Cycling life

Downtown bike shops shift gears

I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike. It was probably at least a year ago. That seems kind of sad to me, actually, as it’s a pastime I’ve long enjoyed. As a kid, it gave me freedom. I still remember an ill-advised ride my little sister and I took one afternoon to the St. Louis Galleria, one of the largest malls in our hometown. It was only 5.7 miles, but along busy streets and with little legs that could pedal only so fast. When we called our mom from a payphone at the mall and excitedly told her where we were, she was shocked and, I think, a little scared. She arrived soon enough to pick us up.

Then there’s the feel of the wind in my hair. Of that burst of joyful adrenaline when uphill becomes down. I might need to start bicycle shopping ….

Speaking of, several of Chico’s bike shops are experiencing a simultaneous shifting of gears, with two of them turning their focus onto more of the lifestyle of biking than just selling the gear. The biggest move/expansion on the horizon seems to be that of CycleSport, which has occupied its spot at the corner of Second and Main streets for the better part of a decade. This summer, and potentially as soon as the end of May, it’ll occupy some all-new digs under an all-new name.

The new shop, dubbed AMain Performance Cycling—which acknowledges parent company AMain Performance Sports & Hobbies—will take over the spot left vacant by Hollywood Video several years ago on East 20th Street, according to AMain VP of operations Brandon Steinle. (What a relief—those darn boxes seem to be merely magnets for Halloween shops!) What’s more exciting, though, than the larger footprint the store will fill, is that it is working with The Handle Bar, a bicycle-themed pub that shares the building. The bar, according to owners Brian and Carolyn Kanabrocki, will be expanding and there will be a common entrance shared with the bike shop. Sounds pretty rad!

More still Another recent vacancy, that of Three-Sixty Ecotique just south on Main between Fifth and Sixth streets, is making way for the expansion of Greenline Cycles. It’s sort of perfect timing with the 25th anniversary of the store, which started in Oroville, this summer. The massive expansion will provide more space for social events, says salesman Dain Melton. “We don’t want to be that shop that sells you a bike and shoves you out the door,” he told me. “We want to be like family.” Stay tuned for more info as it’s divulged.

Other bike news CycleSport and Greenline aren’t the only downtown shops going through some changes. Campus Bicycles is preparing to move out of its spot on Main Street between Third and Fourth streets and up a block to the northeast corner of Main and Third, where Red Umbrella used to be. The reasoning, according to a Campus clerk, is that their current landlord wants to change the configuration of that building, meaning it’s time to find a new location. They expect to be moved in by May 1.