Kassy Mason isn’t your typical cycling enthusiast. She is a professionally trained bike mechanic with a deep devotion to her community, one that is best showcased on wheels. She and her husband, Jon, own Recycle Bike Shop & Mobile Repair, a full-blown bike store run entirely out of their uniquely-outfitted truck. “Empowering people to fix their bike, ride their bike, stay on their bike and be healthier on a bike is really what draws me in,” she explains.
The Flint couple works together to bridge the gap for area residents who have a tight budget and a need for reliable transportation. “With the help of the donations we receive, we customize bikes and because using a vintage or used bike is so affordable, we can help someone get a bike who couldn’t afford one,” says Mason, smiling at the thought of helping their customers gain new independence.
“It’s getting fresh air through your nose, in our hair,
taking a deep breath and enjoying the moment.”
The Masons launched their business in 2016. During the off-season, they are often seen parked at The Good Beans Café at 328 N. Grand Traverse Street in Flint. When the weather warms up, they take their place Downtown among the outdoor vendors at the Flint Farmers’ Market. “We find spots in the community where there’s a need for us,” explains Mason, pointing to their Facebook page as the best way to know where they’ll set up shop. “We have set times when customers can come to us, and we post our schedule and location every Monday.”
May marks National Bike Month, the perfect chance to pedal the many benefits of bicycling in hopes that more people will see and feel the joy of riding. “Not only is it fitness, it’s good for your mental well-being. It’s an escape. It’s clearing your mind,” describes Mason, almost as though she’s speeding down the trails. “It’s getting fresh air through your nose, in your hair, taking a deep breath and enjoying the moment.”
Along with the standard sales and services the Masons offer, they also focus on education by leading bike repair classes in Flint at Factory Two. Kassy takes the lead during some of them in hopes of eliminating the intimidation factor some women might feel. “We just try to break that barrier and try to empower people with the skills to fix their own bike, to change a flat,” she encourages, “because not only does that help you, it helps your friends, as well.”
So, what can you do to keep your own bike in good shape? Kassy says, “Lubricating your chain and keeping it clean is probably number one for preventative maintenance.” She also says it’s important to regularly check the air pressure of your tires, because proper inflation makes for a smoother, more enjoyable ride.
The Masons make sure they have time for social cycling, too, organizing various bike rides during the season on Thursday and Friday evenings to inspire people to explore the community with them. Their favorite riding places include the Flint River Trail, Stepping Stone Falls, and the new Grand Traverse Greenway Trail (which connects to the Genesee Valley Trail). For kids or beginners, Kassy suggests the Cycling Circles paths near Atwood Stadium.
The mobile bike shop is the Masons’ way of filling an immediate need. Kassy and Jon have big plans to establish firm roots with a permanent storefront, becoming a fixture in Flint’s continued revitalization. “We’re restoring a 100-year-old building in Carriage Town,” she reveals. “It takes time. We’re investing in our community and we’re trying to do things the right way.”
Follow Recycle Bike Shop & Mobile Repair at facebook.com/@recyclebikesflint.
Photography By Kayce McClure and Photos Provided by Kassy Mason