Happy Friday, Clarksville!
We are shifting gears and taking a short break from the restaurant scene and visiting a local business that can help you get out and burning off all those extra calories from chowing down at all our great eateries around town. We know it’s been winter(ish) lately, but those few warm days we’ve had here and there have us thinking of all the fun stuff we can do in the great outdoors. So come ride along as we talk with the folks at Riverside Bicycle Shop In this week’s #FeatureFriday.
We got the privilege of talking with Neil Baggett, a third-generation native Clarksvillian, who runs the bicycle shop with his Dad, Mark. Neil says he always liked bikes but discovered how much he LOVED bikes when he was around 12 and got his first road bike for Christmas. He loved the freedom he felt being able to just go out and ride until it was time to come home and get his chores done. That was before Clarksville started seeing such a massive growth and there were plenty of country roads to go exploring.
Neil learned another thing at a young age…that he is gifted at helping people. His helping people has led him on an interesting path. He started out teaching middle school and high school English. After a few years of teaching, he became a student and learned to be a bicycle mechanic so he could open his own bicycle repair service. And, still wanting to help even more, he also became a firefighter.
Neil has been a firefighter for 12 years, working a 24 hours on/48 hours off schedule, he knew he would need someone to help him if he was going to make his dream of running a bike repair shop a reality since he wasn’t available full time to operate the business. That’s where his Dad comes in.
Mark Baggett was a jeweler by trade. When the economy started tanking around 2008, his business declined, and he realized he needed a change. He jumped in with both feet and learned as much as he could in his son’s absence about bike repairs. Mark is mechanically minded, very much into the details, and the two slowly but steadily built a successful bicycle repair shop.
Customers started asking advice about purchasing bikes, so Neil slowly started selling bikes. The business grew from a tiny, 900 square foot repair shop to the store’s current location at 101 North Riverside Drive, where they do maintenance, repairs, and sell new and used bikes. They also sell clothing, accessories and gear for everyone from kiddos to adults.
Riverside Bicycle Shop also has two master mechanics on staff who are avid cyclists and active in the local biking scene. Any of the staff members can help you determine what type of bike will best suit your needs based on your desired activity, such as commuting or mountain biking, and your budget.
They sell bikes from some of the best manufacturers, like Giant, Cannondale, GT and Scott. If you still can’t make up your mind after a free consultation from the team, they’ve got bikes you can take out for a short spin and even some rentals.
Looking to trade up? Talk with the fellas to see if they have something that will work for you. If they don’t, they can steer you in the direction of something suitable.
Clarksville has two great places to ride mountain bikes, one in Rotary Park and one at North Ford Street. Riverside Bicycle Shop occasionally partners with Clarksville Area Mountain Bike Alliance, or CAMBA TN, which is a non-profit community organization working to build, foster and maintain multi-use trails in the Clarksville area.
We LOVE the bike rack outside with kids’ bikes. They bikes are low-cost or free, recycling them keeps them out of landfills. Some are in good shape, some need a little love. Just ask inside if you want one. But don’t forget to grab a brain bucket! Helmets are required for anyone under the age of 16…but they’re smart for everyone! Don’t neglect your noodle!
We love that we have such a passionate group of people that wants to help build our community with places and ways we can get outside and get more active. We are a city that has fantastic food and activities. Riverside Bicycle Shop is on a mission to share ALL the gems in our area, it is evident when they talk about what they love, Clarksville and bikes. They want to help make this place we call home more vibrant, more accessible, one bike at a time. Just one more reason we love our #LocalBusinesses.
Riverside Bicycle Shop is located at 101 North Riverside Drive. Their phone number is 931-647-9996. Their website is www.riversidebicycleshop.com. They can also be found on Facebook and Instagram @riversidebicycle.
Written by Stacie Shonkwiler, @thewordingwizard