BATAVIA, IL (BRAIN)—When All Spoked Up partner Matt Knowles first saw the building that would house his new bike shop, he knew right away his business had found a home. After all, the 1,700-square-foot space sits right on the Fox River Trail, a 33-mile-long Rails to Trails route through Chicago’s far western suburbs, and the storefront had been home to another bike shop 10 years ago.
“It was time for it to be a bike shop again,” Knowles said just days after opening All Spoked Up in late December.
No newcomer to the bike business, Knowles got his start in the middle to late 1990s buying parts on eBay and building bikes for friends. He later operated bike shop Norway Cycles in Mount Prospect, Illinois, which closed in 2008, and still owns the Norway Bicycle Co. brand, which sells custom road and mountain bikes made by Iowa framebuilder Tom Teesdale.
Knowles sees All Spoked Up filling a neglected niche in his market. “There are so many road shops in the Fox Valley. We don’t need another road shop here. And lucky for me, I’m into mountain biking,” said the cross-country racer, whose three sons also race mountain bikes.
All Spoked Up also sells road, BMX and fixed-gear bikes, but custom mountain bikes are Knowles’ specialty, along with low-cost service for all types of bikes. “The whole idea is to be a family-oriented bike shop. Our service prices are always going to be affordable,” he said.
Right out of the shop’s door, the Fox Valley Trail offers five-, eight- and 11-mile loops for test rides, and single track is just a mile away for dirt demos. Inside, a seating area with a couch, television and electric fireplace invites customers to linger.
Bike lines include Kona, Schwinn, GT, KHS and Free Agent, though Knowles plans to add other brands as he establishes his new business.