We thought you might be interested in getting to know our shop owner/mechanic/general guru, Charlie Whitney, a little better!
me: Why did you choose Colchester for your shop?
Charlie: It's my hometown! I could see the need and benefits of a local bike shop for this area.
me: How long have you been working on bicycles?
Charlie: I took apart and put my bike back together at age 12. Professionally I started at a bicycle shop at age 16. I've worked at shops in Burlington, Richmond, Atlanta, GA, Boston and Cambridge, MA, and Lake Placid, NY.
me: What do you hope your patrons notice when they walk into your shop?
Charlie: A friendly, hometown atmosphere. This is their shop, not just mine. I want them to know that here they can find quality service and helpful advice for solving their cycling needs.
me: What about the ski part?
Charlie: We love skis! I've been tuning skis since I joined the CHS ski team in 1985. We will be offering base hand tuning, waxing, and tuning accessories. We will even teach you how to wax your own skis.
me: I'm excited to hear that you will be a rental shop too! What kinds of things will you be renting?
Charlie: Bicycles (fat bikes, hybrids, tandems, and kids bikes) in summer and nordic skis, snowshoes, and fat bikes in winter.
me: What's up with the profile photo? Do you race?
Charlie: The picture is from a practice ride for the Mt. Washington Autoroad Bicycle Hill Climb, which I raced twice. I don't have any bicycle races planned at the moment. I guess I"m more of an enthusiast than a racer, but I've always loved bicycles. In terms of competition, I was always a runner, and also competed in motorcycle trials.
me: What do you ride? What's your favorite bicycle?
Charlie: I love my new fat bike! But I have quite the collection of older "mutts" built of pieces and parts from other bicycles. My favorite is a 1939 Columbia with modern alloy rims laced onto the original hubs. And I still have my first road bike which turns 30 this year and is still my go-to bike. A testament to how long a bicycle can last if you take care of it!
me: Anything else you want your fellow bicycle enthusiasts to know?
Charlie: I'm really looking forward to meeting you all and learning about what you like. Come on in and let's talk bicycles!
Just a few more hurdles to clear and then the shop will truly be live. It's been a bit of a mad scramble from dream to reality, so many things go into opening a business... I really had no idea!
The response from the get-go has been nothing but positive from everyone I've come in contact with. The advice and encouragement from friends, business contacts, family and even strangers have all helped me keep this project moving forward; even when I thought I was in way over my head.
Thanks to all of you! I can't wait to show you the results.