Craig TamburelloBrick Alley Bikes Owner Craig Tamburello has turned his lifelong cycling passion into a professional pursuit. Photo courtesy of Craig Tamburello.
From the moment Craig Tamburello started BMX racing at the tender age of nine, cycling was his sport — and his lifestyle.
“It kept me healthy and in great condition for any other sports I was playing,” Tamburello said. “I fell in love with the toys, the parts and pieces that made up the bike as a whole.”
After venturing into road and mountain biking as a teen, Tamburello naturally gravitated to the local bike shops, which led him to his first job, and an industry mentor who helped him learn about the business aspect of cycling.
“I have made bicycles a lifestyle,” Tamburello said. “Not only is it a great means to staying healthy, but it also offers less stress on the back and joints of our bodies. There are just so many positives to this form of exercise.”
Drawing from this experience with an eye to improving upon the large bike shop model, Tamburello opened Brick Alley Bicycles in June 2011. The full-service bicycle repair and retail store distinguishes itself from other shops by specializing in niche brands, repairs and custom builds.
Tamburello says his “service first” model is also reflected in the business name.
“The name, Brick Alley Bicycles, reminded me of growing up with my grandparents in Ensley. I really liked the historical value of the city, its brick alley driveways, alleyways, and brick and mortar buildings. There is definitely a bit of ‘old school’ appeal with the name. When I first said it, I knew it was the right one!”
With close to 30 years of experience in the bicycle industry, Tamburello’s contagious enthusiasm for the sport makes his shop an ideal destination for both novice and experienced cyclists alike.
“I am here to customize and personalize the experience, not just sell a product,” Tamburello said. “Along my pathway in the industry, I’ve studied the technology, function and evolution of these products. Because I’m entrenched in the market, I can make informed recommendations for both the serious enthusiast and the beginner level rider.”
Indeed. Just recently, one of his customers rediscovered a 1984 Benotto in his garage that Tamburello helped him restore.
“It had deteriorated and started to rust on the exposed chrome finished parts,” said Tamburello, who broke the bike completely down, cleaned all the parts and removed as much rust as possible. “My goal is to restore it to a like new finish and to rekindle that image and emotional energy the customer once had with his bike.”