The owner of a Shockoe Bottom bike shop is shifting gears.
Glenn Amey is preparing to close Shift Bicycles at 113 N. 18th St. to open Journeyman’s Adventure Co. next door.
Amey first opened Shift in 2016 as a shop specializing in serving commuters, families and tandem riders. With Journeyman’s, he’ll focus on carrying bikes and equipment designed for long-distance and adventure riding.
A VCU alum with over two decades’ experience as a jeweler, Amey was introduced to long-distance bicycling in middle school when his mother took him on an overnight trip along the C&O Canal Towpath: a roughly 100-mile path from Williamsport, Maryland to Washington, D.C.
“I was so mad and unhappy that I just put on Iron Maiden’s ‘Piece of Mind’ on my Walkman the entire ride,” Amey said. “I wasn’t ready for it then, but it did hit me later.”
Amey would go on to ride across the country, the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, around the Dolomites in Italy and other treks. He said before opening Shift, he never considered bikes as being a career.
“Bicycling has always been something that was primary in my life, but I didn’t see it as an opportunity for a career. It was just what I did,” he said.
At Shift, Amey often would get customers who were riding in from out of town, looking for touring-specific items. Eventually, he decided to switch the concept to Journeyman’s Adventure Co.
“The concept is arriving somewhere by bike, and the adventure and discovery that comes with it,” Amey said of the new shop.
He said he may someday look to stock Journeyman’s with camping and other outdoors gear, but for now he’s planning to have it be mostly a bike shop.
Journeyman’s will be about 2,200 square feet, a jump up from Shift’s 600-square-foot space. Amey, who owns the buildings, said the Shift space will be vacant. Journeyman’s will open in a space formerly occupied by bars 25 Watt and Mars Bar.
37 Ideas is the architect of the new space, and Cabell Harris of Work Labs is the designer.
Amey and Harris are in-laws, as Amey is married to Harris’ niece. Harris said he offered to help after hearing Amey talk passionately about the idea.
“I said to him, ‘Have you considered that the world doesn’t need another bike shop? What you’re talking about is an adventure company,’” Harris said. “With the propping, what I’m trying to do is help bring the outdoors into the indoors, bring more nature in there, have it be more whimsical than a hard gear-head type of shop.”
Amey aims to open Journeyman’s by early September and said he’ll have quite a different perspective on bikes than he did when he was a pre-teen.
“These are adventure machines that position you for the unknown. You’ll go out just for a ride, an eagle goes over your head! That’s the beauty of it,” Amey said. “And maybe nothing happens, but you don’t go out to look for these grand things. They fall into your lap or they don’t.”