John McClorey isn’t just the owner of Bikefix Cycling Center, he’s also an active rider, which makes him an expert both in his store and on the road. After practicing law for 22 years, he decided he needed “something I could see myself doing in 20 years.” Biking became the perfect fit. “I knew I wanted to work with tools and do something without having to wear a tie everyday—something that would keep me fit for years to come,” McClorey says. “I wanted to learn a technology deeply, studying all the ins and outs, and that’s how I ended up with bikes.”
Bikefix Cycling Center opened its doors to riders in 2001 and hasn’t stopped serving up bicycles and knowledge since. McClorey’s shop has everything one would need for bicycling. “I have access to a whole range of bikes from value frames to the highest technology, which happens to be American,” McClorey says. He’s currently in love with a Spot 29-inch single speed mountain bike, but says he’s not monogamous when it comes to his bikes.
McClorey’s dedication to two-wheelers begins with bike mechanics, and it’s a passion he loves to share. “I taught at the community college when I practiced law and always felt that a person never really knows a subject well until they teach it,” he says. “I also found myself teaching my customers on a daily basis and enjoying that process of explaining how to make bikes function properly.” McClorey also knew he had to do something to set himself apart from others, as well as keep himself busy in the off-season.
He started by teaching the class Wheel Building, which gives an overview of the basic components of a wheel hub and finishes with a completed, symmetrical front wheel. This spun off the idea for Bike Mechanics (three levels: Novice, Intermediate and Advanced). Out of these three classes, McClorey has created sub classes such as Drive Train Tune Up, a course about how to add a new chain to your bike. The Park Tool School (Park Tool Company makes bike tools in Minnesota and developed the curriculum and textbook McClorey uses) has an extensive list of classes that are available to anyone. His classes are a mixture of lecture and hands on and take place right in McClorey’s store, which doesn’t look like your typical bike shop. A remodeled old cottage, the store creates a personal environment while offering a professional experience.
Like a tailor fitting a custom dress or suit, Bikefix works with people so that the bike fits them, and not the other way around. Depending on the needs of the rider, McClorey reacts with top-of-the-line customer service. “I’m Bike Fix, it’s a whole identity,” he says with a chuckle. Although McClorey is an expert when it comes to biking, he says you don’t have to be. “Just ride!” he says enthusiastically. “Ride by yourself, ride with people, ride to the grocery store.”
In regards to maintenance, McClorey offers this simple piece of advice—“Mind your ABC’s,” he says. “Each time you ride, you should make sure there is Air in your tires, your Brakes are functioning and your Chain is oiled.” For more tips like this or an in-depth look at biking, stop in to the Bikefix or take one of McClorey’s classes. And if you can’t catch McClorey at his store, you’re bound to see him riding, taking on the trails in Petoskey or at Boyne Mountain, two of his favorite places to pedal. Either way, plan on seeing McClorey and Bikefix for at least the next twenty years. Until then, ride on. 231-582-6622, bikefixcyclingcenter.com.