Over the past 27 years, Bike Department Ost has consistently put together an incredible assortment of bikes, parts, and accessories as they've become the go-to hub for the cycling community in Leipzig, Germany. We were first introduced to BDO by our mutual friend Jambi back in 2015, and they've been carrying ILE bike bags and backpacks ever since. Check out our conversation below to learn more about BDO and their close-knit team of cycling enthusiasts:
What’s the story of Bike Department Ost?
Born back in 1996, Bike Department Ost is one of the older still privately owned shops in this area. Pioneer mountain bikes like Gary Fisher, Klein USA and Cannondale were the first brands we stocked. Back then it was all about mountain bikes and it continued like this until the mid 2000s. We stocked all the nice American mountain bike brands that we dreamt of as kids and soon after Specialized Bicycles also joined the fun.
Around 2005 a wave of new employees joined the small team around Gerd - our founder - and a handful of them are still working with us today. Also new trends have come and gone over the years - Cyclocross, Road Bike, Fixed Gear and nowadays Gravel! Currently we stock a handful of smaller brands and are dedicated to customizing or building up custom bikes as well.
What makes your shop unique?
From an inside perspective: almost all of our employees have been around for a long period of time. We are trying to create a work environment that is accessible for everyone. It is easy to get involved and be creative at work and colleagues are also friends rather than just co-workers.
From an outside view: we have a big community around us with weekly gravel-, road- and LGBTQIA+ group rides. We meet up at the shop and spend an enjoyable time on the bike together.
But that is just one side of the medal. We are not just a shop that builds up nice fancy gravel bikes - we are also a shop where a family will find a push bike for their kid and where you will get a decent touring bike. Being available for everyone in our community is one key element that we always remind ourselves of when it comes to expanding or adjusting our focus from time to time.
Everyone at BDO is crazy about cycling! We have grown over the years and these days we have a total staff of 30+ people, but we are still keeping the vibe of being your favorite local bike shop! Our staff is diverse when it comes to gender and age as well as in terms of what cycling means to them.
What ILE product stands out to you and why?
The Porteur Rackbag. It’s a basic thing but having sold it for a couple of years now, we can say for sure: it makes everyday life a bit easier. Most often we put it on commuter bikes. Not the fancy-pantsy retro mountain bike conversions, but the dynamo hub, shimano nexus hub driven everyday rides. We know this is a very German thing but when you add a child’s seat on your bike and need to get your 3-year-old kid to kindergarten, this durable, versatile bag on your pizza-rack is one thing you can get crazy about!
We love it and when people get back to you after a couple of months and tell you how they like their new, maybe a little odd set-up, it’s really a nice thing. And in a country that is all about Ortlieb pannier on the rack it looks damn sexy as well!
All photos courtesy of BDO.