Business & Real Estate

Discovering a new territory : New Los Altos merchant aims to provide variety with bike center

Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Undiscovered Country co-founder Terry Morse opened his bike center at 2249 Grant Road in November, relocating his 8-year-old business from Old Middlefield Road in Mountain View.

Undiscovered Country’s Terry Morse envisions that in time, cycling enthusiasts will view his new Los Altos bike center the way children view a certain Southern California amusement park.

“Our mission is to make people happy through bicycling,” said Morse, who relocated his bike center from Mountain View to 2249 Grant Road in November. “It’s our corporate mission – kind of like Disney.”

The center’s co-founder and managing director, Morse noted that turning his Los Altos business into the happiest place on earth for cyclists means offering more than your run-of-the-mill bike shop.

To that end, Undiscovered Country is part bike shop and part travel agency, Morse said, offering 60 guided bike tours throughout California this year. Trips range from three to nine days, with group rides along the coast and through wine country and the Sierra, as well as treks to southern locations like Palm Desert, the Salton Sea and Borrego Springs.

Morse said the catalyst that prompted him to start Undiscovered Country with his wife in 2005 was his personal dissatisfaction with commercial bike tours.

“The commercial tours were long on things like cooking classes, wine tasting and gourmet picnics and less on the cycling,” said Morse, who operated the business out of his Palo Alto home before opening his first bike center in Mountain View two years ago. “It’s not satisfying for the cyclist. With us, you actually ride your bike from place to place. A lot of the other tours just drive you to a place and let you out of the van to ride your bike. That’s a bus tour with bikes, basically.”

And while tours are a major component of his business, Morse also provides typical services such as bicycle repairs and rentals, as well as a limited selection of retail items.

Morse envisions his new location as a local hangout for cyclists trekking along nearby Foothill Expressway. Additional offerings by Undiscovered Country include snacks, beverages, free Wi-Fi access and even the use of a shower for local cyclists.

“We’re not a traditional bike shop with a lot of items to sell,” said Morse, pointing to his business’ proximity to Lucky Supermarket at 2175 Grant Road, a common park-and-ride destination for cyclists. “It’s more about servicing and being a clubhouse for cyclists. We’ve wanted a space for a long time for tours and rentals, so when (the Los Altos location) became available, we thought, ‘Why not offer up a space people can use?’”

Despite being a relative newcomer to town, Morse said he’s pleased with his decision to relocate to Los Altos, noting that his center has received positive early reviews from customers.

“When people come in and see it, they get pretty excited,” he said. “They come in expecting a bike shop and leave knowing it’s a lot more than that.”

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