By Adam Webster, Member, Communications Committee
Note: On January 6th, we shared a great story on our Facebook page featuring Dwight Gronlund, as a Secret Santa, surprising a customer with a new bike. Since then, that story has now been shared by others more than 3,700 times! We thought it would be a good time to check in with Dwight for this issue’s 4 Questions column. View the original story on Facebook.
Are you a former professional cyclist? What led you to open a bike shop in the first place
Actually, I’m a former architectural draftsman (and bike commuter) who was looking for a career change in the early 1990s. I’d always enjoyed riding my bike, and so I sought more experience in bike repair at places like Freewheel and REI. I learned about the business side through courses at Normandale College and a friendly internship with a small shop over in southwest Minneapolis. After that, I looked for an area of the city that didn’t already have a bike shop. I’ve been at this location ever since.
Looks like you’ve been in Northrop since 1994. What’s changed in the years since you set up shop?
It was pretty quiet at Bloomington and 46th back then. When I got here, only Overcraft Printing and Don’s Barber Shop were here. Two months after I opened Nokomis Cycle, a stylist shop opened next door, and a version of that has been operating there ever since. In 1997, Sisters’ Sludge opened up on the corner, helping pave the way for more foot traffic at the intersection. And since one of those sisters became my wife (we first met in the trash-collection area in the alley), I’d consider that a pretty important development for the neighborhood!
Minneapolis routinely shows up as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation. How have you experienced this at your shop?
I’ve lived in Minnesota since 1968, and Minneapolis since 1984. I think both Minneapolis and Saint Paul are good for bicycling because they aren’t filled with “city,” so to speak. These urban areas still protect their lakes and rivers, and that means bicycling in the Twin Cities can happen on paths in nice areas removed from car traffic. Recent efforts by local government to expand bike access on arterial roads have helped, but that only works when there is a good reason for leisure biking in the first place. Bikes themselves have really changed in recent years, too. There is much more variety out there now, and it’s just easier to find a bike that meets every biker’s needs. I personally enjoy riding many different types of bicycles, and I have a few different ones to suit my mood.
What’s the biggest maintenance mistake bike owners make regularly?
People can forget that bikes are machines. Over time, every machine needs to be tuned up in order to deliver the experience you want. Chains need to be greased, tire inflation needs to be optimized and cables and brakes need to periodically be recalibrated, especially after our winters. As the snow melts, one of the simplest things bike owners can do is bring their bikes in for a once-over. A professional can spot issues quickly and in most cases can offer an immediate fix that will keep your gears from slipping all summer long.
4553 Bloomington Avenue South