A former pawn shop on Pioneer Avenue that has been vacant for several years got a new owner and will see a business back in it next spring. Last Friday, Derek and Catriona Reynolds, owners of Cycle Logical, got title to the old Homer Trading Post building between the Homer Bookstore and Salvation Army. Cycle Logical held a “before” party to celebrate the purchase on Dec. 15.
Reynolds, founder of the business in 2006, said he hopes to have a remodel finished in three to four months. Reynolds plans to put in new insulation and sheetrock among other repairs.
“We’ve got quite a bit to do. We’re going to basically gut it,” he said on Monday. “If there’s nothing that can get it in the way, and I can get the project moving along, I would love to be done by the end of the March.”
Now located in a shopping complex on East End Road near Kachemak Gear Shop, Cycle Logical will move from that space to a more central location in downtown Homer. Cycle Logical sells new bicycles and gear and also does repairs. Reynolds said they also will close a Homer Spit rental and tour operation and consolidate the sales, repair and rental businesses in the new spot. An active bicyclist, Reynolds has helped popularize fat biking, the wide tired bicycles that can be ridden both on snow and beaches.
“I really enjoyed being on the Spit, but it’s not viable for this business,” Reynolds said of the rental operation. “I have been looking for one place to house it all.”
Parking at the Pioneer Avenue spot will be on the west side of the building and adjacent to Salvation Army. A driveway and lot is on the new Cycle Logical building property. Reynolds said they plan to be good neighbors to the thrift store and will coordinate plowing and sanding.
From Houghton, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, Reynolds, 39, came to Alaska in 2004 to visit a high school friend, Seth Ex. Reynolds had been an avid biker since high school. He graduated from Michigan Tech in Houghton with a bachelor of science in scientific and technical communications. Reynolds honed his bicycle mechanic skills at the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon.
“I got stuck more or less in the traditional Homer way,” he said. “I decided I needed to do something and thought, Hey, maybe I could pull off a bike shop. What have I got to lose?”
Since then, Reynolds has expanded his repair business into new bicycle sales. He sells road bikes, mountain bikes and fat bikes. At first Reynolds said he had some lean years, but business eventually picked up.
“Word of mouth works pretty well in this town. People started showing up. It seems to be working out,” he said.
At the United Bicycle Institute he learned to work on new bikes, but in Homer he repairs a lot of older bikes.
“They’ve got a lot of issues,” Reynolds said. “Definitely a lot of trouble shooting there. Thankfully, bikes are pretty simple and it’s easy to figure out.”
A member of the Homer Cycling Club, Reynolds has helped build new trails like Rolling Coal, a mountain bike trail at the Diamond Creek State Recreational Site. Reynolds’ wife, Catriona, is a former Homer City Council member, and also an avid bike commuter. With other members of the cycling club and through programs like Homer Shares the Road, they have worked to increase awareness of bicycles as not just for recreation but for commuting.
He said motorists seem to be more accepting and tolerant of bicyclists on the road.
“I know when I ride on the road I don’t get harassed as often,” Reynolds said. “I hear stories about harassment, but I feel like it’s less.”
From his perspective, Reynolds said he sees more people biking every year, especially recreational biking and on multi-user trails.
“People are definitely on the Spit and on East End Road more,” he said. “I feel like ridership has increased. I’m basing that on the success of the business.”
Reynolds said he thinks relocating to Homer’s main downtown street will work out.
“Location’s everything. The location is very sound. I think it will be good,” he said.
Financing of the purchase was through First National Bank Alaska. Denise Pitzman of the Kachemak Group was Cycle Logical’s Realtor.