Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Up in the Old Cuckoo’s Nest, known as the former firehouse of Ladder 13, Fire House Bicycles is a neighborhood full service bike shop in Walnut Hill. Located on 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue, above the Dock Street Brewery, Fire House Bicycles sells new and used lightweight road, touring, vintage cruisers, mountain and hybrid bikes.
Touring and road bikes are most popular for fast speeds and long distances. Vintage cruisers are durable and used for low speed travel. The mountain bike is most effective for dogging trolley tracks. Hybrid bikes are built upright for city streets. Every bike style has its own personality, but the wide selection of as-is bikes, which cost $50 to $135, attract a lot of attention.
Even though most of its customers are adults, Fire House Bicycles are friends and sponsors to Neighborhood Bikes Works. This educational nonprofit creates opportunities for urban youth to get an experience of learning how to fix and ride bicycles.
Sofi Courtney, Store Manager, has been working at the shop for five years. She appreciates the openness of the three owners Monica Pasquinelli, Sam Davis and Paul Walker. Collectively, decisions are made by owners and employees.
Just three months ago, Philadelphia cyclists were hit hard with City Council passing legislation that would raise fines for cycling violations. This response was after the hit and run death of pedestrian, Andre Steed, who was found lying on the ground at 16th and Locust Street in October 2009. Even the Philadelphia police have increased enforcement and cracked down on cyclist for not stopping at red lights and signaling to turn.
Courtney says the news media “blew” the issue up and created a “reaction” used by politicians because they knew that people would side with cars. She explains that cyclists are not trying to dictate roads.
“Cars can cause more harm. [Bicycling] is good for the city, there is less congestion and it’s healthier,” Courtney said.
This transportation controversy did not move business away from Fire House Bicycles and neither did the weather. Despite blizzards slamming Philadelphia, Edward peddles into Fire House Bicycles frequently. He rides his bike and washes windows. Edward rides so much; he decided to purchase a new back blinker so that he could be seen while riding at night.
When the snow and ice melt, business will pick up in April. Fire House will soon prepare for the summer rush.
For over a decade, Fire House Bicycles continues be a hub for servicing and educating the neighborhood cyclist and introducing others to a new form of transportation.
Trenae McDuffie, Group 35, Walnut Hill
Posted by Trenae V. McDuffie at 10:51 PM