By Ben Olson
Four years ago, a few friends who shared a common love for bicycles quietly opened a bike shop in Sandpoint. Tucked behind the Horizon Credit Union between Fourth and Fifth avenues, Bonner County Bicycles (BCB) quickly became a popular spot for those looking for a new or used bike, as well as those seeking bike repairs.
Today, Dan Shook, Tim Piehl and Dave Reisenauer are enjoying the fruits of their labor as BCB has rapidly become one of the go-to bike shops in Sandpoint.
“We’re not in it for the money, we’re in it for the love,” said Piehl. “We love our community and try to do what’s right as much as possible.”
Shook said the shop’s business is evenly split between repairs and sales: “Initially, we were doing nothing but used bikes.”
Shook has done everything from sifting through junk piles to rummaging through the dump to find salvagable bikes that can be fixed up and sold to customers seeking lower priced transportation.
“We’re proud of the fact that a lot of the stuff we get was probably going to the dump,” said Shook. “We hate to see things wasted.”
In fact, the unofficial logo of BCB is “Don’t take your bike to the dump!” The owners encourage anyone out there who has an old bike that they don’t use to drop it off with BCB, where most of the time it just requires a minor tune up and overhaul to become a daily rider again.
“We’re in a disposable society right now,” said BCB mechanic Greg Rowuka. “It’s nice to be able to save these bikes from the dump.”
June is the busiest month for BCB, according to Shook, because that’s when most people haul their old bikes out of the garage and hit the road again. It’s also when those seeking two-wheeled transportation are on the hunt for their next cruiser. Plus, now that they carry Kona and Surely fat bikes, customers seeking brand new bicycles can also find what they need.
“It’s been a busy spring already,” said Shook. “Since March, we’ve sold 80 bikes. Last summer, we sold upwards of 600 bikes.”
Indeed, if you take a stroll through BCB’s back room, there are hundreds of bikes of all shapes and sizes eager to find new homes. Because their overhead is so low, Shook said they are able to offer low prices for anything from vintage cruisers to gently-used mountain bikes that have been overhauled completely.
“Cruisers are hot right now, but old mountain bikes are our hottest seller,” said Shook. “We get them in and make them a lot more comfortable. We’ll put upright handle bars on them, new tires, new seats and they’re ready to go.”
Shook said if you are holding onto an old bike that no longer goes, they will pay a small amount for worthy new projects. BCB also offers a conversion deal for $125 to completely fix up your old bikes so that they feel brand new again.
“A lot of times people will say they need a new bike, but if they just bring their old one in, we’ll fix it up and it’ll cost a lot less than buying a new one,” said Shook. “It’s what we do.”
Bonner County Bicycles is located at 521 N. 4th Ave., just east of Horizon Credit Union and south of 7B Fitness. They are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, though hours sometimes vary on Saturday. (208) 597-5339.
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