Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One on One Studio

Inevitably, when the cycling discussion turns to which shops "do it right," One on One Studio is always mentioned. For years, I've heard about the magic going down in Minnesota and often the buzz is hitched to One on One (OoO). If you were a mountain biker in the late 80s or early 90s, then you have heard of the shop's founder, Gene Oberpriller. Gene is as much a part of early mountain bikes as Tioga's tension disk and Suntour XC PRO. Through his years in the sport, the industry, and the city of Minneapolis, Gene understands his clientele and the local cycling scene. In a word, Gene gets the importance of creating a community environment. With so much talk about the bike scene in Minneapolis, it was time for BKW to hit the road again, this time in an effort to get some One on One time.

As I stepped foot into the shop, I was greeted by the creak of the worn wooden floors and the growl of an espresso machine's milk steamer. To my right sat a row of tables and a couple sharing a bowl of soup. Upon first glance, I had to wonder: Where are the bikes?

The shop is divided into three distinct areas: the coffee and sandwich bar, the studio, and the service area. Each section acts as a stand-alone space. As I passed through the sweet aroma of the daily brew and then through the bike inventory, I landed in the service area that buzzed with activity. To my right, running the full length of the space, rested every incarnation of Bianchi's single speed MTB and to my left, was a wall of printed memorabilia and current events. Upon my arrival in the service area, new inventory was being diligently entered into the database and repairs were underway.

One on One is a curious mix of coffee shop, bike shop, ecelctic art gallery, and junkyard; a bit of a museum of useful things, if you will. In many ways, One on One is the bike room that you dream of and, to a cyclist who loves Bridgestone and its history, this shop just can't be missed. Herein lies the evidence that Gene knows a thing or two about what makes a cyclist tick: sweet machines, all the tools you could imagine, never-a-bad-cuppa espresso machine, cool art, and all the keepsakes from your years of racing. What more could a cyclist want?

A walk through OoO:

When I first entered the door, I turned around and resting above the front door is Gene's orange X0-1 from '93, the very bike Gene rode to victory at the famous Chequamegon 40. This piece of history remains outfitted with all the bells and whistles from the era: a Softride suspension stem, Shimano 737 SPDs, moustache bars, and even an orange Silca frame pump. For a rainy October day, the shop was alive with the sights and sounds of a traditional bike shop.

Light Fare
The first third of the shop is a fully functioning coffee house, complete with artwork and a menu of delicious items. The coffee is excellent, the treats fresh, and the soup is good enough that you'd be proud to call it your own. Sandwiches round out the menu and prove that One on One is good for more than replacing a broken spoke.

The Studio
Gene's studio portion of the shop displays bicycles as the works of art that they are. Featured on waterfall type racks, each model is represented only once. Here, there's no "big box" approach where the inventory is spilling out of every nook. Whenever I visit a shop where the bike display emphasizes the bicycle itself, I'm reminded of how beautifully simple the bicycle is, and how it's certainly worthy of the prime space above your fireplace. The "studio" feel of Gene's shop is the idyllic backdrop for the aesthetic beauty of a Bianchi, and whether it's the pedigree of their high-end road machines or the smooth swoop of the Bergamo's handle bars, One on One provides the right canvas for these masterpieces.

The service area is located in the rear of the building, which provides those seeking service with a direct alley entrance. This area was the gem of my entire experience and I spent the majority of my time closely eyeing it's very facets: cabinets housing both old and new bike components and frames, CD collections, historic machines, and a selection of handlebars that would make a stem rattle with excitement. Among the treasures I uncovered was an old velvet lamp, a fallback to the edifice's previous life as a sizzling "massage parlor".

The Basement
Words can not do justice to describe Gene's basement. Floor to ceiling. Wall to wall. Get yourself to Minneapolis and see it for yourself.

One on One Studio is an unparalleled and unprecedented shop for the cyclist who relies on his machine for transportation, livelihood, or just plain 'ol mental wellness. With all the cycling-centric activities offered in Minneapolis, it would be easy to time your visit to catch a handful of memorable cycling events both on and off the bike, year 'round.

One on One Studio
117 Washington Ave N. - Warehouse District
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: 612.371.9565


Anonymous said...

I love the shot of the bikes and trophy heads. I can't always get my head around the idea of cycling and hunting existing in the same person. I wish I could figure out a safe way to carry my rifle on my cross bike. The hard part is what do you haul out of the woods first, the deer or the bike?


Ron George said...

wow, i've yet to see a bike shop made with so much thought. these days, some bike shops are really just messy, little spaces clogged with bikes and there is no apparent organization to anything.

Bobke Strut said...

You saved me the trouble of writing up my own One on One experience when I visitied Minneapolis for a conference. I was the first customer in the door for several mornings as soon as the coffee shop opened. It was my dose of serenity and sanity before I embarked on my all-day conference regimen. I ordered an espresso, read the Felice Gimondi biography (which was autographed by the legend himself), and sat only a few feet away from this. I came back one time when the whole shop was open and Gene gave me a history of Bianchi motorworks, something which I hadn't realized existed. I also was impressed with the trio of Bridgestones over the entrance (the X0-1, MB-0, RB-1), each of which must have some incredible stories revolving around them.

ira said...

i had a chance to check out one on one last summer on a tour through the midwest. amazing! the history of all the bikes in that place is incredible. the studio was in flux from a art show performance the weekend before but the shop space was thick with a greasy patina that could only be achieved through numerous afterhours wrenching sessions. this is what makes this shop a SHOP. it is not just a boutique but a functioning shop that keeps the bikes on the road in a great city like minneapolis. thanks to gene and one on one for continuing to be a legend in the midwest cycling community.

Krispy said...

Hahaha! No way!

Well, thank you for the Minneapolis love. We Minnesotan cyclists are proud of our state, our winter and most importantly, our bike shops!

I personally love One on One not only due to the atmosphere and great selection of products (both used and new) but also because they support the local college cycling team (the University of Minnesota Gopher squad).

If you're looking for another great Minneapolis based shop, you should check out Freewheel! I actually have been lucky enough that I work there at the Midtown location (there are two).

You might of heard of us from a certain politician who named us the biggest waste of federal money in awhile ;) But if you're looking for some good discussion, great products and a great ride (we're accessible mainly by the Greenway) stop on by!



Flat-N-Fast said...

Makes me want to own a bike shop!

Faris said...

Holy crap, how is that I, a native Minnesotan never heard of this joint LOL. I guess that is what comes from growing up in the burbs. In Richfield it was all about the Penn Cycle or Erik's Bike shop (course when I first went to Erik he was wrenching out of the garage at his Dad's house)! Guess next time I am in town I will have to swing by and check it out.

Tarik Saleh said...


I hit the shop in July, it was good. I took more pics of the basement, see report and all the pics.

I am sad I did not have more time to go spelunking, have coffee or check out the shop more. Next time...

Anonymous said...

I go by that neighborhood frequently, but never new One on One was there. I'll definitely make the stop next time in Minneapolis. Thanks!

Ron George said...

Wait a minute, this can't be your latest post. I commented on here exactly an year ago! Are you reviving these posts, because a lot of people are wondering if you're still interested in writing.

Btw, I just love Gene's basement full of bikes.

Bluenoser said...

Happy New Year.


Wog said...

I'm going into withdrawal...more posts please :-)=