Big wheels turning

Steve O’Bryan

Photo By dustin hyman

Steve O’Bryan’s love for bicycling began as a child when his mother bought him and his brother brand-new bikes. Neighborhood children took notice when O’Bryan paraded the town’s first Schwinn Sting-Ray through Hooker Oak Park. In 1984, he relocated his bike maintenance shop from his parents’ garage into what is now Pullins Cyclery. The popular bike shop owner is also vice chairman of Chico’s Bike Advisory Committee, an organization he has proudly been involved with for more than 20 years. He says the town should look forward to major biking (and pedestrian) improvements due to an enormous $1.9 million stimulus grant. O’Bryan is currently working on a bicycle and yard-equipment drive to benefit the struggling people of Haiti. Donations are accepted at Pullins Cyclery at 801 Main St. To hear O’Bryan talk about biking, politics, music and more, tune in to KZFR on Wednesdays, 9-11:30 a.m.

What do you love about your job?

This business is both my vocation and avocation. I find bicycles beautiful and elegant in their simplicity. Bicycles are the answer to many of the world’s most dire problems. Bicycling is great for both physical and mental health, in addition to benefiting the environment. I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy going to every day.

What do you hate about your job?

Photo By

There are way too many different products available these days—you can’t carry all of them. I’m friends with most of the owners, but Chico has an overabundance of bike shops. It wouldn’t be a problem if we were selling something like beer, a product that doesn’t last quite as long.

Any bike trails you would recommend?

This time of the year, following the rain, anywhere you go will be beautiful. Peddling through Bidwell Park on a moonlit night is always a wonderful ride. The park is empty except for a few herds of deer that, for some reason, don’t seem to get spooked when I’m forced to weave through them in the muted darkness.

Any advice for picking out a good bike?

These days most bikes are built well enough—people just need to get out there and ride. Chico is sunny nearly year-round and for the most part completely flat. Riding a bike is liberating, and because the cost of gas is so high, and likely not going to get any cheaper, the future looks good for the bicycle.

Do you have any good maintenance tips for bikers?

Yeah, pump up your tires and lube your chains.