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Austin’s Freewheeling Bicycles to close

Published May 3, 2013

AUSTIN, TX (BRAIN) — After 42 years serving Austin-area cyclists, retailer Freewheeling Bicycles will close its doors at the end of May.

Freewheeling was founded in a garage apartment in 1971 by Frank B. Cook, who passed away in 1999. The shop quickly outgrew the garage space and moved next door to a former pharmacy where it served the racing community and witnessed the introduction of the mountain bike in the 1980s.

In 1992, Freewheeling expanded again, moving to its current location at 2401 San Gabriel Street in Austin’s West Campus neighborhood, adjacent to the University of Texas. Rents in West Campus have exploded, however, and Freewheeling was left unable to continue doing business there.

“We have to thank Austin for 42 fabulous freewheeling years as a campus bike shop," said Angela Prescott, shop owner and widow of founder Cook. “It has proved difficult to continue doing business and Freewheeling has not found a satisfactory location to move to. But we have had a great ride.”

Leading up to the May 31 closure, Freewheeling will host a package pickup for the Armadillo Hill Country Classic on Thursday, May 9, from 4-7 p.m. and a Bike to Work day station from 7-9:30 a.m. on Friday, May 17.  The bike shop will continue to serve customers online at www.freewheelingbicycles.com after the doors close.

“This is the end of an era,” said Samantha Cook, daughter of Frank Cook and a Freewheeling employee. “We just want to say thank you to the community for all their years of support. It is hard to see Frank’s shop close and say goodbye to all the wonderful people and interesting bicycling stories that have wheeled through the store, but it is time. We're putting a book in the store to capture names and memories and a farewell party is in the works.”

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