11: Peter Buhl and Ian Christie: A Bike Specialty Retailer Goes Mobile and MultiChannel – Summit Bicycles and Beeline

We continue to learn every day from our interactions with Ian and his team. That informs us on where we need to take the software from a developer perspective, adding new features, making the system better. It’s definitely a partnership.

– Peter Buhl


 Today’s connected bike consumer expects seamless, frictionless access to goods and services. This consumer expects access to goods and services where they want, when they want and how they want. Today’s episode is how two businesses are working independently – and together – to provide just that.

I speak with Pete Buhl and Ian Christie, of Beeline Bikes and Summit Bicycles, respectively, on how they’re learning from one another to make their platforms stronger and just plain better for their customers. Plus, we learn how Ian is leveraging the new mobile aspect of his business (via Beeline) to strengthen his online and brick and mortar channels. It’s a perfect example of not only how to expand channels, but also why a multi-channel retail business is mandatory for survival today.



Pete has over 20 years of experience as an operating executive and venture investor. Prior to founding Beeline Bikes, Pete was COO of AppCentral, where he helped build and refocus of the company, resulting in a successful acquisition. Past operating roles spanned financial services software, enterprise data networking and security, and enterprise mobility. Pete spent 12 years as a co-founding partner at BlueRun Ventures (and its predecessor, Nokia Venture Partners), and as an active investor in early-stage enterprise and consumer technology companies.


As founder and CEO of Summit Bicycles, as well as a Beeline Bikes franchisee, Christie is a vocal advocate for increased participation in cycling. He is a founding member of The 20 Collective, a cycling industry organization aimed at getting more people on bikes. The basis of his success lies in his unyielding commitment to creating happy customers and demonstrating genuine care for their experience and outcome. “I can’t tell you how many times a customer’s face goes into shock when I just ask them, ‘What can I do to make you happy?’ Walls come down and trust is built.” (Quote courtesy of TMG Blog.)


collaboration between retailers and service providers, experience-driven service, remarkable customer service, providing choice to consumers, affiliate marketing and sales, incorporating mobile channels with brick and mortar, building scalable tools and solutions, capitalizing on the new opportunities of adding new channels,


Ian: Where the market seemed to be going not only with consumer expectations, but also in how people buy bikes, and how bikes are being delivered, (franchising with Beeline) seemed like a phenomenal way to really corner my market and dominate it in every aspect.

Pete: We invest the vast majority of our time, effort and dollars on providing a scalable solution to our franchise partners.

Pete: How do you make it a great experience for the customer from the scheduling and sign-up process? (What tools do we need) to make it work in a very operationally efficient mode in a scalable way?

Ian: That was a key factor into getting us new customers: not stealing service from within our stores for our existing customers. I have seen other colleagues do that, where they’re not bringing in new traffic, they’re just offering a service for the ones that already coming in store.

Pete: It’s all about capturing that customer information so that you can provide increasingly enhanced services to them.

Ian: There are little nuggets that seem to be everywhere as we go through this partnership, and we learn how to handle the growth and the understanding of how our customers use this tool in different ways.

Pete: (on how “test rides” are a generational desire): I think the younger consumers and the new consumers that want to consume online are much more comfortable buying something online. It’s up to the brands and the product companies to really do a good job articulating to the consumer what they want in the bike.

Ian: For us bringing on Beeline, we’ve started to look at our business and the difference sides as our online business grows. We have really almost four different businesses that are really different than each other, and we need to market the approaches and think about them in different ways.

Pete:  We continue to learn every day from our interactions with Ian and his team. That informs us on where we need to take the software from a developer perspective, adding new features, making the system better. It’s definitely a partnership.


Beeline Bikes:  https://beelinebikes.com/

Summit Bicycles: http://www.summitbicycles.com/

The 20 Collective: http://20collective.org/

Connect with Pete on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterbuhl/

Connect with Ian on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ian-christie-a850ab55/


Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (August 9, 2017) “Beeline Bikes to Open 25 New Mobile Shops,”   

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