It’s a COVID bike boom for local bike shops!

It’s a COVID bike boom for local bike shops!

An Q&A exclusive Q&A with Robby Gauss of Total Cyclery and Ralph Ruffolo of Southport Rigging

Q&A
with Ralph Ruffolo, owner, Southport Rigging

2926 75th Street, 262-652-5434

What was your first bike you’ve owned and what is your favorite bike of all-time?
My first bike was Schwann Stingray in 1959.  My favorite bike is the Trek Domane carbon bike I own now.

Since bike shops are an essential business, you were able to stay open, tell us how businesses was?
Business has been very strong since the gyms, bars and restaurants are closed and kids aren’t going to school.  It is like the 90’s again when most people had disposable time.

What is an average day like in the shoes of a bike shop owner?
I have to come in 2 hours before the store opens to getting purchasing done or answer emails. Once the store opens the parade of customers is non stop.  2 or 3 customers for each of my 5 employees all day long.

How many years have you been in business?
This is our 39th year serving Kenosha.

How did you come up with the name for you store?
One of the early names of Kenosha was Southport.  The store was started as a windsurfing store, so Southport Rigging seemed to work.  We changed the name to Southport Bikes & Boards in 2010 .

Looks like more and more people are riding bikes as a result of social distancing, what bike would you recommend to new customers?
I think you mean new bike riders.  Most new riders should get a comfortable bike that fits their size.  This bike is called a Hybrid bike in the industry.

Are you seeing a influx of repairs on old bikes that people are pulling out of storage because of social distancing?
Yes, we are seeing probably 50% of the bike repairs being dusty bikes that haven’t been used for a very long time.  Dry rotted tires, tubes that don’t hold air.

What services do you supply for bikes?
We are a full service family bike shop.  We do flat repair while you wait and many simple brake and derailleur adjustments.  We take trade-ins of your and your kids bike shop quality bikes.  We fit you to your new or old bike.  Often the bike you have had for 10 or 20 years needs adjustments to fit the current shape you are in.  We can make your bike fun to ride again.  We promote adult rides with our Saturday morning Coffee ride “For the health of it” starting at Common Grounds every Saturday morning at 8am.  We produce BMX freestyle events at the Anderson Park skatepark.

Favorite place to go for a ride at?
In Kenosha, I like to ride along the Lakefront.  My best ride was exploring Napa by bike with my wife.

Is family bike riding back in style now?
Yes, families are definitely getting a bike for everyone and riding together.

How do you educate you staff on all the trends in the biking community?
Trek University provides excellent online training.  We also attend industry events and meet brand reps.  Our staff is involved with Bmx, local road rides and we support the Kenosha Velosport team.

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Q&A
with Robby Gauss, owner, Total Cyclery
5039 Sixth Avenue, 262-652-2222

What was your first bike you’ve owned?
My first bike that can I remember was an old Schwinn Sting for BMX racing.

Since bike shops are an essential business, you were able to stay open, tell us how businesses was?
Being deemed an essential business when the safer at home went into place business never stopped! People were either in looking for new bikes or bringing in old ones for repairs. Not much else for people to do so getting outside for fresh air and exercise was the new thing for the whole family. And it hasn’t slowed down

What is an average day like in the shoes of a bike shop owner?
A day in the life of a bike shop owner changes day to day.  In the recent months it’s gone from people in buying new bikes like crazy with now depleted inventory to the old bikes coming in for repairs.  Repairs vary from simple to complex and there is never a dull moment.

How many years have you been in business?
My parents opened Total Cyclery in 1986 .  I took it over in 2014 when they decided to retire.

How did you come up with the name for you store?
I can remember the family sitting at the kitchen table all brainstorming for names and ideas. Trying to put together all things bicycle related… and the next thing we knew we had come up with Total Cyclery and the bike frame worked it’s way in.

Are you seeing a influx of repairs on old bikes that people are pulling out of storage because of social distancing?
Hybrid bikes seem to be the most popular. But we make sure to ask customers some crucial questions about how/where they plan to use their bike. Not everyone has the same wants and needs so we make sure to help them find the right bike for them.

Huge influx of old bikes being dusted off and brought in. People like the nostalgia of the vintage bikes.  That has also caused a shortage in parts. Parts needed to bring life back to these old bikes.

What services do you supply for bikes?
Services that we provide start with the very basic to the complete overhaul.  We service all styles/make of bicycles  and carry skateboards too.  Every accessory you can think of for the casual cyclist to the die hards.  Total Cyclery = total bicycling needs

Favorite place to go for a ride at? 
I enjoy all aspects of cycling from the velodrome to the road and the trails.

Is family bike riding back in style now?
I would like to think family biking has always been a thing having done it since I was 4.  But recently there has been a definite surge in families coming in and getting everyone rolling. It’s something the whole family can do together no matter the experience and skill level. Cycling is great for the body and mind as well.

How do you educate you staff on all the trends in the biking community?
Staff education is constantly evolving just as the bike itself is evolving from the old school to the new hybrids.  Bike expos and brand training is a continuous thing. Knowledge and know how are very important in keeping our customers safe and ready to ride.

Interview and photos by Donald Stancato