DeKALB – Since 2004, the leadership of North Central Cyclery has been sharing their vision of cycling with the DeKalb area.
"I think one of the strengths of this shop is that we keep a very warm, welcoming environment because I know what it was like to walk in and not know anything about bikes," said Tobie DePauw, the store's general manager. "Bikes are wonderful. They're very good for people; they're good for a community. There's no reason why we shouldn't harbor that kind of feeling."
Now, the scope of that vision is expanding, thanks to NCC owner Franklin Heegaard's purchase of the Freeport Bicycling Co. in April. Heegaard and others will host an open house at the new store at 120 S. Chicago Ave. in Freeport on July 19.
Heegaard said he was looking to buy another location when the Freeport location appeared on his radar.
"That shop is almost just like having a summer home for this shop," Heegaard said. "It's an extension of the same shop, the same family, the same products, the same attitude, the same people, and the owner there had a similar value system – the bike shop can be a crucial cornerstone of the community."
Heegaard and DePauw noted the extensive history of cycling in Freeport. In 1889, Daniel C. Stover and William A. Hance patented a back pedal brake for bicycles at the Stover Bicycle Manufacturing Co. in Freeport.
Freeport Bicycle Co.'s current location has hosted different bicycle companies since 1897. DePauw said they will keep the Freeport name to honor its extensive history.
"In DeKalb, we had to make a very clean break from the management that was here before," DePauw said. "There, it's been run fairly well. The previous owner was great ... Building on that history, we feel like there's a rich cycling community that exists there already whose needs aren't being met."
DePauw said both stores will stock Trek products, while the DeKalb store will continue to serve as a destination spot for hard-to-find brands. The Freeport store will have products that cater to path-riding, as the town is close to three prominent bike paths.