“Bicycling is one of the least expensive ways to get to work. Maintenance and upkeep of bicycles is relatively inexpensive and food is the only fuel needed!”
— Bicycle Commuter’s Handbook, prepared for the North Texas Clean Air Coalition
It may be just an excuse, but I’ve heard people say that, sure, they’d commute to work by bicycle if only there were a place to take a shower and a secure storage area for the bike.
Bernie Scheffler hopes to remedy those problems — at least for bike commuters who work in downtown Fort Worth or take the train from there to Dallas — when he opens his new bike shop, Trinity Bicycles, on April 16.
The shop, at 207 S. Main St. in a 1909 building that once housed the Sawyer grocery store on the southern edge of downtown, was still being fitted out on Saturday when I stopped by.
As we talked amid construction debris and the bare studs for walls to enclose the shower area, Scheffler acknowledged that a lot of work needs to be done during the next two weeks, but he said he’ll be ready to handle bike commuters from the start.
“Commuter amenities will include early and late hours, an indoor parking rack for those who are riding to the train but don’t want to leave their bike at a station, showers, towel rental, coffee in the mornings, etc.,” Scheffler said. “How much of that we have in place on Day 1 depends on how soon we can get into the building, but those are the plans. At the very least, we will have showers and parking on Day 1.”
Trinity Bicycles is within a short walk of the T&P Station of the Trinity Railway Express, the commuter line that runs between Fort Worth and Dallas. It’s also on a major bus route into downtown.
Scheffler, 31, said he believes that Trinity Bicycles will be the only bike shop in Texas — other than Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny’s in Austin — to offer shower facilities for commuters. At Trinity Bicycles, commuters can rent towels for a buck or bring their own.
The shop will also offer same-day bike repair. “In most cases,” says the shop’s Web site, “if you let us know ahead of time (so that we can be sure to have any necessary parts on hand), we can complete your bike repair or maintenance the same day, so your bike will be ready to ride home.”
As a commuter hub, the inventory of Trinity Bicycles will focus on practical, durable bikes for riding to work and running errands — such as Dutch commuter cycles and the Kona Ute cargo bike — or for long-distance touring — like the Surly Long Haul Trucker. The shop will also “carry fenders, racks, quality lighting systems, rain gear, bike luggage, and all the other accessories you need to travel by bike.”
Trinity Bicycles, Bernie said, also aims to be as eco-friendly as possible — by selling only biodegradable lubes and cleaners; recycling old bike tires; using water-based solvents for cleaning bike components; contracting with an energy provider that gets its power from such alternative sources as the wind; and refurbishing and reusing many of the fixtures and fittings — such as counters and storage cabinets — from the old building’s past life.
The site of Trinity Bicycles is a story in itself. Henry Sawyer had operated a grocery on the near south side at the corner of South Main and East Daggett Avenue since around 1888.
In 1909 and 1910, he moved his expanding business into new brick buildings in the 200 block of South Main, now occupied by Trinity Bicycles, an architectural firm and upstairs apartments.
After the grocery closed in the late 1920s, the buildings were used for a time by a variety of other enterprises and then left vacant and deteriorating. During the past several years, local developer Eddie Vanston of the Carillon Group has been bringing the old buildings back to life.
The restoration will be nearly complete with the opening of Trinity Bicycles — a place that the shop’s Web site calls “our little corner of bicycle heaven.”