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Joe Bollinger and Michael Firm, Sic Transit, Ann Arbor

Saddling up the Urban Cyclist

Sic Transit adds a new-bike shop.

by Sally Mitani

From the April, 2014 issue

In early March, Sic Transit Cycles was on track to open its new store on Pontiac Tr. behind St. Vincent de Paul on March 15. Michael Firn and Joe Bollinger are expanding the bicycle restoration and sales business from its original location next to Rush's barbershop on Moore into the nearby space that was for many years Adrian's T-shirts.

At their original location, Firn and Bollinger take in vintage bikes for what Firn calls "comprehensive reconditioning." The new shop will sell brand-new machines targeted at the "urban cyclist."

Since starting the business in a garage nine years ago, Firn and Bollinger have always held down other jobs. For much of that time Firn has been a server at Pacific Rim, and Bollinger has worked the graveyard shift as "an energy commodities trader at DTE. I don't even understand what he does, and he's my best friend," says Firn. Both will now be full time at Sic Transit, Firn running the new store while Bollinger spends most of his time overseeing the repair shop.

Firn and Bollinger are champions of Lower Town, which Firn calls "the last undeveloped bastion of Ann Arbor, the one with the most potential." He'd love to own property there, but until one of their two locations is up for sale, they have settled for reconditioning Adrian's old shop. Carpenter Nick Durrie "brought in a trove of reclaimed and salvaged material," Firn says. When we were there, Firn was working on a nine-foot-long "live-edge" walnut slab, which will be a display table.

Firn says he's learned a lot of philosophy and design aesthetic from Pacific Rim owner Duc Tang. "Did you know he did all the woodwork in Pacific Rim himself? I've learned skills from him, and I've also learned not to get too big, not to overreach, to help your friends. Duc's been involved in projects here and vice versa."

Sic Transit's new location will sell Brompton (folding bikes), Linus (retro-ish, inspired by the famous Raleigh three-speed), Bianchi ("the oldest brand in the world"), and Surly ("the Swiss army knife of bikes--if you want one to do everything, this is it"). They'll also carry "quality products for urban riding, commuting, and touring: waterproof panniers, helmets, fenders, lights. Limited clothing: for instance, reflective details. No Lycra," Finn says emphatically.

Sic Transit Cycles, 1002 Pontiac Tr.. 327-6900. Mon-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Closed Sun.    (end of article)

[Originally published in April, 2014.]


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