Now at age 46, Morris has turned that childhood memory into his life’s work at the Freeride Bike Co. in the same building where the convenience store once was.
Morris, a fifth-generation Arizonan, got into his dad’s landscaping business, but 12 years ago, about the time he married his wife, Ashleigh, the two jumped into the bike store business. Ashleigh had become an avid rider after meeting Morris.
“We pulled the trigger and jumped in and started in our garage,” he said. “Now we’re the biggest volume dealer in Arizona and according to Trek [Bikes, a vendor], one of the best in class in the United States.”
The name Freeride comes from a type of mountain bike riding in which the cyclist blazes a trail, or when it came to the company’s beach cruisers, not really having a destination.
“It kind of fit our vibe,” Morris said.
Despite his passion for cycling, Brian said it was not really his dream to open a bike shop as his profession.
“The bike shops around here are very commercialized,” he said. “We brought a different aspect to it. We started out manufacturing and importing our own beach cruisers. And now we just sell a lot of stuff. We’re a unique bike store. We’re not a road bike shop or a mountain bike shop; we’re a true family bike shop. We cater to everybody.”
That means carrying 10-12 brands of bikes in store, rather than a more typical five or six, with access to selling from perhaps 30 brands if a customer is willing to wait, Morris said. The shop also services bikes and carries a variety of bike accessories, including its own bike basket liners.
Being a family bike shop also means customer service is especially important, Morris said, whether someone is dropping $10,000 on a specialized bike or $10 on an inner tube. He said he wants them to be a part of the family no matter how much money is being spent.
That extends to nurturing the local bike community, from teaming with municipalities on bike rodeos to sponsoring pub crawls of up to 300 people on bikes to helping get bicycles into the hands of foster children or children with special needs.
“It’s something we can do to give back to the community,” he said.
Local shop numbers
Freeride Bike Co. offers a variety of bike services.
30-50 bikes serviced per day
10,000+ bikes sold per year
30 brands available for sale
10,000 basket liners sold per year
5-6 handmade custom bikes manufactured per year
Freeride Bike Co.
3143 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.