Three for Thursday: Glory Cycles

Free high-end workshop with HD TV, access to all tools and free beer

How would you like to work on your bike in a professional shop, using their high-end tools and workstands while watching how-to videos or pro racing on a huge flatscreen TV? Oh, and what if free snacks, coffee and beer was part of the deal? Sound good? Clive de Sousa thought so, and his Glory Cycles shop in Greenville, South Carolina offers exactly that.

De Sousa’s road to Glory Cycles is an interesting one, beginning as a racer in South Africa and then traveling through ownership of record stores in Africa and the United States.

De Sousa raced bikes in the 1990s for a few smaller South African teams, even serving as a lead-out man for Robbie Hunter in the early part of his career. During the period South Africans were banned from international competition, de Sousa raced in Europe on Australian or British licenses.

Customers can work on their own bikes at Glory Cycles

“But I could not cut it as a racer went back to South Africa and bought a record store,” he said.

He later immigrated to the US and bought a record store in Orlando, Florida, just before the Internet transformed the music industry and his business dropped.

“So I decided to call on some of my old Euro and South African racing connections to get me selling bikes online, ’cause you can't download them,” he said.

Glory originally opened in 2001 in Orlando, and was reborn in 2011 in Greenville, which de Sousa calls “bike central,” with his shop downtown near Hincapie Sports and Boyd Wheels. Now de Sousa plans to open a second shop in Seattle, Washington.

1. What's the coolest thing in your shop? The workshop

“Our workshop is what all cyclist who have ever worked on their own bikes dream of,” de Sousa said. “Every imaginable tool, free coffee, beer and snacks, iPad connected big screen for how to mechanical videos or the latest racing. Open and free for anyone to use at our Greenville location and soon to have another one open in Seattle.”

2. What is your current bestseller? Argon 18 E118 SRAM Red TT Bike

While Glory Cycles has a high-end brick-and-mortar store, its online sales account for 80 percent of the business. De Sousa said that Glory ships bikes all over the world, with Australia, Brazil and Japan being hot spots.

When we talked to De Sousa in February, the Argon 18 E118 SRAM Red TT Bike was his top seller.

3. What product are you personally lusting after or loving right now? Custom ENVE wheels

Lucky for De Sousa, building up a luxury wheelset is what Glory Cycles does every day. For the owner, the particular spec of choice is a ENVE 3.4 set of rims laced to the new DT Swiss 240s straight-pull hubs with silver spokes and dressed in tan-wall Vittoria Corsa EVO tubulars.

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