• Thu September 13 2007
  • Posted Sep 13, 2007
By JOANNE BOECKMAN REGISTER STAFF WRITER Waukee Cycling & Fitness is positioned in the perfect spot for a bicycle shop - next to the Raccoon River Valley bike trail. The shop opened May 19. It carries bicycles, accessories and offers bike repairs and fittings. Customers shouldn't be fooled by owner Marvin Light's Arkansas drawl. He said he picked up the accent during the dozen years he lived in that state, but he grew up in Des Moines and attended Hoover High School. The funny thing, he said, is that his wife, Stacey, who is from Arkansas, doesn't have the accent. The couple and their two daughters, ages 1 and 4, live in Waukee. Having a young family makes it difficult to go bike riding, Stacey said, but her desire is to get to the stage where they can go on family rides. She is a full-time student at Drake University and works part-time in the shop. She described her husband as a cyclist lover. "He loves the sport and everything to do with it," she said. "It doesn't matter if it's a child riding a bike or a grandpa - he can help them."
Marvin, 36, told us about himself and his shop. Q. What is your personal history? A. I've been passionate about bikes all my life. I started racing bicycles when I was 12. I worked at Irwin's (bicycle shop) a couple of years and then moved to Fayetteville, Ark., about 12 years ago. I raced bikes and worked at a bike shop about four years, then the manager and I opened a shop together. I sold the shop after about six years to my partner in anticipation of moving home. I wanted to raise my family here. Iowa has good family values and a good school system and I wanted to be closer to family. I worked in insurance for awhile, but my love of the bicycle industry lured me back to it. I was surprised there wasn't a shop out this direction. Q. Is this shop like the last one you owned? A. It's different because the other shop was more mountain bikes with some triathletes. This one is more road bikes with more triathletes. Q. Explain mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrid bikes? A. Mountain bikes are designed to be ridden off-road. It gets you a little more in nature and you don't have to worry about cars. It's a challenging and fun way to get away from the city life and out into the country. Road bikes are good for long days of riding and covering a lot of ground. They're really fast. Hybrids are for people who are getting on the bike path and looking for exercise, riding with kids - they're good for that. Q. Are you still racing bikes? A. I haven't raced any this year. With the shop, everything is too overwhelming to get out and train. I love it. I like the excitement and adrenaline of racing. Q. What service do you offer in the shop? A. I have a full repair shop. We repair any make or brand. It's very seldom that I cannot fix something - unless it's in really bad shape. I'm also a professional bike fitter. I took a week-long class for that. Q. What does fitting bikes mean? A. Fitting (the rider to a bike) makes it safer for them, more comfortable and at the same time more efficient so they can set personal records. If they're comfortable on the bicycle, they're going to ride it a lot more. It will be more appealing. I have a room set aside that's private for fitting bikes. It takes about 2hours to fit people who are serious about racing or riding. By being in a private room, they're not sitting in the open, so they can talk about their plans for competing or personal things like losing weight. Q. What bicycles do you sell? A. Scott, Harrow, Masi and Kuota - I'm a new dealer for Iowa - and Serotta - I'm the dealer for Des Moines. We can build you a custom bike. The most popular are the road and hybrid bikes. Q. Do you sell used bikes? A. When I have them. They usually come in and go out pretty fast. Q. Is it an advantage to be along the bike trail? A. It definitely hasn't hurt. The thing people especially like, if they're testing a bike, they can actually get out and test ride it safely. It gives them a better feel for it. Q. Did the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) have much influence on your business? A. Oh, yeah. I opened about two months before RAGBRAI and I basically had to hit the ground running. It was kind of overwhelming. I had lots of repairs and with the people getting ready for RAGBRAI, I feel I really got the shop going in the right direction. Q. Have you ever ridden in RAGBRAI? A. Once, when I was 15. I think that was the longest RAGBRAI to date - it was 540 miles that year. Reporter Joanne Boeckman can be reached at (515) 284-8049 or [Waukee Cycling & Fitness is a BIKEIOWA SPONSOR]

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