City Cycle owner keeps business local

(Source: Drew Johnson)
(Source: Drew Johnson)
(Source: Only in Ogden)
(Source: Only in Ogden)
(Source: Only in Ogden)

Drew Johnson, owner of City Cycle, has worked in the bicycling industry for 35 years. When his desire to live in a more bike-friendly place with less crime and with mountains met the bike boom currently taking place in Ogden, he sold his house in Jacksonville, Fla., and headed west.

Now a resident of Ogden, Johnson said, “You have the mountains and trails. There is so many bike groups here, it’s incredible.”

Johnson said he first became involved with the cycling industry 35 years ago when he was the only one at his high school who didn’t have a car. He frequented a local bike shop to get parts for his bike and other bikes he restored from the trash, and it eventually led to a job within the shop. This job led to him working for a distributor of bicycles and eventually working for The Cannondale Bicycle Corporation.

After years of working with shops and distributors, Johnson decided it was time he opened his own store in Jacksonville.

“At the same time, I wanted to move west,” he said. “I wanted to experience living in a more bike-friendly community.”

Johnson said Jacksonville had the second-most bicycle fatalities in the U.S. last year, and in 2011 a study rated it the worst city in the U.S. for cycling.

“(Jacksonville is) just not really supporting that healthy lifestyle,” he said. “Jacksonville has zero budget for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. You know, it’s all about cars there. It made no sense for me to be a bike nut (and) to live in the worst city in the U.S. for cycling. I started looking at a list of, like, ‘what are the top 20 cities for cycling?’ and Salt Lake was always on the list . . . But Ogden was definitely up and coming, becoming a hot spot for the U.S. for bicycles.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, bicycling doesn’t just benefit the health of the rider; it also reduces traffic congestion during peak travel times and reduces fossil fuel use, which in turn reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. As the trend of going green has found its way to the mainstream, more cyclists have found their way to the roads of Ogden.

Johnson said he knows that some still have a negative attitude toward cyclists because some cyclists don’t follow proper regulations in place for cycling.

“A bicycle is the exact same as a car: You stop at red lights, you stop at stop signs, you ride on the right-hand side of the road, you signal your turns,” he said.

According to’s “Science of Cycling,” “a bicycle can be up to five times more efficient than walking. If we compare the amount of calories burned in bicycling to the number of calories an automobile burns, the difference is astounding. One hundred calories can power a cyclist for three miles, but it would only power a car 280 feet.”

Johnson said that in his time in Florida, he was involved a lot with the University of Florida, and he often saw college students coming into shops with cheaper-quality bikes that end up requiring more fixing and additional money to keep them functioning properly.

“You’re better off to buy a good used bike than buy a cheap new bike that’s not gonna suit your needs,” he said.

Ogden has long been known as a city that strives to keep business local, with growing farmers markets and many other opportunities for communal interaction and business. Johnson too is keeping his business local.

“I hired a local person to do my website, I’ve got a local printing place that’s doing my T-shirts and my printing now . . . I’ve got a local real estate person to do my house and a local mortgage person to do my mortgage,” he said. “So I definitely like doing business with people who are doing business with me. You have a wonderful thing here — let’s keep it this way.”