It's been 10 years this summer since I looked at the world from the top of Mount Rainier in Washington State. A lot went into that climb, and the mountains that proceeded this summit. A great experience and I haven't climbed another mountain since...not out of a lack of desire, but because it ended up being the beginning of a journey that brought me to this announcement.
First a little background.
A couple years after the Mt Rainier climb I attended United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in Portland, Oregon (UBI has since closed the Portland location but continues in the original Ashland, OR school). I boxed my bike, took the train from Pasco, and enjoyed my time learning and receiving my bike service certificate. It felt like a step in the right direction, but I still wasn't sure about the path.
The following year I went back to school. The local community college, Columbia Basin College (CBC) has a great Bachelor program and within a year I had a Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management. I enjoyed this program as I was able to apply my years of retail management experience to the business and leadership emphasis of Applied Management. My final project was to write a business plan that became a bit of a road map for the next steps down this path.
In 2015 I opened the original Liberation Bike Shop as a mobile bike rental business and offered some services. A brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Kennewick followed the next year. We had fun even with a lot of challenges. Toward the end of that year came a tough decision: continue a retail bike shop or help grow the local bicycle community through a non-profit bike shop.
As many of you reading this will know the answer was announced in the winter of that year and Wheelhouse Community Bike shop was founded with the help of friends and the resources of Liberation Bike Shop. From 2016 until last year you would probably find me or volunteers in the bike shop on Kennewick Avenue.
Over the last 5 years Wheelhouse has gone though changes most significantly during the last year. The board worked hard to ensure the community space was safe and volunteers also felt safe in the shop. A lot of work went into offering bikes by appointment and continuing to recycle bikes for donation. After some deliberation the tough decision was made to take focus away from the more "retail and service" part of Wheelhouse operations and put the energy and resources into education and community outreach. The results speak for themselves as programs begin to reopen, bike donations to the community grow, and Wheelhouse partners with more community organizations.
While I continue to help where I can at Wheelhouse I ended up taking a job to help out as a bike mechanic at a bike shop locally. As much as I liked working on bikes all day I missed working for myself and felt there was still a need for better access to bicycle service.
Now for the announcement!
I didn't start this year thinking I would make this announcement this summer or anytime this year. A lot goes into starting something let alone a business. I definitely would not be able to make this step without the faith and support of my wife, friend and partner Terese. We celebrate 18 years together this summer.
I have enjoyed watching the Tri-Cities bicycle community and resources grow over the years. There are many places to ride a bike and people passionate about continuing to expand access to biking (along with so many other outdoor activities...so great to see).
Bikes work best when they are maintained. The worst experience can be getting ready to bike and finding a flat tire, or a bike that doesn't function. Often this leads to bikes sitting in storage and not getting any use. One of the challenges of keeping a bike maintained is getting to and from a local bike shop. We have some really great bike shops locally but it can take some work and planning to get your bike to the shop and then pick it up.
So...today Pedalworks will bring the bike shop to you! Pedalworks is a complete bike shop in a van offering many services for most bicycles and some ebikes. Services are by appointment and the shop can come to your door or workplace. Appointments allow for many of the services to be performed on the same day and you will have your bike back in time to the weekend or an upcoming ride. Mobile services for your bike can help save your time effort getting bikes too and from a shop or waiting on service turn-around.
I'm excited to bring a new opportunity and option to the community and increase accessibility to bicycle services. Check out our site to see if Pedalworks can be of service, and make your appointment today!