Bike repair, rental business coming to Riverside Station

This summer, visitors to downtown Riverside – or Riverside residents themselves – will be able to rent bikes to tour the village’s distinguished neighborhoods or take a spin on nearby trails thanks to a new tenant at Riverside Station. Metro.

On April 7, Riverside administrators voted 5-0 to sign a licensing agreement with Gears2You, a company launched in the spring of 2021 by Riverside residents Pete Janunas and Paul MacNerland.

Launched with the sole purpose of providing mobile bike repair and maintenance services, Gears2You is adding an approximately 300 square foot brick-and-mortar location inside the East Wing of the station, 90 Bloomingbank Road . Gears2You will continue to provide mobile services with its custom-fitted van.

“Riverside is a perfect community for all of this,” Janunas told village administrators during a presentation at the village board meeting last week. “There are so many cyclists passing through here.”

The monthly agreement, at $500 per month, obligates the company to pay all associated costs, including property taxes levied by the county. Additionally, Gears2You is committed to hosting at least six free bike maintenance clinics or cycling-related events and will participate in at least six community events per year.

According to Janunas, Gears2You will open at the station on April 30.

“We mainly do maintenance and upkeep, so there’s not much to do,” Janunas said. “This won’t be your typical outlet. We are not going to sell bikes. We will have some accessories like helmets and locks, but above all it’s service. The van will continue to do the van thing. It’s us, it’s Gears2You.

Pete Janunas (above) works on a bike outside the Gears2You van last summer. The mobile bike repair business will soon be opening a brick-and-mortar location, where you can also rent bikes, inside the downtown Riverside train station. | Photo by Tony Favarula

Bike rental will be available from May 1 to September 30 on Saturdays, Sundays and long weekends. The company may also choose to rent sleds during the winter.

“Bike rental was an addition that we hadn’t anticipated, but I think it fits in really well,” MacNerland said. “We were happy to add that to our offerings and to have a train station and bike shop in sort of an intermodal area I think…seems like a natural fit.”

Gears2You was a child of the pandemic, conceived during what MacNerland called “an idle conversation deep in COVID around a fireplace in his driveway. The two men are neighbors on Groveland Avenue and both cycling enthusiasts.

Janunas, who was the general manager of a fitness studio when COVID-19 shut down his entire industry for months, decided it was time for a change in career direction. For the first time, he would be an entrepreneur.

“It’s scary, but it’s nice to be in charge of my own destiny, my own thing,” Janunas said.

A month after incorporating the business, they purchased their van from a bicycle repair business owner in Virginia. The van was already equipped with a pump, workstation, cabinets and tools. In September, the van was wrapped in Gears2You branding.

In the meantime, Janunas traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a two-week workshop to hone his skills and receive certification from the U of Q Institute, a trade school for bicycle mechanics.

Gears2You’s Pete Janunas | Bob Uphues/Editor

More and more people reacted to the limited indoor activities due to the pandemic by pulling bikes out of storage and seeing that they needed a tune-up before they were in running condition.

“They dusted off the bikes that were in their garage or basement, and that’s where we came in,” Janunas said. “We decided to open this mobile bike repair service because people couldn’t fix their bikes or bring their bikes to the store.”

The company’s first major marketing venture was driving the van in the 4th of July parade in Riverside and handing out flyers.

“We kind of wanted to look at last year as the beginning, just to spread the word and know that in 2022 we were hoping the pandemic would be less and we would be able to add more business,” he said. said Janunas.

From the start, the plan was for the company to be strictly mobile, emphasizing the “for you” aspect of the name. But Janunas was also looking for places to host clinics and work on bikes.

He first met the village president, Joseph Ballerine, in January, and the location of the station seemed to suit him naturally.

Janunas said the business will be open in the early morning and evening to serve commuters who may need to work on their bikes and then collect them when they return from work.

MacNerland and Janunas also embraced the rental side of the business, something they hadn’t considered before. Right now they have a fleet of four to six bikes, but they’re ready to get more — at least one tandem is on the way — depending on demand. The trade will have exterior access under the east portico to be used for this part of the trade.

“Ideally, we’d like people to come from the city, take the train – and we’re here – take a few bikes, visit the village, see all the different architectures we have,” Janunas said.

Janunas said he hopes Gears2You will find creative ways to partner with other local businesses — there’s Sips & Sweets Café conveniently located just across the street — and organizations.

Gears2You partnered with non-profit Cycle Brookfield for a bike repair clinic in February and the organization will return the favor on May 6 when its Slow Roll Social Ride crosses First Avenue to visit Gears2You at Riverside Station. Gears2You will also be the starting point in October for the Tour de Proviso bike ride.

“The dream is to conquer this area, then buy a van and conquer another area, and continue where the direction takes us,” Janunas said.

Gears2You is the first company to occupy the eastern part of the station since 2012, when a cafe called Soul Amici Express left the space. A real estate agency occupied the space before 2009.

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James H. Wright