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New shops in Catonsville geared to meet cyclists' growing needs

For the past few years, Scott Westcoat has witnessed a groundswell of support for cycling in the Catonsville community.

The longtime Catonsville resident saw more families riding their bikes together and many people biking to work and navigating Catonsville's streets by bicycle.

The county has designated bike lanes along Edmondson Avenue, and Catonsville Rails to Trails, a group that promotes healthy living through trail enhancements, is working to provide more bike trails around Catonsville

Perfect time to open a bike shop — or two, Westcoat said.

On Oct. 15, Westcoat and his partners will open The HUB and C'ville Bikes at 821 and 827 Frederick Road, respectively.

The HUB will offer high-end bikes, accessories and apparel, while C'ville Bikes will offer more family-oriented, lower-cost bikes, accessories and apparel.

C'ville Bikes will also include a room dedicated to BMX, dirt jumping and children's bikes.

Both shops will offer bike repair and share a mechanic's area, located behind the stores in the open air courtyard known as Strawberry Fields. Combined, the two shops will have about 60 road, mountain, cyclocross, BMX, dirt jump, children's and comfort bicycles on the floor. An off-site warehouse will store additional bikes for sale.

"We want to cover the whole spectrum of bicycles, from the 12-inch little kids bicycles to (bicycles for) seniors," said Chris Adair, who co-owns the shops along with Westcoat and Westcoat's brother, Warren.

Westcoat, 48, has been riding and racing bicycles for almost 30 years. But recently, when he needed repair work or even tires or inner tubes for his bicycles, he found he had to travel to Ellicott City or Baltimore for service or parts.

"It became apparent that there was a need in the community," Westcoat said. "This fills the need."

The new shopcomes at the perfect time for local cyclists such as Joan Plisko, a longtime Catonsville resident.

Plisko said she is in need of a new bike but has been patiently waiting for the new shops to open before making her purchase.

"I've decided to wait for it to open to peruse their inventory and support a local business," she said. ""I'm happy there's going to be a convenient place so close to my home."

The shops will have six full-time employees and six part-time employees, Westcoat said.

In addition to bike sales and support, the shops will be home base for Changing Gears, a nonprofit organization established by Westcoat. The organization will repair and restore old bikes so they can be reused in communities around the world.

Westcoat, who owns a special events company called ASG Events, hopes to host community events around the shop, beginning with Oystoberfest, a grand opening festival with live music, oysters, food, giveaways and bike demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 27.

"We're a community bike shop," Westcoat said. "We're here for western Baltimore County, 21228 specifically."

Area business leaders said they are excited to have the shops open in the heart of Catonsville.

"To have a bike shop come in is just ideal," said Maureen Sweeney Smith, a volunteer and board member with Catonsville Rails to Trails.

The Short Line Trail, a 2.2-mile trail that starts behind the Charlestown retirement community on Maiden Choice Lane, will eventually extend to Frederick Road, a half a block from the shops, she said.

"I'm expecting (they) will be well received," Sweeney Smith said of the new shops. "We're going to be supporting them, and they're going to be supporting us."

The HUB, C'ville Bikes and special events will also enhance the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce's green initiative, designed to guide businesses into becoming more environmentally friendly, said Teal Cary, executive director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce.

"The chamber is always excited to have new businesses open in the community," Cary said. "We think it will be a great addition."

For information about the Oystoberfest in the open air courtyard behind The Hub and C'Ville Bikes known as Strawberry Fields, go to http://www.cvilleoysterfest.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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