Bates Bikes has been owned and operated in and around Hurstville, NSW by various members of the Bates family since 1920. It was originally started by a great uncle of Phill's named Bruce Ford taken over by his son, also named Bruce.
Phil's father Ron Bates took over the store in the 1950's after serving for six years in the RAAF during the second world war.
Phill recalled, "He was one of the old school, was involved in starting Apollo bikes along with Graham Blackman, John Carroll, Slim Ward, and also a large franchising organisation. Ron Bates was an excellent bike builder and many of the top line Olympians raced under his brand of Royal Star."
As we reported here, it was only as recently as 2012 that the shop moved from Hurstville to the nearby suburb of Carlton.
For the past 27 years Bates Bikes has been owned and operated by Phill Bates. But with his 67th birthday approaching and none of his children interested in taking over, Phill has decided that it’s time to sell.
“I never intended to own the shop at all,” Phill revealed. But when my brother Brad got into financial difficulties, I didn’t want to see all of dad’s hard work disappear.”
Although the sale has not been finalised, Phill says he’s reached agreement with Lester Ramos and Dayne Smithett from the relatively new retailer, Two Monkeys to take over from 1st February 2018. Two Monkeys started with a store in Penshurst, not far from Bates Bikes and more recently has opened a store in Alexandria.
“They want to carry on with the Bates Bikes name, which is nice,” Phill continued. “It will be good having people owning the store who really want to move forward. Although I’ve owned the store, I’ve always employed staff to run it because I’ve been busy doing other things.”
Phill’s last comment is something of an understatement. For many years he has run two other businesses. One imports and distributed lactate testing supplies for the sports science and medical sectors. Another revolves around the infrastructure that he built up over two decades of running the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic. He kept his trucks, barricades, sound system, finish arches and other equipment and started renting them out each weekend for everything from charity rides to marathon runs, community fairs and any other event requiring such items.
Meanwhile Phill has a long history of voluntary work and public service. Amongst other things he has been President of the St George Cycling Club for the past 25 years and on the club’s executive for 52 years.
He’s a board member of the Parramatta Park Trust, a popular cycling location. He’s also a board member of the Beverly Park Golf Club which is located just across the road from Bates Bikes.
Phill was the founding chairperson and is a life member of the NSW Sports Federation. He’s also a cofounder of the Bicycle Institute of NSW which later became Bicycle NSW, the peak cycling advocacy body in NSW.
Phill has been heavily involved in fundraising for medical charities including the Victor Chang Cardiac Research, Fred Hollows Foundation and been instrumental in building the St George Cancer Care Lodge, the Prostate Cancer Institute and Cancer Survivors Centre. He says he’s now raised a total of around $15 million over many years of consistent effort.
As you can see, it turns out that the boy who only completed four years of high school before heading out to work is something of a renaissance man, with a final twist...when Bicycling Trade spoke to Phill he was on his way to give one of his eight grand-children a piano lesson. Phill is also a trained classical pianist.