The spring thaw is finally here, and bike enthusiasts are trekking out to local cycle shops for new wheels and tune ups. As luck has it, Detroiters will soon have several new options to take care of these needs. Both Metropolis Cycles and the Downtown Detroit Bike Shop are scheduled to open this spring, and another shop, Neeley & Son, is looking into a 2016 launch.
Metropolis Cycles will be making its home in a 3,200-square-foot building in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. Opening on April 8, it’ll be a full-service retail and repair shop geared towards commuters and new bike owners.
Metropolis may be a new venture, but it has some familiar faces. Proprietors Shayne O’Keefe and Ted Sliwinski are local mechanics who previously worked at the Hub, a well-known Detroit shop.
After learning bike repair at Back Alley Bikes, a earn-a-bike program tied to the Hub, O’Keefe was hired on and eventually became a general manager for the shop. He’s also a former owner of a bicycle lunch delivery service and a cycle-based curbside recycling pickup business, as well as a veteran of Detroit’s underground rock scene who currently handles drums for the band Touch. Sliwinski has been fixing bikes since he was 13 and is a founder of Detroit Moped Works, a moped repair shop.
Metropolis was born out of the overwhelming customer backlog O’Keefe experienced at the Hub.
“It just got to be so busy up there. They were bringing their own lawn chairs from home to wait in line all day,” he says. “So, I [thought], ‘I'm just going to start another shop on the other side of town.’”
Located at Michigan Avenue and Wabash, Metropolis will carry new bikes starting at $250, as well as rehabilitated vintage cycles. Bianchi and Raleigh will be the flagship brands, and customers will be able to buy children’s bikes, cycle-related gear and apparel.
Metropolis will be open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. O’Keefe expects the close proximity to hotspots like Slows Bar BQ and Astro Coffee will bring in foot traffic.
“It’s already popular for people visiting Detroit from other places. They go to get a good meal, hang out and get some drinks,” he says. “You’re right by the train station. Tour de Troit starts there—10,000 bicycle people right on the front door of our shop. It’s a pretty sweet customer base.”
Downtown Detroit Bike Shop
Metropolis and other shops will be facing competition, though, from the Downtown Detroit Bike Shop (DDBS), which plans to open in the Cass Corridor/Midtown this May.
The new store is something of a return for owner Jon Hughes, who also operates the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop. In 2013, he opened the Detroit shop at an Eastern Market location, but closed it due to landlord issues.
The new digs will be located at Cass and Petersboro, about a block-and-a-half from the Hub at the site of the former Mantra/Showcase Collectibles resale shop. DDBS’s 1,400-square-foot storefront will be part of a complex that will include a tattoo shop, restaurant and craft beer store. Shop hours are still being determined.
The offerings will be similar to the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop. Jamis and Felt will be the main bike brands, supplemented by Origin8, Pure Fix, Retrospec, Fyxation and other companies. A full range of accessories will also be available, and mechanics will be there to handle repairs.
There shouldn’t be landlord issues this time. Hughes is friends with Matt Hessler, who owns the building as well as the XS Tattoo shop in Rochester. The two have signed a ten-year lease agreement.
“I’m stoked,” says Hughes. “It’s going to be about three blocks away from the new stadium. [There are plans] to put new bike lanes in on Cass. We’re excited to be able to get people new bikes and fix peoples’ bikes without [them] having to drive out of the city.”
Neeley & Son, Home of the East Side Riders
King Wayne Neeley, co-founder of the East Side Riders bicycle club, is also planning to start a new shop with his son Dywayne. Located on the East Side, it would appropriately be called Neeley & Son. The Neeleys won a $10,000 Knight Foundation matching funds grant for the project in 2013 and are currently trying to raise capital to launch the venture.
“We want to do low-end and high-end bikes... Custom stuff like fenders, reupholstery, lights, sound, music,” he says. “We’re going to cater to the people. We’re not going to just have this high-end stuff where it’s ridiculous—$2000 or more for a bike.”
Neeley is looking for a space on Gratiot near Chene. He’d like to open by June 2016.