Say hi to Kevin here!
1) How/when did you get into cycling as a profession?
started working in a grungy bike shop the summer after my sophomore
year in college. Champaign-Urbana is a terrific place to commute by
bike. Obviously we took care of students’ bikes, but over the
summer most of the work was for the groovy locals (myself included)
that understood how nice it was when 30,000 young folks leave town
for three months. Bikeworks is owned by a grumpy hippie named Bruce
who could fix anything. He had high standards for new bike assembly
as well as repair. We didn’t waste time repairing department store
bikes. I learned a lot there, and try to pass it along to the
people I work with now.
2) How does your organization directly benefit cyclists?
is a nearly full service shop (we stay
away from shock forks and hydraulic disc brakes – DOT brake fluid
is toxic). Obviously cyclists benefit from the storefront. In
addition I try my best to spread the word about Critical Mass, and
from time to time rope employees into volunteer positions. This
month we manned the Palmer Square water stop on the recent BLT
3) Do you specialize in a certain type of cycling?
We like touring bikes, and touring cyclists the most. I love to
hear itineraries and stories of the road. However our specialty is
commuting. (Touring bikes make great commuters too). Fenders,
racks, panniers, helmets, lights, etc.
4) What are your "must-have" items for cycling (this could be a
tool, an accessory, a food, etc.)
I like to have water on my bike. Whether its for a one mile commute
to work or a run downtown, water is most important to me. I think
the most important tool to have is knowledge. Get to know your
bike. If it is in good repair, you don’t need tools on the road.
The next most important tool is a pump. Even without a spare tube
or patchkit, you can “blow and go”- pump vigorously and ride as far
as possible before repeating.
5) What do you see as the biggest area of opportunity in your niche
Biggest area of opportunity? Attracting more noncyclists. Anyone
noticed how there seem to be more cyclists on the road as of late?
Great, but have you seen how many f’ing cars are still on the
6) How do you think the cycling community has changed in the
last year or two?
In the last year or two I’ve seen lots more young people (without a
good sense of community?) buying bikes and parts online. The
internet is really ruining the bike market- and the furniture
market and just about everything that was great about
7) If you could go on a bike ride with anyone (living or dead),
who would it be?
In highschool I had a hip English teacher (Gerry LaChance) that
sponsored our cycling club. I bought my first Fuji roadbike so as
to ride farther with him and my buddies. He’s still in Connecticut
where I grew up. I’d love to travel back East sometime with my bike
and go for another ride with him. Or better yet have him walk into
the shop someday out of the blue.