This post is dedicated to my brother, Mike. Riding on the back of his 5-Speed Schwinn Sting Ray while he went free handed down Rogers Avenue in South St. Louis seemed so scary at the time. But those far-away, exhilarating moments in time were foundational in my becoming a girl that loves the thrill of going fast…the number of wheels is unimportant. Besides, if you ride a bike, you never have to worry about rolling the windows down.
Being too big to wrap, Santa left it under the tree with a bright red bow tied around the handlebars. My brother, Mike, got one too. Both were Schwinn; mine was a Lil’ Chick, and Mike’s was a 5-speed Sting Ray. Not sure which was more exciting…getting a bike from Santa or riding on the back of my brother’s. (Here’s a pretty cool kaleidoscope.)
I wasn’t a dare devil back then, but my brother perfected the free-handed coast, sometimes at my mercy. We grew up riding bikes, motorcycles, appreciating adventure. I haven’t thought much about bike riding in these past years, but things always happen for a reason…
Recently I had the occasion to visit South Side Cyclery with my mom, as she was purchasing helmets for her twin great grand sons. Immediately I was impressed with the service we received from the store manager, which prompted an interview.
On the day of the interview, to no surprise, I felt immediately welcome in the world of two-wheel excitement…
South Side Cyclery is a place where families and individuals go to pursue an interest, fulfill a dream. One might see cycling as a way to get in shape, spend time with friends and family, or even scratch the adventure itch. There is something for everyone at South Side Cyclery and customer service is top notch. You can count on a friendly and knowledgeable staff with Jean and Chris on the sales floor ready to greet customers, many by their first names. In the back, Don the Legend performs his magic as South Side’s technician. He has been with SSC for 29 years.
South Side Cyclery is unique in that it facilitates needs for the whole public. There is a warm neighborhood feel to the store, and its inventory is comfortably multifaceted and matched to the needs of all cyclists….a child’s first bike, riders with custom fit needs, and those who have racing in their heart. SSC holds ‘customer appreciation’ events where bikers get to ride with fellow cyclists and gain a comfort for riding on the road. The shop accommodates Scouting groups looking to earn their bicycling belt loop. Finally, giving back comes easily to this local bike shop. The store is a donation site for Major Taylor, an organization dedicated to giving recyclable bikes to inner city school children. Click here to learn more.
The guy that keeps the wheels spinning on excellence at South Side Cyclery is Manager Tim Cole…a down to earth family man who considers himself lucky to come to work everyday surrounded by something he loves. He takes great pride in working for SSC and speaks highly of his co-workers, management, and the history of the shops. While typing out an answer to one of my questions a customer was served happily, quickly, and without missing a beat. A tire was patched with explanation, and a satisfied customer was on his way.
Tim’s advice for the first-time cyclist: “don’t force it, let it come naturally, and above all-enjoy the ride”. Hmmm, that’s exactly how I feel during a stoplight race!
Tim’s suggestions for riding: Recreational-Grant’s Trail, River Des Peres, and Mississippi River Front Trail Off-Road-Lost Valley, Greensfelder, and Matson Hill
It’s no secret I will always prefer my adventures to be two-lane fast on four wheels, something of the small block variety, with a window-rattling rumble. Thanks to the wonderful folks at South Side Cyclery, I now appreciate the beauty of traveling about on two wheels, under one’s own power, enjoying the solace of nature’s song. Remember…You’re never too old to ask Santa for the perfect set of wheels. Two or four-both are unique to the individual and the rewards that come with them are without a doubt too big to wrap. Untie the bow and set about on your own adventure. It’s a big road out there.
South Side Cyclery is one of three family-owned shops. The other two are South County Cyclery located on Lin Ferry and Trans-Am located in Farmington. Click here for a detailed history of the shops.
Whether you are looking for a new bike, repairs on an existing one, or the inspiration to jump into the world of cycling a visit to one of these great locations is a must!
And finally….there are always options. Or as I’d like to say-Bike Bling!
Please feel free to take my just-for-fun polldaddy poll! As always…windows down, heater on, and radio up!