Mellow Johnny’s

18 08 2008

There are a couple of East Austin bicycle shops, but we haven’t had the best of luck with them. It’s great to support your local bicycle shop, but sometimes they don’t have some of the things you are looking for. My left crank arm was stripped during a ride Sunday and I needed to get it replaced. I am no stranger to bike shops — in Austin, and elsewhere — and sometimes the service isn’t the best, so it has always been surprising that all of our visits to Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny’s have been great. For instance, we bought one of their Timbuk2 bags with a white star on it, and after a couple of months, the white star was peeling off. We didn’t have a receipt or anything but they replaced it, no questions asked.

So I went to get the crank arm replaced, took a few pictures, and sat down while I waited. I ended up having a half-hour conversation with the tech about some of the most random topics. He was very friendly and was very helpful when I asked him questions about my bike. The prices where reasonable and they had a lot of cool products for sale and on display. For you fixed riders, they have everything from pink drops to a Cinelli track frame. All of your wheel needs can be met by the highly desirable Aerospoke wheels or Velocity’s Deep-V’s.  They also have a pretty decent selection of townie style bikes like Gary Fisher’s Simple City. We are looking into one of those, as it sports a three-speed internal rear hub that will make the hills of Austin a little more bearable. Not only is there a wide selection of bike gear, but they also have a nice selection of accessories, such as the aforementioned Timbuk2 bags, and Nixon watches, something we were looking for and had yet to find anywhere in Austin.

Also, Mellow Johnny’s seems to be giving a lot to the community. They have classes on the weekend to teach cyclist how to preform simple maintenance work. If you work in downtown, you can actually store your bike, get a day locker and use their shower facilities for a small $1.00 charge. On top of this, they also have a coffee shop inside name Juan Pelota. If you  can speak Spanish and you also know that Lance Armstrong is a cancer survivor, you can put two and two together for the inside joke. The name Mellow Johnny actually comes from Lance Armstrong himself. He mispronounced the French name for the Yellow jersey, Maillot jaune, which he has worn on many occasions.

According to this map, it’s technically not in East Austin, and it even isn’t on the east side of Congress avenue, but it’s a short bike ride away for some of the best service in town.

click image for slide show




13 responses

18 08 2008
Messenger Of Doom

Juan Pelota = John Ball? I don’t get it. I know he had testicular cancer, so I get the ‘Ball’ bit…

18 08 2008

Sometimes people kinda relate Juan and One. Like that Mexican joint on C. Chavez Street. Juan in a Million. Or this fine work..

So he only has Juan (one) Pelota (ball). Still cracks me up.

Or even this, from

juan on juan

When one mexican or beaner plays another mexican in basketball, this is considered to be “juan on juan”

“Hey Julio, do you wanna go get a burrito with me then play some juan on juan?”

Im actually Mexican and I don’t find it offensive…for future reference.

18 08 2008

Where is Mellow Johnny’s? Also, do you happen to know if the manager is from Columbia, MO? I met a woman back home who was about to move to Austin because her husband got a job managing a bike shop…

18 08 2008
Messenger Of Doom

Search google for “mellow johnny’s”… click result no.1… scroll to bottom of page.

You’re welcome 😀

18 08 2008
Messenger Of Doom

Re: ‘Juan Pelota’. Ah, I see now – thanks. When I put ‘Juan Pelota’ into Google Translate, it gave me “John Ball” :-@

18 08 2008

I just updated the post to a link to mellow johnnys on google maps. Here is the address… 400 NUECES • AUSTIN, TEXAS. Also, messenger of doom is way ahead of me… 🙂

Im not sure who the manager is honestly, I spoke to a couple of bike tech’s and a woman who seemed to be in charge of stock maybe? Not sure. It seems like a nice gig to be working there. I secretly want to be a bike tech because I love bikes so much… I am really jealous.

Yeah… Juan Pelota… that was pretty funny. It’s great to see someone not take themselves too seriously.

19 08 2008

Hey…Matt and I went yesterday after snooping on your Flickr account. Pretty cool place. Awesome gear…a girl could go broke in there. Matt had read about the store when it first opened in some magazine. He said the shop is in the basement and there are dumbwaiters for the bikes. Oh…and the building is on some historic registry or something.

…and you’re right about working there. I’d love to barista it up at that place: “Juan shot of espresso or two?”

20 08 2008
Messenger Of Doom

Similar idea to MJ’s in New Zealand – Bike Central. Although they don’t sell bikes.

24 08 2008

east austinite?

what does that name mean? not much, i suppose. mellow johnny’s ain’t on the eastside, obviously…frankly, i don’t know if i respect lance all that much. sure, he’s an awesome athlete, fought cancer successfully, and opened a bike shop that is supposed to be geared towards commuting cyclists. well, i guess that’s dandy if you happen to be rather well-heeled to be able to afford the stuff they’ve got in there. i mean the guy has so much money that he can’t keep track of it. read the story in the Statesman about how mr. one nut’s house used 222,000 gallons of water during the month of june (normal residential usage is 8500 gallons). did he not read the water bill? so anyhow, i really wonder how much of the bike shop “concept” is really lance’s idea or just one of the projects he can just throw a bunch of money at to make happen.
i encourage the writer of this post and the commenters to go to a shop on the easrside, longhorn bikes on caesar chavez or pedal pushers on 6th; you might even meet the owners of respective shops–try meeting lance at mellow johns.

24 08 2008

first of all.. thanks for responding. the best part of being able to comment on a blog is that everyone gets an equal say. everyones opinions matter.

now for our thoughts.. well, we don’t really have an opinion one way or the other regarding mr. armstrong. this post really wasn’t meant as a sign of affection towards lance. we are talking about the shop and the people who work there. we didn’t praise that place as “mr. armstrong this.. mr. armstrong that”.. we said “mellow johnnys” and we don’t go to a bike shop expecting to see the owner, we go to get what we are looking for. we’ve been to a lot of bike shops.. and those include those from all parts of austin, as we mentioned above, and we’ve experienced everything from downright rudeness, to being completely ignored, to being sold extra parts we didn’t need, and getting a part that we needed but not having the tools that where needed to get it off. none of which we’ve experienced during the several visits to mellow johnny’s. granted, we couldn’t afford to buy a bike there unless we saved our pennies for quite some time, but for parts, random gear, and window shopping, we like the place. and since we try to keep things positive around here, we thought we’d pass on the good experiences we’ve had there instead of complaining about the bad experiences we’ve had in other shops. yes, it’s not on the east side, but it’s only a bike ride away. we mention all sorts of things that aren’t exactly in the 78702 zip code but since we love biking, if it’s within a bike ride away… then it’s something we might include.

once again, thanks for your thought. all of our readers are encouraged to make their own opinions and to see what works best for them. if you know of a shop in east austin that you have had a good experience with, write something up and we would be glad to post it up. If you look above, you will see a tab that says contribute. anyone is free to contribute.. thanks!

19 09 2008

I have to agree with this post. I live on the eastside and I try to do everything as close to home as possible. I have used Pedal Pushers many times and have them do my normal maint work. But their selection and aquisition times are not always timely enough for what I need to get rolling again.
I first went into Mellow Johnny’s thinking it would be snooty and expensive. But as this review pointed out the people were extremely helpful and nice. I also found the prices to be the same as other bike shops in town. Also, the workers went out of their way to sell me the lowest priced item that would work for me.
So, I still go to Pedal Pushers, but if they are not able get me what I need, I go to my next goto local bike shop Mellow Johnny’s.

22 10 2008

Went to PP’s three times, no more. They were pretty dickish and short with me each occasion. I guess they prefer to deal with hipsters who started riding bikes in the last ten fashionable minutes. If MJ’s really is more expensive, then just consider that upcharge to cover the friendly service you’re not getting on East 6th.

31 10 2008

the other day while playing with my pooches, i threw the tennis ball over the fence into my neighbor’s yard… i headed next door where they’re doing a lot of construction and asked if i could look around for the ball. the gentleman working there only spoke spanish so we went back and forth naming different types of balls so he could help me find what i was looking for. finally he said “pelota” and i was like, “si! si!” remembering lance’s sole testicle cafe name.

i didn’t find the tennis ball but it’s not every day you can thank someone for naming their coffee shop after their manparts. er, manpart.

that being said, i stopped into pedal pushers the other day for the first time and they were sweet. they have a cute pup there too so that is always is for happy making. i do not fit the hipster look (in fact, i think i was probably wearing mom jeans and mccain t-shirt. ok, jk on the mccain bullshiz) and was feeling a little intimidated, but then it was ok! 🙂

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