It’s less than three miles from his house near Bosse High School to his office at Raben Tire Co. on Green River Road, where he is a sales associate. Yet Jim Snyder, a longtime bicycle enthusiast, uses his morning ride to work up a sweat before he even starts his workday. From Bayard Park Drive to Walnut Lane, then to Bellemeade and Hebron avenues, Jim pedals his way toward continuing health — and a steady paycheck.
“I take the same route everyday, it never changes,” he says. “It adds enough tenths of a mile to get exactly 13 (miles) in a day.”
Jim is just one of many dedicated bicycle riders in the Tri-State area. Men, women, and children like him have taken part in the Evansville Rockin’ River City Ride in April, and the River City Bicycle Classic in June. They’ve become members of the Evansville Bicycle Club and ridden on the completed portions of the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage.
And now, these bike riders have an increasing selection of bicycle shops, too.
“I think there is a real conscious effort by people to live a better and healthier lifestyle,” says Steve Kalsch, partial owner of Dan’s Comp, which bought out Gilles Cycle on S. Green River Road in 2012. “Bicycling and getting outside with friends and family is a great social event. It gets people to put down their handheld electronics devices, get them off the couch from behind a TV or computer, and get healthier.”
Dan’s Comp opened in 1986 in Mount Vernon, Ind., and is owned by Dustin Wilson, Bill Cartwright, and Kalsch. The bike shop carries several different bicycle brands as well as riding disciplines like road, mountain, general-purpose bikes called hybrids, and comfort bikes.
The store also sells bicycling, running, and home/residential fitness equipment.
“We’re committed to not only the quality of the product, we also encourage our customers to get out and ride,” says Kalsch. “Our service, work, and reputation are outstanding, and our customers are commenting that they are so glad that we have opened in Evansville.”
“Cycling is fun,” adds Mike Wheatley, manager of Breck’s Bicycle Shop on Vogel Road. “We see a lot of people who want to do something other then run. So, we get a lot of runners who are switching to cycling, and you can be as sporty as you want to be.”
“The whole family can do it,” he says. “It can be a casual bike ride to a complete workout.”
Breckley Tipton opened Breck’s Bicycle Shop in 2008 and Eric Muffett joined the company as his partner in 2009. This full-service bicycle shop sells bikes, tires, helmets, shoes, and seats and provides services for the new bicyclist, people who are returning to cycling after a long absence, and experienced racers.
“Everybody in our shop rides and participates in the activity at all levels and is active in the cycling community,” Wheatley adds.
Breck’s currently has three store locations, including one in Owensboro, Ky., and another in Bowling Green, Ky. Each store is known for its great customer service, Wheatley says.
“The community is growing in triathlons, in the cycling market, and cycling-related events,” says Kyle Rickenbaugh, manager of Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling. “There are more areas where people can ride their bikes and a larger bicycling infrastructure.”
Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling expanded into the Tri-State area in December 2012. Brothers Greg, Marty, and Tim Scheller opened their first location in Louisville in 1978. The shop now has six locations with two in Louisville, two in Lexington, one in Clarksville, Ind., and now Evansville.
Scheller’s currently is at a temporary location on Virginia Street but will be opening its new store on Vogel Road later this summer. The shop now is offering lifetime bike adjustments with an all-new bike purchase, and it services bicycles, fitness equipment, as well as commercial equipment.
Other local bicycle shops in Evansville include, but are not limited to, Bob’s Bicycles and Repair, Spicer Cycles, Legends, and Top Spot.
Meanwhile, Jim continues to ride his bike to work when the weather cooperates. He also rides on the weekends. For 22 years, he has participated in the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, Ind., a ride that involves 100 miles of hills divided into two days.
He owns about 10 or 12 bikes and keeps five in storage and the rest at his house. The ones in storage are collector’s items that he plans, at some point, to sell. He rides only two bikes on his daily routes.
“I realized when my dad died at 49, you need to do something to keep yourself fit because if you don’t, life’s short,” he says. “I’m 68, and I can get on a bike right now, at this summer temperature, and ride 50 miles and never get off of it, nonstop.”
Breck’s Bicycle Shop – brecksbikeshop.com
Bob’s Bicycles and Repair – facebook.com/BobsBicyclesAndRepair
Dan’s Comp – danscompbikes.com
Legends – legendsevansville.com
Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling – schellers.com
Spicer Cycles – spicercycles.com
Top Spot – topspotoutdoors.com
Evansville Bicycle Club – evansvillebicycleclub.org