Feel like a Kid again — Ride a Bike!


bikes-2It’s springtime, it’s May and it’s National Bike Month. And what better way to celebrate the long-awaited summer than feeling a warm breeze on your face while pedaling down a bike trail, taking in all of nature’s glorious beauty! Whether you enjoy the thrill of mountain biking or a leisurely ride, Michigan is the place for cyclists. There are more than 1,300 miles of bike trails across the state where enthusiasts can travel down rolling hills, through lush forests and alongside lakes, rivers and streams. Genesee County has seen a growing popularity in bicycle riding and has plenty of biking trails. My City Magazine caught up with local bike shop owners to talk about the popularity of biking, its health benefits and how to they celebrate National Bike Month.
“Bicycle means simplicity and simplicity means happiness!” Mehmet Murat ildan

Al’s Quick Release

bikes-6In 1990, Al Comstock started a bike business in his garage. As it began to grow, he moved his venture to the Davison area and today, Al’s Quick Release is located on West Flint Street in the former Kellogg’s Grocery Store building. According to Al, biking has gained popularity in the past ten years because of numerous bicycle/pedestrian paths being built in the country. “Cyclists feel a lot more comfortable when they don’t have to deal with cars,” he laughed. Michigan leads with the most miles of bicycle/pedestrian paths, partially because Gov. Rick Snyder is promoting them. Also, the Rails to Trails Conservancy has assisted in converting old railroad beds into paths, Al added.

bikes-5At Al’s Quick Release, you’ll find a variety of bikes including Raleigh, GT, Redline, We The People, Sun, Scwinn and Torker. “Some of our more popular bikes are the comfort bicycles, or path bikes,” he says. Fat-tire bikes are becoming very popular because they are smooth and versatile, and electric assist bicycles are also gaining interest, he added.

To celebrate National Bike Month, Al’s Quick Release offers tune-up specials in May. They will be starting their Thursday evening casual rides, with participants typically cycling about 12 miles. “My son and I have cycled to his school during Ride Your Bike to Work Week for the last couple of years,” Al said. “Bicycle riding is low-impact, has cardiovascular benefits, keeps leg muscles strong and is fun for the whole family.” ♦



bikes-8bikes-9Ron Stack opened Cyclefit Sports in 2002 in Fenton after two local bike shops had closed. “Being the town bike geek, it seemed like an obvious choice and a great opportunity to do something I was passionate about,” laughs Ron. Cyclefit sells many brands and even stocks some of the same brands and models as the large department stores. “We do this so we can cover every price for every person’s budget, not just the enthusiast,” he said. Some of the brands they carry include Cannondale, Scott, Schwinn, GT, Raleigh, Diamondback, BMC, Borealis and Giant, to name a few. “But the Electra and their pedal forward design – or what I call ‘chair posture’ bikes – easily takes the title of most popular right now,” he reports.

bikes-7According to Ron, cycling is popular because it is very forgiving on the body. Most PTs and doctors prescribe cycling for rehabilitation to their patients with joint issues, he reports. “Because it is a no-impact activity, cycling is excellent for weight-loss management and general aerobic exercise. More than anything, cycling is popular because its feels like flying, only closer to the ground,” he says. “It’s freedom.” The health advantages include stress reduction, cardiovascular benefits, and improved lower back and leg strength. “It makes you feel like a kid again,” Ron smiles. In recognition of National Bike Month, Cyclefit wants to “get everyone on a bike.” They are working on a trail project, the Linden Argentine Fenton (LAF) Pathway. The first section will be along the Silver Lake Road corridor connecting Fenton to Linden. ♦


Assenmacher Cycling Centers

bikes-4Matt Assenmacher, owner of Assenmacher Cycling Center, worked and trained at the internationally known Bob Jackson Cycles in Leeds, England in the early ‘70s.  Under the guidance of Master Frame Builder Dan Foster, he learned the traditional English bicycle frame-building skills and design practices. The original Assenmacher custom bicycle shop opened in 1973 and was located in Mt. Pleasant, MI. In 1978, they moved the frame shop to Swartz Creek and a full-service retail bicycle shop was added. Today, Assenmacher Cycling Centers offers an extensive retail and repair shop as well as a custom frame shop where they do repair and refinishing.

bikes-3“We handle the two most popular quality bike brands in the United States, Trek and Specialized,” boasts Matt. “We also produce a limited number of Assenmacher frames and bicycles.” Matt says his most popular models include fitness and hybrid style bikes as well as mountain and off-road models. According to Matt, bicycling has been on a recent growth curve because it is an easy and fun way to stay fit and active, and there are more rail trails and paths for people to ride on. In addition, there are organized events throughout the riding season, including the Tour de Crim, the Tour de Lacs, and the Assenmacher 100.

“Bicycle riding is something you can do your entire life and is a popular family activity,” Matt says. During National Bike Month, Assenmacher’s will support local cycling events as well as bicycle commuting initiatives. “We are directly involved in the Tour de Crim event as well as the Baker College Bicycle Refurbishing Program,” Matt reports. Bicycle riding reduces stress, improves coordination and is great for the heart, feet, knees and hips. “Cycling is a fun and effective way to increase overall health including strength, muscle tone and stamina, adds Matt.” Because it is low-impact, there are generally less injuries associated with cycling than other forms of exercise. ♦

Health Plus Tour de Crim
Saturday, May 17, 11am-3pm
The Crim Fitness Foundation invites the community to experience the Crim on two wheels! The second annual HealthPlus Tour de Crim ten-mile bicycle ride will offer new obstacles, a lower age limit (eight years and older) and more festival lot activities. The post-ride celebration will include interactive art stations, music, food, Michigan microbrews, soft drinks and artisan breads. There’s a little something for everyone, from families to serious cyclists.


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