Feb 15 2008
Calhoun Cycle is a full service bike shop specializing in folding and recumbent bikes and high quality accessories. The shop is located in the uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis Minnesota. We also own Calhoun Rental which is a rental shop in uptown just a block from the Lake Calhoun Trailhead for the Chain of Lakes.
What do boomerangs have to do with a shop specializing in cool, funky bikes and high quality accessories all wrapped up in a huge pile of tires of all sizes (and yes, I mean ALL sizes)? Pretty much everything!
Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not too far off. Before Calhoun Cycle was a rental shop and a retail shop, it was your basic little basement shop with a young greasy fingered bike mechanic owner that thought riding & fixing bikes and making and selling boomerangs was all that a person needed in life. As the story goes he and his girlfriend spent a weekend at the National Sports Center selling boomerangs at an event called the Earth Sports Expo. The Expo was centered around the 1993 World HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) Championships.
The event was pretty much a commercial flop except for the fact that the mechanic kid (Luke) learned that his girlfriend (Mary) was way cool and that there was a world of funky bikes that they’d hardly ever seen, much less ridden and worked on. The event showed off bikes that could go faster than he’d ever imagined and the riders were pretty normal looking guys that were happy to chat about a boomerangs, mountain bikes, road bikes, recumbent bikes, folding bikes, bike tires… The booths selling things (beyond the famous Z-Rang Boomerang booth) included folding bikes that were real bikes and recumbent bikes. John Schlitter (currently an owner of Bacchetta Bikes) who was working for RANS was at the event giving test rides on RANS Stratus and Nimbus recumbents.
While there weren’t crowds of people begging to buy the ever-cool and fun Z-Rangs, there were crowds of people dying to shop for and test ride recumbents and folding bikes. Mary pointed out a line of people at the RANS booth waiting for their turn to test ride a recumbent as a new world of customers. Well, I was falling in love with her, and yes, we both saw the line of people wanting to ride the recumbents (as well as folding bikes)…
The history starts there.
I (Luke) got a couple of recumbents to use as rental bikes and see what they were about. The ride was fun and the point of view was phenomenal. My favorite thing to do on a bike was to tour long distances, and I could easily see the advantages of doing a tour on a recumbent.
While I had toured extensively in the Soutwest US, Europe, the UK, South America, India, Nepal and Thailand on road and mountain bikes I could see great potential in using a recumbent as a touring bike. So Mary and I (married now) did a trip to New Zealand touring on recumbents. It went so well that we went back with our only child (Sophie). That was so much fun we decided to tour New Zealand a few years later with our two daughters (adding Margaret to the Burley). Our youngest, Allison has yet to tour New Zealand on a bike, but she’ll likely get a chance one day.
So with a lot of touring experience and a lot of technical bike knowledge Mary and I have shaped Calhoun Cycle to have a great selection of recumbent and folding bikes. These bikes are surrounded by a huge assortment of racks, bags of all shapes and sizes, tires, pedals etc., etc. It’s definitely a place that geekiest of bike geeks can feel comfort, yet we work hard to make all feel welcome (sometimes a challenge being that the shop doesn’t have a single bike shaped like what most would regard as “normal”).