We wanted to learn a little bit more about the community surrounding Brooklyn Bicycle Co. bikes, so we created a section of our journal dedicated to some of the people we’ve been fortunate to call our customers.
Each month we feature a different member of the Brooklyn Bicycle Co. community and share what makes them tick.
Read on to learn about the most recent member of our community spotlight...
OTTO BOHN, OWNER, SPOKEN BICYCLES
Where is Spoken Bicycles located and explain some of your favorite things about the community surrounding your shop?
Spoken Bicycles is located in downtown Middletown, OH. Middletown is located basically right in the ‘middle’ of Cincinnati and Dayton, two larger cities in Ohio, and it really is a great location because we are close to both cities. Although I’m not originally from this area, I love being a part of this downtown which has been in the process of a great revitalization. In the past couple of years over 30 new businesses have opened, and I’m honored to be one of these businesses.
Tell us about Spoken Bicycles. How did you get started and what drew you into the bike industry?
I actually started Spoken Bicycles in 2016 as a mobile shop. At the time I was still working at a shop in Cincinnati, but my wife and I had moved to Middletown for her job. There hadn’t been a bike shop in town for a while, so I started Spoken as a mobile shop to bring bike service to the area. It had always been on my mind that I wanted to open a full shop of my own, and after moving to Middletown and seeing everything happening downtown I knew this town is where I wanted to open. From there it was really just waiting for the right space and when it became available we went for it.
I would have to say I accidentally fell into the bike industry. I was a soccer player growing up and played through college at the University of Notre Dame. I started biking more in college to cross train in the summer, then when I was done playing soccer I got into triathlon. After a few years of that I quickly realized biking was the best part of triathlon and switched over to just riding and racing bikes. I found a great shop to ride with, Element Cycles, which is where I started working part time mostly to learn how to work on my own bike. One thing led to another and soon I was working there full time.
What makes Spoken unique?
Spoken Bicycles is unique because we are a full service bike shop that also features a craft beer and cocktail bar in it. That is one of the reasons I wanted to open in Middletown - I knew that there were liquor licenses available and having a bar in the shop was in the plan from the beginning. It really sets us apart and enhances the shop. When we have a group ride, people hang out afterwards for a beer. The bar brings it a whole different group of people that like to hangout because they know we have good beer and cocktails, and it definitely helps in the winter time since cycling can be a three season sport in Ohio.
How is your shop involved in your local community? Do you offer community impact programs and/or events for local residents?
One of the first things I wanted to do when we opened was bring more active activities to downtown. So, we offer the Weekly 5k and the Weekly Road Ride. The Weekly 5k is our running group that meets every Tuesday and all are welcome - runners, walkers, etc. We have a GREAT group. The Weekly Road Ride (which becomes the Weekly Trainer Ride in the winter) is for our cyclists every Thursday night. We have a road ride option and a bike path option, so again, anyone is welcome no matter what level they ride at. We also try to be involved in all of the downtown events that happen, like First Fridays, and this year we helped start the first Pride event downtown Middletown has ever had, which was centered around a Pride Ride.
What are some stereotypes you are hoping to help break in the bike industry?
I think sometimes the bike industry can have an ‘elitist’ stereotype. We are totally against that and try to avoid that in every aspect of the shop. In the service department, we work on any and all bikes ranging from a $100 kids bike to a $5000 racing bike. On the sales side of the store, we try to be helpful in any way we can and unintimidating. For example, if someone is looking for a bike that might be below the budget we offer, we still try to help and point them in the right direction - even if that means we might not get the sale. Lastly, our shop cyclocross team, The Optimists, lives by the slogan #alwaysoptimistic and the only real requirement to be on the team is to be respectful of all riders and racers. We don’t care that much about winning, but more about having fun out there.
Run us through your perfect Middletown weekend.
A great Middletown weekend would be coming on a First Friday weekend! Our downtown features First Friday every month, and they always have a different theme. You can come downtown to eat, shop, drink, and/or find music somewhere. You can do all of this while walking around outside with a beer or cocktail because Middletown has a DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) district. Then maybe come back Saturday morning for one of our Spoken Saturday Rides and wash down all that hard work with a cold beer from our bar when we’re done!
Share something that you are really excited about right now. Could be a
favorite book, recipe, cocktail, movie, taco stand, upcoming shop event,
There are two shop events I’m very excited about right now:
First, is the Spoken Spectacle of Lights - this is a holiday ride where you have to either light up yourself or your bike, and we take a casual cruise around downtown and through Light Up Middletown (our town’s holiday light event).
The other event will be a new event for us called Cousin Eddie Comes to Spoken. This event is more for the bar featuring a holiday brew from Woodburn Brewery called Cousin Eddie. We are encouraging people to dress up like Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation and will be serving the beer in moose glasses! Happy Holidays!
We build bikes for vivid lives—for taking adventures, reconnecting with old friends, discovering new neighborhoods and exploring hidden gems. Inspired by the streets of Brooklyn, our bikes are built for style, comfort, and durability. Made with top quality parts, crafted with care, and sold at an affordable price, your bike is yours for life. We scrutinize every component for maximum sustainability and performance, and every millimeter of the frame for ultimate comfort and style. We take pride in our process, in our products, and in the people who sell them.