Bicycle Depot in Waldo–Ready for All Area Cyclists

So often in Brookside and Waldo, you’ll patronize a business that you can really feel the owner has a passion for:  think of our local restaurants like Plate and Bella Napoli, or Brady and Fox; SKINKC, locally made chemical free products for your body; SOAP Refill Station creates ecofriendly cleaning products that uses recycled containers.  Dave Reinert, owner of Bicycle Depot in Waldo, has that passion. His passionate hobby  of repairing bikes turned into a full time business.

Bike Depot in Waldo
Dave Reinert and Bruce Homstad

Dave spent many years as a schoolteacher in public and private schools; at the same time, he spent 20 years repairing bikes out of his basement based on word of mouth referrals.  Business increased drastically during the pandemic, and with a “gentle push” from his family, he decided to open his own storefront.  Dave had experience working with non profit bike organizations, and stopped driving a car years ago. His brother also owns a bike shop in Minneapolis.   “I wanted to do something good for the environment. I have a real love for green transportation; it’s generally quiet and good for your health.  I regularly buy everything I need here in Brookside/Waldo  and wanted to open my shop in the area.  I live just a few blocks away! “   

Bicycle Depot focuses on bike service and repair (including electric bikes)  and sells bikes from State Bicycle Company and Batch Bicycles.   “The quality of these products is so much better than you will find at a big box store, and the riding experience will be much better” Dave says.  He also stocks some supplies like helmets and gloves.  He will take bike donations and sells used ones as well. Service and repair are his focus; you can walk in and get a free assessment of the problem, the cost to repair and the general turnaround is one or two days.  Longtime cyclists in the area may recognize Bruce Homstad in the shop, who worked for Family Bicycles—he’s been a certified bike technician for 30 years so you know…these guys know what they are doing when it comes to keeping your bike tuned up and ready to ride!

Bicycle Depot opened in March at 220A W 75th St; across the street from the Aldi parking lot and just east of the busy 75th and Wornall intersection.  Fall weather is a perfect time to ride, and there are so many trails in our area (Dave has a map!) so stop in and get to know Dave and Bruce for your bicycle needs.  They will make sure your ride is the best it can be!

Bike Shop Changes Owners in Waldo

I am SO glad to be back writing a blog about a new business in the Brookside/Waldo area!   There is another bike shop option in our neighborhood–offering electric bikes!

bike display

Pedego Kansas City opened in mid March, in the space of the former Family Bicycles at 7335 Broadway.  This is the second dealership for local Brookside resident Dan Cain, who has another store in Columbia MO along the Katy Trail.   Pedego is the number one brand of electric bikes in America, according to Navigant Research.

Bruce and Dan

Bruce Homstead, left and Dan Cain

When I stopped by the store recently, Dan explained that each bike is ordered, assembled and delivered to specifically fit its owner.  There are several designs:  cruisers, commuters, folding latch, fat tire, mountain and tandem–each style built to perform on a specific terrain. The shop also carries a full line of helmets, baskets/bags, and Pedego branded wear.    The bikes are powered by a line of lithium-ion batteries, with ranges of 20-70 miles per charge depending on the specific battery.  The bikes operate with pedal assist, throttle, or as a regular bike.   Each comes with a five year warranty.

Curious about riding an electric bike?  Give it a try—Pedego Kansas City offers rentals as well, starting at just $10 per hour.  There are group discounts and weekly rates.  You can also stop by the store and take a test drive in the large parking lot in front of the shop.  Dan noted that due to COVID-19, just two patrons are allowed in the shop at this time, and he regularly disinfects everything with a hospital grade disinfectant.

I also wanted to mention that long time bike repair expert Bruce Homstead is back at the shop, working on Pedego and regular bikes for repair—so feel free to bring your manually powered bike in when it needs a tune up or repairs.

Pedego Kansas City is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-6pm; Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 12-4. Stop in and try a new bike adventure!

The Bike Shop–A Midtown Treasure

The  Bike Shop at 5100 Troost..this is an example of how someone can take their passion and turn it into a thriving community service!  You’ve probably noticed more and more bicyclists along the road during these warmer days, especially on Saturday mornings.  Thanks to Kansas City resident Elizabeth Bejan and her bike store, a good quality used bike is now available for anyone.

The Bike Shop, 5100 Troost

The Bike Shop is part of RevolveKC, a non-profit group Elizabeth started a few years ago.  Here, anyone can ‘earn a bike’ by taking a bike safety course and passing a simple skills test or by volunteering at the Bike Shop.  You can also get information on how to use your bike for commuting, donate old bicycles for refurbishing or buy a used bike.

One of the coolest aspects of the Bike Shop is its building at 5100 Troost.  Formerly a gas station, this all brick building is easily accessible by bike and has a comfortable retro vibe.  It sits next to the Green Impact Zone, a 150 block area patched with urban blight and decay.  Elizabeth offers a special deal on bikes to residents of this Zone.

Elizabeth Bejan

Interested in joining a weekly bike ride group?  The Bike Shop has that covered as well.  Elizabeth’s business partner, Theresa Van Ackeren, owns Family Bicycles in Waldo.  Every Monday night,  Theresa hosts a moderately paced  bike ride around Kansas City  The ride departs at 6:30pm from the Family Bicycles location at 7410 Wornall.

If you’ve been thinking of using your bike more often–or need a bike for yourself, a friend or a child–stop by The Bike Shop (or Family Bicycles).  You’ll find friendly information and advice, along with encouragement to get you started!  Both businesses have  Facebook page.

Support Local Businesses–Family Bicycles on Wornall

She had to leave the corporate world.                                                                                                    

Theresa Van Ackeren, Managing Director of Family Bicycles, worked years at DST.  Finally, she quit–the steady paycheck, paid vacation, retirement plan and healthcare coverage.  She wasn’t happy and wanted something new.  Her last day of regular employment was in April 2007–just before the economy started the swan dive.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

She decided to open a bike shop.  Her father was an avid cycler, and her sister convinced her to ride the Katy Trail.  Theresa was hooked.  After quitting her job, she biked day after day..taking  a few months off to refocus and then  write a business plan for the store.  In March 2008, as the recession spread, Theresa opened Family Bicycles at 7140 Wornall.  And she’s still in business, with four full time employees and two part time, offering her staff a 401K plan and health insurance.  This is one of  the locally owned and operated business that area residents love to support.

One of my first questions to Theresa was, ‘how can you compete with the big box store for bike sales?’ .  A simple answer:  service and product. A customer walking into her store is immediately greeted with a smile and offer of help.  She and her staff will take the time to educate the buyer on the bike that works best for their particular needs–whether it’s a child’s bike to ride around the neighborhood, a racing bike or a motorized bike.  Theresa explained that the bicycles she sells–particularly for children–are ‘built to withstand use and abuse’–and the big box store bikes are not.  It’s a higher quality of bike,  with better components and metals. This is important when the bike is handed down to the next kid in line.  In addition, Family Bicycles will take the bike as a trade in when it’s time for a new model. 

Besides selling bikes, Family Bicycles offers a full service repair shop.  The store also stocks plenty of gear–shoes, reflectors,bags,  tires, apparel.  They also have information on upcoming races in KC and beyond, they are open seven days a week and the store recycles.  Every Monday night you can join Theresa for the Family Bike Ride that starts at 6:30–an easy 8-10 mile neighborhood ride that starts at the store. (Bring your helmet and bike light).

Finally, here are two of my favorite things about Family Bicycles:  the store radio station is always set on local NPR station KCUR, and it’s SO EASY to park there!  Besides street parking, there is a lot adjacent to the building that’s easy to get in and out of on always-busy Wornall.  This store has that laid back, relaxing atmosphere  that says ‘come in, hang out, say hi, we’re here to help you’…a store that fits in perfectly with the overall vibe of Brookside/Waldo.