George Allen is first and foremost a bike enthusiast and a cycling addict, but is also the proud owner of Feel Good Bicycles in Virginia, County Cavan.
April 22nd 2021 marks the four year anniversary of the opening of Feel Good Bicycles and we’d like to wish them a very happy birthday, their support helps make the Grassroots Enduro Series possible. To celebrate we had a little chat with George to find all about him, the shop and all things bikes.
Before we get stuck into Feel Good Bicycles and everything going on with that, let’s go a little further back in time. What got you so mad into cycling as a kid and what was the first make and model of your first proper bike?
I was always into anything with wheels from a very young age so I have to thank my parents for encouraging me and getting me good bikes. My Mum brought me to preschool on the back of her bicycle. My first real bike as a child was a Peugeot mountain bike that was black and pink, really cool 80s colours that I got at 4 years old. I would love to do a paint job on a modern bike inspired by it actually. I’ve been told that my dad got a tax rebate and it was the flip of a coin as to whether they got me the bike or some furniture from Ikea.
You are obviously a very keen cyclist, with a specific love for off-road and enduro biking. Is that something you have always loved doing or was it something that took a little bit of time to get into?
Mountain biking has always been my first passion when it comes to two wheels, but I have dabbled in most other areas of biking; BMX, road, leisure with the family, etc. I grew up riding the trails in the local forest on a very basic mountain bike from around 16 years old. At that stage it wasn’t the main sport for me as I was big into whitewater kayaking and then windsurfing through my teens and early twenties. After coming back from New Zealand about 9 years ago, I really got into mountain biking as my main sport and started enduro racing with the Gravity Enduro series on my Kona Cadabra enduro bike. It was a big challenge just to finish the race and not be last…These days I would be disappointed if I am not within the top ten of my age category!
Where have been some of your favourite tracks and trails for some off-road biking in
Ireland? Are there any trails that particularly stand out as the best you have been on?
We have some excellent trails here in Ireland and it is hard to pick favourites, but if I had to choose it would be places like Djouce and Carrick in the Wickow mountains along with Ravensdale in Louth. We do have some really great local trails nearby, but as they are “unofficial” for now, I can’t really mention them. We are working with Coillte to make them official however!
Feel Good Bicycles then finally opened its doors on April 18th 2017. What do you find is the most enjoyable aspect of your job on a day-to-day basis?
I love the interaction with customers, talking to happy people about bikes and finding the right bike for them. Getting out and riding a bike makes people happy so I’m delighted to be able to help with that.
If you were to describe Feel Good Bicycles to someone in a few words, what would you
A place where all are welcome, no matter who you are, what level of cycling ability you have or what bike you ride. We share and support your adventurers, goals and aspirations on two
Those who know their bike brands might know that you have a special relationship with the brand UNNO from Spain. Could you tell us a little bit about that relationship?
I have always admired the UNNO bikes since I came across them long before starting a bike shop. When they reached out to us to become the exclusive Irish dealer for the brand I jumped at the chance! They are a very exclusive and special brand who only make 50 frames of each model a year. Years of research has gone into every detail of each bike they have designed so the ride quality is just as amazing as they look. We have a demo model of the DASH for anyone interested to try and will gradually add demos of the other models over time.
For someone who has thought about getting into cycling but has not quite taken the plunge yet, why do you think cycling is an activity that everyone should participate in at some level?
Riding bikes is good for the mind, the body and the soul! There is something for everyone in the cycling world. For some people it is about fitness. For others it is about the social element of being with family and friends doing something together. But across the board one of the most underrated elements of cycling is the benefit to your mental health, regardless of the reasons for cycling in the first place. So many people after getting a bike tell me that it’s “Good for the head” and that’s why they enjoy it so much.
And finally, if people want to get in touch to learn more about you, Feel Good Bicycles or have questions about cycling just generally, where can they find you?
When restrictions allow, anyone can call into the shop here in Virginia, Co. Cavan but we are also online with our brand new website feelgoodbicycles.ie and active on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you follow our social media you’ll see me each week doing the ‘Friday Five’ which is a short video about 5 things happening in the shop or the wider cycling community that week. Also, to celebrate Feel Good Bicycles turning 4, we are running some giveaways when you purchase any bike or bike accessories from the website.
Check out feelgoodbicycles.ie for more information about this limited time offer!