Completing the Street
Great Lakes Cycling takes Discount Tire's spot.
by Sally Mitani
From the July, 2014 issue
"We're far more technical than any other bike shop in town, without a doubt," says Oscar Bustos, owner of Great Lakes Cycling, which has moved into a new space on West Stadium. "Not many bike shops have the head mechanic as its owner." Bustos, thirty-six, has a U-M bachelor's in electrical and mechanical engineering, skills he uses every day. As a dealer for Currie Tech electrically assisted bikes, "we repair wiring, do circuit testing. On the mechanical side, we work with a local machine shop here in town, Hosford & Company, on things like welding repairs. In fact, they made our clothing racks."
The clothing, accessories, and higher-end bikes are on the newly constructed mezzanine of what used to be Discount Tire. Down below are the repair shop and, in early June, not much else (except four-year-old Jack Bustos and his friend Clarissa picnicking on Chicken McNuggets). "Right now it's a kind of a 'pardon our dust' situation," Oscar laughs, and there was no front signage up, but he was already fully open for business.
This is, Bustos says, the final stop for Great Lakes, which has moved several times since Hank Bednarz started the business in the 1970s. Bustos bought it from Bednarz in 2006. The new space is slightly smaller than his old space at the onetime Ace Barnes Hardware a few blocks south, but "it's a sixty percent rent drop," says Bustos, who isn't used to thinking like a property owner yet. By "rent" he means mortgage. He bought the building.
The irony of a bike shop taking over a car-related space hadn't occurred to Bustos, but he agrees that it does seem emblematic of a thriving cycling community. "Every time the city does road construction, it adds another bike lane."
In addition to specializing in complex repairs, Bustos says he has more kids' bikes than anyone in town. "The new fad right now is the 'pedal-less' bike," he says, replacing or supplementing the
bike with training wheels. Also called strider bikes, "they're twelve-inch [wheel] bikes without pedals. They get kids used to balancing, steering." They also cost $100, and once the kid learns to ride, they serve no other function--except as a harbinger of a coming decade of expensive, soon-to-be outgrown sports equipment. Great Lakes has a bypass for the pedal-less bike: for $140 Bustos will sell you a regular twelve-inch bike with the pedals removed. When your kid is ready, they'll put the pedals back on for free.
Great Lakes Cycling, 2270 W. Stadium Blvd., 668-6484. Mon-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun noon-6 p.m. greatlakescycling.com
[Originally published in July, 2014.]
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