By CASS MARRETT
Those who travel along Queenstown’s Gorge Road may have noticed a new storefront of late.
Bro Bike NZ’s set up shop in the former Carters building, alongside Going Blue bike rentals and new remote control racing arena, Electric Avenue.
Owner Aidan Mernagh says the Bro Bike NZ story goes back about 15 years, when he first seriously got into biking.
‘‘I’d always fix my own bikes as a kid — I didn’t have an awful amount of money — so I was like, ‘right, I need to learn how to fix my own stuff’.
‘‘I guess I’ve been fixing bikes since then.’’
At Scotland’s University of Aberdeen, where Mernagh was studying geology and working as a bike mechanic on the side, he and a few mates began contacting factories to get bike parts made, getting most success out of brake pads.
‘‘I ran the mountain bike club at university and so that’s why we were doing the whole brake pad thing, because we were students and we were skint.’’
He came to Queenstown four years ago for the mountain biking — ‘‘it was the only reason’’ — and despite having plans to travel to Canada, he never left.
He got a job working as a geologist on oil rigs, but after Covid hit last year, no one was going to the rigs for drilling.
‘‘I was like, ‘I need to try and build myself something else’.
‘‘That first lockdown was when I really started taking [Bro Bike NZ] seriously,’’ Mernagh says.
He opened a workshop, repairing bikes for his now business partner Jay Laine, of Going Blue bike rentals, as well as a couple of other bike rental businesses in town.
He also sold brake pads, bleed kits, grips and a few other products before making a deal with Torpedo7 to sell wholesale.
Starting out sharing a small space in Industrial Place with Laine, they recently went full-out — they’ve even jointly opened the resort’s first remote control car racing arena, Electric Avenue.
‘‘This year, I was like, ‘stuff it, let’s go for it and open a bike shop’.’’
Despite the uncertainty of Covid, the business has gone from strength to strength.
Mernagh points out it was the brake pads that essentially paid for his part of the new space.
He’s now expanded the business to stock high-end bikes and focus on bike repairs, for which he has two full-time staff.
His immediate plans are to bring in more high-end bike brands for sale, including Pivot, Cannondale and Nukeproof.