the bike boom hit. But Batty welcomed it.
“It was awesome,” Batty said. “It was absolute mayhem and it was so cool.”
Batty is a former professional downhill mountain biker who learned mechanics on her own bikes. She had a vision for the Bike Coop; Batty said she wanted to bring new people into the bike industry, especially women and queer people.
She also wanted to start building custom bikes, bring in hard-to-find vintage parts and get more kids in Albuquerque biking.
Over the course of three years, the shop donated over 100 bikes during the Christmas season. The shop also started offering bike maintenance classes for women.
But the shop faced difficulties, including a wage theft lawsuit involving a former contractor, issues getting parts from distributors, and clashes with the building’s landlord, who served the shop with an eviction notice last December. The notice was eventually canceled.
Batty also said she sometimes butted heads with customers who didn’t see her as the stereotypical bike shop owner.
Crime in the Bricklight District was a factor, Batty said, but it wasn’t the main reason she chose to close the shop – it was just one of many struggles of small-business ownership.
“I thought the shop was saveable,” Batty said. “And by the time I found out it wasn’t, I was way too far into it.”
Batty isn’t sure what she’ll do next, except that it won’t include the bike industry. She said she probably won’t open another business, either.
However, she said she doesn’t regret buying the shop. Keeping the legacy of the Bike Coop going was her main reason for sticking with it.
“That was a huge part of why I wanted to save it,” Batty said. “You can’t just let it die.”