Passionate cyclists operates two store fronts to cater to every cyclist’s need
Chris Wild of Eaton Bikes is more than a bicycle enthusiast. He and his wife Yolande personally own about a dozen and Chris routinely goes for “casual” 30-mile bike rides on Sundays with a group of friends.
“We go to Baby’s Coffee and back. Some riders decide to go a few extra miles down Boca Chica Road, others turn back early. It is a great ride,” Wild said. “We leave from Conch Republic Cycle at 7:30 a.m.”
Wild has owned Eaton Bikes for a decade and expanded the operation to a high-end bicycle shop on Simonton Street that custom fits bicycles for their riders — Conch Republic Cycle. Specialists measure the cyclist to custom fit the ride — positioning the seat post and handlebars, for example — allowing for a more efficient transfer of energy.
“You would be surprised at how many people have their bikes adjusted incorrectly,” he said.
Wild sells bikes ranging in price from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand. Precision is key in the more expensive models, for example a high-end bike features brakes that can stop on a dime with gentle finger pressure. And the variety is endless — Cannondale street bikes, Felt beach cruisers with huge tires, tandem bikes that can seat two people, trikes that are perfect for carrying items and “Art Cycles,” bicycles brilliantly painted by local artists such as Steve “Koz” Koslowski, Fran Decker and Christine Fifer. The art bikes often exceed the $1,000 price point, but make for an excellent conversation piece. To add a less expensive to an otherwise ordinary bicycle, customers can buy a hand-painted bell for considerably less.
Despite all the bells and whistles, Wild said his primary concern is safety. He habitually recites traffic laws whether a customer is buying or renting.
“Cycling awareness will lead to a better ride for everybody,” he said.
Eaton Bikes is located at 326 Southard Street and Conch Republic Cycle is located at 421 Simonton Street, both in Key West. For more information, log on to www.eatonbikes.com.