From its passionate but humble beginnings as the “bike department” of a local vintage clothing store, Ozone Bike Department, has been a fixture on the same city block of the Austin, Texas bike scene for some 20 years.
“I love bikes,” says Vytis Vardis, Ozone owner. “This is my life. If you don’t love bikes you can’t sell them and this is I’ve always done and what I always knew I would do with my life.”
Vardis has been building, fixing, riding or selling bikes since he was eight, when he was making $2.50 a bike to assemble one.
That grew into a passion for BMX, as a kid, then road riding in the 80’s and on to mountain biking. There isn’t a saddle Vardis he hasn’t sat on. It’s that passion for and ease with all things bike that permeates Ozone and makes you feel comfortable from the minute you walk in ‘til you leave.
“In Austin, Kona means Ozone,” says Vardis. “There’s something about Kona dealers that are different from other bike dealers. We’ve got that Kona tribe vibe. Things are possible here.”
Ozone recently renovated and expanded its shop at 32nd and Guadalupe Street by some 1500 square feet. Sales staff know more than a thing or two about bikes and their cadre of highly skilled, creative mechanics love to work on anything you bring their way. At Ozone, they’ll do whatever it takes to get you out on two wheels, including closing the shop from time to time on a Monday or Friday afternoon to take in a ride.
Favourite ride: The Greenbelt
VV’s Last ride: The Greenbelt – “Rode a Kona 2 x 2. It’s hot. I’m trying to ride the wheels off them.” VV regularly commutes to work on a Paddy wagon.
Best coffee in town: Little City
Best bakery: Upper Crust
Best music venue: Stubb’s BBQ
Favourite music: Bad Brain
Current read: Xmas list
Biking advice: “Don’t loan your bike to boys”
Ozone Bike Department
Owners Vytis and Sally Vardis
Austin, Texas, USA 78705