There's lots to like about Mike's Bikes, which just opened at 324 N. Euclid (next to Wolfgang's Pet Stop), not the least of which are the laid-back owners, Eric Schlling, left, and Matt McRedmond, right. Though the pair became friends as neighbors living downtown on Washington Avenue, they spent a lot of time in the CWE. Their "aha" moment came when they realized there was a need for a bike shop in this neighborhood with its large number of bike riders and proximity to Forest Park.
After I met Matt and Eric earlier this week, I asked "so where's Mike?" It turns out that "Mike" is a made-up character. After many months of receiving mysterious hang-up calls on his cellphone, Matt finally answered saying "Mike's Bikes," and the calls stopped. When the pair was trying to come up with a name for the new shop, their friends asked how they could call it anything but...
Eric is the business person behind the operation and Matt is the avid biker, who has been building bikes for family and friends since his college days in Chicago. Colorful bikes were big on campus and friends would bring in older Schwinns for Matt to custom design, color-coordinating seats, tires, handle bars, pedals etc.
Mike's Bikes single-speed line, above, can be custom-designed so that the color of the rim, tires, seat and style of the handle bars are your choice, starting at $500. Matt's theory is that if you build your bike and love it, you'll ride it. Single-speed bikes, big in many urban areas, are designed for city riding, where more gears requiring more maintenance are unnecessary.
Mike's Bikes is a full-service repair shop too. It offers quick turnaround---most repairs can be completed in an hour or less, and the prices are terrific. The shop also offers bike rentals, which include a lock and helmet, for $10 an hour, $40 a day, or $100 a week. Weekend rentals are $75.
Mike's Bikes carries a great selection of bike gear, with more stock arriving every day. An array of bike helmets is priced at $50 each. If you don't see the one you want, they can order it and get it in quickly. The shelf above holds a selection of handle bars, pedals, and bike locks, which range in price from $25 to $40.
The photo above shows an example of Matt McRedmond's skill combining original and new parts on a older Raleigh model. Matt and Eric are bringing the stand, above, to the LouFest in Forest Park August 25 & 26, where they will offer free repairs while bikers enjoy the music.
Be sure to stop and say hello tomorrow, Saturday, for Mike's Bikes Grand Opening. The celebration starts at 10:30 a.m. with a bike ride in Forest Park. From 11 to 3 there will be music, giveaways, complimentary food and beverages (beer provided by Magic Hat Brewery).
Mike's Bikes, 324 N. Euclid, summer hours (May through September) are 10-6 Tues. to Fri., 9-5 Sat. & Sun., closed Mons., (314) 875-0080 (if they answer "Mike's Bikes," you've got the right number!).