BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — As Jon Hoag pulled up to the Stallion Circle home in his CycleWerks Jeep, Ashtyn, Colton and Tinley Seiwart squinted from the driveway and watched him unload three bikes – two new and one refurbished.
“Ashtyn just learned how to ride without training wheels,” explained her mom, Juli, who was holding 1-year-old Logan. With four growing kids at home, Juli and her husband Jim decided the time was right for bikes.
Many other parents are feeling the same way, said Julie Theroux, who along with Hoag owns CycleWerks in Bowling Green, Sylvania and Whitehouse.
“We’re selling kids’ bikes left and right. We haven’t slowed down,” she said.
With schools and many businesses closed, the kids’ bike-buying season started early. Adults, cooped up at home, are also buying bikes and floor models of spin bikes, treadmills and ellipticals, as well as trainers that can be paired with a bike, Hoag said.
Bike shops, like auto repair shops and gas stations, are considered an essential business because they provide repairs for bikes that, for many – especially in areas like Bowling Green – are used as transportation.
Wearing rubber gloves, service manager Derek Hanson adjusted the gears on a bike in the Whitehouse store last week. With warm air arriving and more time at home, customers are dropping bikes off for tune-ups, new tires and other repairs. CycleWerks is also selling tubes, tires and pumps for those who do their own repairs.
Getting outside on a bike, whether for necessity or pleasure, is good for mental and physical health, Hoag said.
“It’s healthy and good for the lungs and cardiovascular system and respiratory system,” Hoag said.
Now, instead of riding close together in groups, many riders are doing virtual group rides in order to maintain social distancing.
Just as riders are adjusting, so is the CycleWerks staff. Armed with a spray bottle of disinfectant, Theroux regularly walks through the Whitehouse shop, wiping down bikes, counters, doorknobs – anything with a surface.
Shoppers are urged to call ahead, so an employee can ask questions to guide them through the selection of bikes for in-town, rugged trail and other uses. Some customers are content to buy over the phone or online and take advantage of the free home delivery or curbside pickup. Others want to come into the shop to test out models.
A sign on the door urges shoppers to call first, so only one at a time will come inside. For a test ride, the bike is disinfected before and after use. The goal is to protect employees and customers.
“These are the rules today. We can learn to adapt,” Hoag said.
Because of economic uncertainty, Theroux said she’s going to hold off on doing a stocking order of kids’ bikes to replace the quickly diminishing supply, but she feels grateful that the shop is still open.
“My heart goes out to the restaurant owners and business owners who had to close,” she said.
For more information, visit www.shopcyclewerks.com.