STERLING – Mead’s Bike Shop is a cycling store that rivals any you’ll find in the big city when it come to quality, selection – and experience.
Owner Bryce Mead, who opened the shop in 2004 with his wife, Marcy, is a five-time Illinois State Time Trial Champion, and he raced professionally for the Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team in 2006-09, in some of the most competitive races in America and even internationally.
“I began in 1996 as a mechanic at another local store, and after that store closed down I opened a repair shop, and it’s turned into this,” Mead said, standing in a beautiful new showroom at 414 Locust St., across from Taco Bell. “We started out on Third Street and grew our business there. I bought this building last summer.”
The store is doing so well, in fact, that Mead is expanding again.
“I bought the building next door [to the north] so we can expand the shop to have space for the used bikes and also more space for the professional bike fits,” he said.
“My professional cycling has provided depth for the business, so it also draws people from outside the area,” said Mead, a 1999 Rock Falls High grad. “It works out well, because it also helps other businesses like restaurants and hotels.”
He credits the consistency of the store staff for the continued success of the business.
“My wife and I both operate the business, and we’ve had well-experienced mechanics, stay with us ... some for over 5 years,” Mead said. “People remember good service.”
Doug Carolus is one of their mechanics.
“I’ve been working here for almost 6 years,” Carolus said. “It’s a really nice place to work. They treat people well and the atmosphere’s nice.
“We work on everything from 30-year-old Schwinns to the new high-end bikes. I’ve been able to fix anything I’ve worked on.”
The store specializes in Trek products but offers bikes, components and accessories, from manufacturers like Gary Fisher, Mirraco (a BMX brand) and Oakley. The showroom displays new top-of-the-line bikes, bike components, cycling gear and apparel.
Customers can find comfort bikes, hybrid, mountain and road bikes. Meads also offers “women specific” models, which, Mead says, is a huge market now.
Their staff also has the expertise to set up a customer to experience the best ride.
“We do professional bike fits,” Mead said. “We make sure you’ve got the right size frame, make sure the saddle fits well, that the seat post is the right height, and the handle bars are comfortable.”
Mead started by selling used bikes, and that’s still a large part of their business.
“A lot of customers want to upgrade from their old bike, so we do trade-ins and offer certified pre-owned bikes,” he said. “That’s been a phenomenal thing for us.”
The store also provides connections for cyclists in the area. Brochures and other informational pamphlets are available on biking races, popular bike ride maps, organized rides and clubs.
It’s also serves as a kind of home-base for the Sterling/Rock Falls area’s own Tempo Velo Cycling Club. The club, which has more than a hundred members, provides group rides and information on local bike rides, plus encouraging a sense of community and a healthy lifestyle.
Meads Bike Shop – 414 Locust St., Sterling – 815-626-4601 – www.meadsbikeshop.com – Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday – Also on Facebook