End of an Era: Beloved Albany Bike Shop Shuts Doors After 52 Years

End of an Era: Beloved Albany Bike Shop Shuts Doors After 52 Years

Albany’s cycling community is bidding farewell to a longstanding institution as Downtube Bicycle Works, located at 466 Madison Avenue, announces its closure after an impressive 52-year run. Founder and owner Robert Fullem revealed the decision on March 6, marking the end of an era for a store that has played a pivotal role in shaping the local cycling landscape.

In 1972, Robert Fullem embarked on a journey to share his passion for cycling, initially selling bikes out of his apartment before establishing the Downtube storefront on Central Avenue.

Focused on the burgeoning 10-speed revolution, Fullem’s vision extended beyond catering solely to children and enthusiasts of English racers. The store has since been a hub for cyclists of all ages, offering an array of bikes, accessories, and gear.

Notably, Downtube Bicycle Works earned its place in the New York State Historic Business Preservation Registry in October 2022, recognizing its significant contribution to the state’s cycling heritage. The store’s legacy goes beyond being a retail outlet; it stands as a testament to the evolution of cycling trends and the enduring spirit of its founder.

Robert Fullem, now approaching 80, expressed mixed emotions about the closure, describing it as bittersweet. Citing personal reasons, including spending time in Tucson with family and engaging in other activities, Fullem decided that the time had come to bid adieu to the Madison Avenue location, which has been the heart of Downtube since 1980.

End of an Era: Beloved Albany Bike Shop Shuts Doors After 52 Years

As the final chapter unfolds, Fullem is set to sell the entire property at 466 Madison Avenue, encompassing not just the iconic bike shop but also apartments and a cafe space currently housing JA. Pequeño. The closing sale is scheduled for March 8 and 9, offering customers the last chance to grab cycling treasures as Downtube Bicycle Works prepares to shutter its doors by the end of March.

Albany’s cycling community reflects on the end of an era with the impending closure of Downtube Bicycle Works. From its humble beginnings to its recognition in the state’s historic registry, the store has been more than just a retail space; it’s been a community hub, a promoter of cycling culture, and a testament to the passion of its founder.

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As the city says its farewells, the legacy of Downtube will undoubtedly endure in the hearts and memories of those who pedaled through its doors over the past five decades.

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