The local bike shop is the hub of any cycling community and this week Sussex lost theirs. For awhile anyway.
After a fire gutted a historic block of buildings in Sussex the town was left without a bike and ski shop, a lovely restaurant, a Chinese buffet, a yoga store and a soap shop. It’s a big hit to the community and whether all of those businesses return to the town or not remains to be seen.
Cyclists are generally good people. We share a spare tube when someone flats and we send rider back to pace somebody home if they have bonked. But what do we do when a friend loses a small business that is vital to the cycling scene and the town’s economy?
We ride. Really what else can you do? After the fire there was an outpouring of support for the shop’s owner and he quickly thanked those who offered kind words on his Facebook page. But those who frequented Outdoor Elements wanted to do something a bit more tangible. So yesterday one of the shop regulars suggested a Saturday morning ride to show solidarity with the shop owner. Soon enough a Facebook event was created, invites went out and in less than 24 hours a crew of about 20 showed up bright and early to go for a spin in support of the shop owner.
It was a great ride. Rides in that area always are but that’s not the point. What was important was to get out and show the guy who would true your wheels the night before a race when there are other bikes ahead f you on the bench that you appreciated what he does for the cycling community.
Good shop owners are vital to the success of a local cycling scene. They organize weekly rides, put on races and sponsor costly and time consuming events. We can show our support by of course shopping locally and sharing our love of cycling that will ultimately bring more business to local bike shops.
Today required something a little more, a gesture to say that we appreciate what you do and we’ll be back when you are.
It’s too soon to say when the shop owner expects to be up and running again so today we got to ride with him and say “John McNair, for putting on races, tuning skis at the last minute and everything you do for recreation in the area: thank you and we’ll be back when you are.”