LARSON: Cycling friends peddle goodwill throughout community

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

Trent Spake, a cycling enthusiast, had been physically working out with friends Brent Taylor and Brian Murphy for several years. Then in 2008, the wheels in their heads started turning.

“We realized we were all tired of having to drive 50-plus minutes to the nearest decent bike shop and still not getting decent service. We were, and still are, passionate about cycling and general lifelong fitness and wanted a venue to reach out to others and infect others with an exciting activity in a healthy lifestyle,” the Snellville resident said.

So the trio opened a bike shop called C Town Bikes in Conyers.

It was about the time the economy started to tank and Spake recalls feeling a little apprehensive. But for them it turned out to be a good thing considering gas prices were rising and people were looking for ways to save money.

“We dug deep financially and mentally but we have to give most of the credit to our Friends of the Bike Shop who supported us and promoted us like unpaid outside sales people,” Spake said. “In the two years we’ve existed we’ve enjoyed working with new comers to the sport of cycling. Many new folks have incorporated it into their daily life.

Some now commute to work via bikes, some have raced their first triathlon, and some have completed their first century bike ride of 100 miles.”

But their cycle shop has been about more than just peddling bikes.

“Eddie Shirey, a cycling advocate from Conyers, has been working with us as we’ve gotten involved with local communities and local governments to make the area more suitable for cyclists. We’re working with schools and the DOT to add bike lanes for kids traveling to and from school and to install safe storm drains that bike tires can ride over. We also work with nonprofits to extent multi-use paths across the entire county.”

One of their big fundraising events supports Pave the Path, an effort to lengthen what is already the longest paved bike path in the nation. For a time, Conyers will be the eastern terminus of this path which will reach from Conyers to Anniston, Ala.

C Town Bikes also works with under privileged kids.

“Customers and friends have collected used bikes from the community, repaired them and given them to kids at the Washington Street Community Center in Covington. We also provided them with helmets and instructions on safe riding.”

“The best part of this is that we’ve all made some really good friends out of it that we would never have made. I’m 33 years old and some of my best friends have come through the cycling world while building our community bike shop. They range from 14 to 70 now. I never thought I could have related and have such a good time with some many different generations.”

For more information about this circle of cyclists, visit www.ctownbikes.com

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.