Jeff Chaffin, owner of Bikeland, is most happy when he is on his bike. In fact, he logged 10,000 miles on his bicycle just last year.
Chaffin said he was a typical kid growing up—he would ride his bicycle all over town. His increased passion for bicycles started one summer when he was 13 years old when he worked for his grandmother.
"Biking was something I loved to do, and I would bike for miles a day," he said.
After earning some money one summer, Chaffin said, he went straight to the Schwinn shop and spent a chunk of his money on a custom bike that cost around $500. When he went home and told his dad what he did, his dad went down to the bike shop to tell the owner his son could not keep the bicycle. Ultimately, Chaffin ended up with it.
Throughout the past 30 years, Chaffin has been involved in BMX, road and mountain bike racing experiences.
Cycling was a hobby, but this entrepreneur-at-heart knew it was only a matter of time before he decided to take that hobby to the next level.
"Everything you do in life prepares you for the next thing you do in life," Chaffin said.
While an engineer with Hydril, Chaffin wanted to put his skills, which included retail in high school, to use.
"So I decided to quit a perfectly good career and went for it," he said.
Eleven years later, Chaffin has expanded and remodeled the bike shop a couple of times, and he knows he made the right choice.
"I like being my own boss," he said. "I don't have much of a commute to work and I can use my cycling experience as well as retail, so it is really a good blend."
Chaffin has considered adding a second Bikeland location in the back of The Woodlands, but he has yet to pedal that way. He also has aspirations of opening a store in Colorado and spending his time there during the Houston summers.
Chaffin has differentiated Bikeland from other bike stores by acquiring a professional certification in bike-fitting. Known as Fit Institute Slowtwitch, or FIST, just 50 people in the world have been certified, he said. Now he is a UBI certified bicycle technician.
At the beginning of the business, Chaffin said he wished he had known more about the slim profit margins in the bike industry.
"Only the best survive, so it's a tough industry to hold suite in," he said. "I am constantly having to modify my business plan."
When Chaffin is not at the shop, he is riding 300 miles per week on his bicycle along with his 7-year-old son, who often accompanies him on 27-mile rides.
"I like growing the sport of biking and getting people into a healthy way of life," he said. "It is important for people to be active and outdoors."
Bikeland takes part in a variety of regular bike rides around the community. Weekly rides are held every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. beginning at the Starbucks Coffee at Lake Woodlands Drive and Pinecroft Drive. There are 20-mile and 60-mile rides.
Mountain bike rides are held at Cypresswood Trail, Huntsville State Park and Double Lake from 4.5 to 10.5 miles.
The most expensive bicycle in the shop is a specialized Shiv called the Di2 that features electronic components and can range in price from $400 to $15,000. The one at Bikeland is $15,000, owner Jeff Chaffin said. He also owns one himself, along with several other bikes.
19189 I-45 N., Shenandoah, 281-362-9253, www.bikelandusa.com
Hours: Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun. 1–5 p.m.