The 1990’s brought United Cycle to a crossroads. The customer base and available products were increasing, but they had run out of room and parking options on Whyte Avenue. A new store built on an empty lot four blocks away provided the solution. This building was designed to sustain the 70 years of history they were taking from Whyte Avenue. The first businesses to move into the old United Cycle building on Whyte Avenue were The Bagel Tree, Le Papier, and Sam the Record Man.

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Business in the nineties offered many challenges. United Cycle’s plan met the challenge with a larger facility to offer consumers competitive pricing and a comfortable, service oriented, reliable place to shop. The project was “Alberta Made,” led by many family members. All contractors, trades, designers and workers were local talent; putting their best feet forward to see this community project come together. The new store added NHL clothing and licensed products, institutional sales, volleyball, basketball, and curling. They moved with 25 staff and quickly expanded to 45. By the end of the 90’s when they opened their bicycle store, they had 75 staff. It was a time of great momentum and growth, learning to do business on a larger scale. Staff and management had to hold on for the ride! There was steady expansion of in-lines, ball, soccer, and team sales with hockey and bicycles continuing to lead the way.

There was increased partnering within the community including the River Valley Parks and school board outdoor pursuits programs, the in-line demo van program, significant involvement with the bicycle helmet campaign, Sport Central, Kid’s Safe, and Safety City. There was significant change on Whyte Avenue with bars and pubs becoming prominent instead of just shopping. The fourth generation of the Brooks family was now joining the business full-time in the 90’s with fresh legs and new ideas.


Motorcycles moved from United Cycle’s main store to the service shop and then left United Cycle altogether and moved to Alberta Cycle.


Sport Central opened with the support of United Cycle, this organization will go on to provide sporting equipment to over 9,000 kids in need annually. They work with 200 agencies and have a reach of Western Canada and the Territories to help kids be able to participate in sports. They do this with the support of over 60 volunteers and a team of staff. What an impact!


Grey Nun’s Hospital Bicycle Helmet Campaign began with Wilf Brooks and staff actively a – leading information sessions at schools, community events, and within the store.


United Cycle’s old motorcycle shop became the first home for our Repair Department.


Reg Brooks passed away.


To accommodate customers’ desire for more parking, more product, and more services, United Cycle had to move and expand. With the Brooks drive, spirit, and desire to continue to grow and serve the community, United Cycle went in search of a new home. Not wanting to leave Strathcona, they built a new store at 78th Avenue and 103 Street. It was designed to carry Old Strathcona down the street with many innovative elements to maintain the friendly atmosphere and comfort of a small town store. History of sports and a recreated streetscape of 1930’s Whyte Avenue were built into the interior design. Murals depicting great moments in local sport history decorate the exterior. With the familiarity of squeaky wood floors and the luxury of 100 parking stalls, this location offered customers, co-workers, and friends a new experience with the same philosophy. The building was officially dedicated “The Brooks Building”, in memory of Reg Brooks.


United Cycle partnered with the City of Edmonton and South Edmonton Business Association to help accelerate the Gateway Boulevard Project.


Sporting goods and bicycles moved back to United Cycle from Alberta Cycle.


United Cycle expanded again, separating the bicycle department into a different building within the “United Centre,” which also allowed hockey to expand again. United Centre is a growing retail area along Gateway Boulevard stretching from 78th Avenue to University (75th) Avenue.

1990s facts

  • Population of Edmonton: 69744

  • Prime Minister: Jean Chrétien

  • Average annual income: $27,500

  • Average cost of a mountain bike: $400

  • Average cost of top end skates: $400

  • Forest Gump and the Lion King were top movies

  • ER and Friends premiered on TV

The Builds

How does a family and staff work to together to make the impossible…..possible? Do it yourself of course! Family member Joe Bots, first call for all United Cycle projects involving a hammer and ingenuity, used his experience as a contractor of our 1994 building to tackle the challenge. He surrounded himself with an amazing team of local contractors, subcontractors, and tradespeople that included many familiar faces: Joe’s older brother Bill Bots set the pace, nephew Marvin Bots and son Lindsey logged countless hours with electrical upgrading and running new wires for state of the art equipment. Ora and Dave Barker (designers of the beloved streetscape in our old building) lent their talents to covering offices with a façade of former United Cycle storefronts. Staff pitched in with construction to ensure the doors stayed open throughout the process. The bicycle and team sales departments, in particular, felt the daily impact of demolition with power outages, cold water (or no water at all!), endless banging, piercing power tools, and dust, dust, and more dust. Our theme for this move was ‘better together’. The cooperation and dedication of all involved is a first class example of just how much can be achieved when pride is involved in a day’s work.