By Tyler Schneider
As gas prices rise and Waldo potholes widen, Bicycle Depot KC owner Dave Reinert is betting on one of humanity’s most enduring designs: the bicycle.
Reinert first opened up shop in a space at 220A W 75th St on March 15 with the help of veteran mechanic and friend Bruce Homstad, formerly of Family Bicycle, another neighborhood shop that went out of business in early 2020.
“In February, I set a goal of saying, ‘Hey, March 15, let’s open it.’ And that was like a month out. We knew it was kind of an ambitious goal, but on the Ides of March we opened the door, and we were ready,” Reinert said.
The storefront carries two brands: State Bicycles out of Arizona and Batch Bicycles, purveyors of a line of high quality tiny bikes for small children and such. They also stock the basics, like locks, tires, seats, bags, and helmets.
“I got a little nervous at the end of March and beginning of April. But once the weather really started changing, people would be walking by more often and see our sign and stop in,” Reinert said. “So, in the last month or so, we started seeing faces that we’ve not seen before. People start to realize that they can ride bikes every day, and really enjoy it and go, ‘wow, I don’t have to pay so much for gas’.”
In addition to a new generation of customers, Reinert credits Homstad’s existing client base for bolstering foot traffic.
“With his expertise, it’s made a lot of the business kind of decisions and choices easier because he’s done it for so long, because he has 13 years of working right here in this neighborhood and that comes with a very loyal following,” Reinert said.
“The minute [a new bike] comes in here, I feel like I am now responsible for all of its maintenance,” Homstad said. “I know I’m gonna see this bike again and again, so I really can’t afford to screw up. I have taken care of a lot of people’s bikes for a long time.”
The pair can also offer a wide breadth of experience for those looking to get into cycling for the first time.
“Blue River, almost every day, is my sanctuary away from city life because I’m from the country and when I go down there it reminds me of where I grew up. I take my kids there all the time,” Reinert said of one of his favorite spots.
As for the future of the Kansas City cycling community?
“We’re a little behind certain cities, but in the last five years I’ve seen it double in popularity at least. I used to go out for a ride and see almost no one out on the trails. Now, I’ll cross paths with five or 10 people all the time,” Reinert said.
He offers a few recent examples.
“I went out last night at midnight at the Rock Island Trail and I saw two cyclists. Before, we would have never seen that. Not only is [cycling] kind of trendy and friendly for the environment, but I also think people are kind of coming to senses that hey, they’re able to ride most of the places that they go. Also, with so many people working from home, they can just go out on their bike for an hour on their lunch break. You can see that it’s catching up,” Reinert said.
Bicycle Depot KC is open from 10-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 10-4 p.m. on Sundays.