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  • Thu January 13 2005
  • Posted Jan 13, 2005
Urban Cyclery focuses on vintage bikes, repair By JOANNE BOECKMAN REGISTER BUSINESS WRITER January 13, 2005 Opening a vintage bicycle shop in West Des Moines' Valley Junction seems like a logical step for Marty Ganzel, who has a long history with bicycles. Tuesday was the first day of business for Urban Cyclery, which specializes in the sale of vintage bicycles and new and old frames and parts. Ganzel, 37, who is certified as a master mechanic of bicycles and a master wheel builder by the United Bicycle Institute, expects bicycle repair and customization to be a major part of his business. "Hopefully, we'll do a lot of repair work - that's kind of my forte," he said. Ganzel said he has no intention of competing with the established bike shops in the Des Moines area. "I've only got 550 square feet here. I'm not going to compete with them," he said.
Urban Cyclery ADDRESS: 403 Maple St., West Des Moines PHONE: 279-6278 HOURS: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday OWNER: Marty Ganzel WHAT YOU'LL FIND: Specializes in sale of vintage bicycles, bike repair and custom building. Expect to pay $5 to repair a flat tire, about $45 for a basic tune-up, about $95 for a complete overhaul.

In addition to repair and customization, Ganzel's intention is to sell bicycles, many of them from the 1960s and 1970s, to collectors or to people who have fond memories of bikes they once owned - perhaps to people like the older woman who stuck her head in the shop before it opened to talk to Ganzel. "She told me she used to have one of these old bikes and would like to have one again," he said. Ganzel's business "doesn't speak to new technology or being the fastest bike around, it just speaks to the deep feelings of people who used to own those bikes when they were in style and in vogue," said Bill Rosebrook, a long-time bicycler who lives in West Des Moines. "That's an interesting little niche." The inventory in Ganzel's showroom includes a handful of single-speed vintage bikes and a few three-speed bikes. Other offerings include an old Schwinn Sting Ray from the 1970s and a reissued duplicate of the old Sting Ray - once referred to as "muscle bikes." Also displayed are a few old tricycles and a couple of four-wheeled wooden, 60-year-old Radio Flyers. "I've just always been fascinated with some of the old stuff you can't get anymore," he said. He stocks Italian and French frames, which he can build up by adding gears, wheels and other parts. One new frame he carries is manufactured by Independent Fabrication and sells for $1,700. The company told him he is the only dealer in at least 200 miles, he said. "There's a market for that. I used to sell that in Chicago," he said. Bicycles have figured prominently in Ganzel's life. A native of Chicago, he was a bicycle messenger who delivered packages in the Chicago Loop area when he was younger. That was followed by work as a mechanic in a bicycle shop until he and two partners bought a bicycle store in Chicago. He sold his share of the shop two years ago to move to Iowa. Ganzel attended Drake University for three years before transferring to and graduating from San Diego State University. Since returning to the Des Moines area, he's been working on bicycles out of his home. "I've been refurbishing bikes, restoring and repainting them in my garage," he said. "Then we stumbled on this place and decided to go for it. Since we have vintage things, it fits in with the antique shops around here." He has sold refurbished bikes online, but that's not what he really wants to do, he said. "My objective is to build things up for people," he said. "If they want something unique, we can do that."

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