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The Bicycle Shop

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | April 13, 2023 1:30 AM

MOSES LAKE — Bill Spark said he had already retired a few years ago when his son called him and said there was a business opportunity in Moses Lake.

“He said, ‘Hey dad, we have this chance to buy this bicycle shop,’” said Spark, 81. “And so we got involved together, and we did it together for maybe a year or two. And then my son decided he wasn’t making enough money.”

Spark’s son went back to driving truck for a living, while Spark stayed in Moses Lake.

“So I took over the shop,” Spark said.

Spark, the owner of The Bicycle Shop at 516 W. Broadway Ave., sits in the back, surrounded by tools and bike parts and a shiny red adult tricycle still partly wrapped in bubble wrap that he’s just finished assembling. Spring has just arrived, but the air is still crisp and the wind is still sharp — all proof that winter’s grip is only slowly letting go this year, Spark explained, which means it’s not yet the busy time for a bicycle shop.

“It’s been a cold winter this year, and it still hasn’t warmed up,” he said. “But we’re busy enough. I have one kid that helps me out during the week. And when it gets real busy, when it warms up, my daughter will manage the front of the store, answer the phones and deal with customers.”

The Bicycle Shop, as the name implies, offers a variety of bicycles and accessories as well as repairs and maintenance for bikes. Additionally, skateboards and accessories are available for purchase. Having his daughter around to help with the shop allows Spark to focus on the maintenance side of the business when needed.

“So we can keep busy working on bikes. That takes two people full time to work on and keep up during the summertime,” Spark explained.

Spark has owned The Bicycle Shop for the last six years and decided to buy the place with his son because they were both avid cyclists. After some coursework on maintenance and repair at the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon, Spark jumped in, noting that anyone who is reasonably mechanically inclined can build, repair and maintain a bicycle.

“Once you know what the basics are … you can figure out how to do it,” he said.

Spark said he still rides almost every day, a 45-minute route that takes him down the peninsula and across the lake on a bike trail that parallels I-90 and then on to a big park. It’s a relatively safe route, he said, though he’s been hit once by a driver going about 15 mph who slowed down but didn’t stop at an intersection.

“I flew up over the hood and bounced off the windshield. I figured it was going to break my leg, but it didn’t,” he said. “The biggest thing was I couldn’t sleep on my left side for four or five months.”

Even with that, Spark said the biggest problem about cycling in Moses Lake is road debris that causes flat tires, and there’s just not a lot anyone can do about that.

“People put Slime in their tires and it doesn’t help, it doesn’t stop the flat,” he said. “It just makes a big mess.”

Spark’s daughter Joey, who is helping her father in the shop, said she likes to ride around and explore Moses Lake, and will often ride 60 or 70 miles a week in decent weather. She said she prefers riding in and around Moses Lake to cycling the allegedly more bike-friendly communities on the West Side because it seems drivers here pay more attention to what’s on the road around them.

“We have a lot of bike groups in Grant County and in general, people are used to seeing bikes on the road,” Joey said. “It’s not perfectly safe, and people do need to be more careful. It is a lot safer and easier to ride here in town than it is in other places that I’ve lived.”

Bill Spark said owning the bike shop gives him an opportunity to help the homeless with parts and service, and he even gets a number of bikes every year he donates to people who don’t have cars but need to get to and from work. He helps the Kiwanis Club of Moses Lake with their annual bicycle rodeo and is always willing to take donations so he has more bikes to give away to those who can use them.

“I will repair it and get it in good working order,” he said.

It’s a fun business, Spark said, but he noted that he’s getting older and is considering looking for someone interested in buying The Bicycle Shop. He’d like to spend more time with his grandchildren.

“I’m just ready to retire again,” he said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

The Bicycle Shop

516 W. Broadway Ave.

Moses Lake, WA 98837

509-765-1372

bicyclebelle777@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/bicyclebelle777

Bicycle donations welcome

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CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Joey Spark talks with a customer at The Bicycle Shop in Moses Lake. Spark, who said she rides 60-70 miles each week, said cycling around Moses Lake gives you a different perspective on town. “Moses Lake itself is a beautiful place, and there is a lot of really cool stuff here,” she said. “The lake is awesome.”

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CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

The Bicycle Shop at 516 W. Broadway Ave. in Moses Lake offers bicycles with a variety of purposes and the accessories needed for safe cycling in the area.

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CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Some of the new and used bikes on sale at The Bicycle Shop in Moses Lake. Staff at the shop can help visitors track down the right bicycle for their needs.