Bicycling in Detroit is getting bigger by the day. The city known for putting the world on four wheels has more and more people every day choosing to explore it (or commute in it) on two.
To help serve that need, there’s a new bike shop called Metropolis opening up in Detroit’s burgeoning Corktown neighborhood. It will be right across the street from Slow’s BBQ, Gold Cash Gold, and on the same block as Mercury Burger Bar.
The shop will be no small endeavor. We caught up with proprietor Shayne O’Keefe over the weekend and got the inside lane on what’s happening on Michigan Avenue.
The store will have both bikes for sale as well as bike repair services, and will be aimed more at the bike commuter. Conveniently, there’s a bike lane right past the front door.
“It’s been in development for about a year, year and a half. I’ve been going pretty hard at it for about 6 months,” said O’Keefe.
The store will sell Bianchi and Raleigh bikes, as well as focus on commuter bikes and accessories. You’ll even be able to pick up a kids bike there.
We discussed the shop over the display model we saw at Cobo Hall at the North American Bike Show which was pretty impressive. O’Keefe fell in love with bikes working as with the non-profit Hub of Detroit, the storefront for the non-profit Back Alley Bikes.
“I volunteered for a few years and started a little bike shop in my basement. There was nowhere to really buy bikes other than the hardware store. This is before the Wheel House and before the Hub, no bike shops at all,” said O’Keefe. “A couple places started opening up, and eventually I became obsessed with bikes from working at Back Alley Bikes.”
Metropolis is going to be located in what is one of the most desirable spots in the city, with plenty of activity and foot traffic around it. It also adds something that many people are clamoring for in an area dominated by restaurants and bars … retail.
The Detroit axiom of “The biggest small town you’ll ever live in” came into play to help O’Keefe land the spot.
“The owner of the building is actually an old friend of mine. We used to work at a bar together when we were younger. We used to clean bathrooms together, and he was drinking in a bar one night and heard that I was looking for a place to do a bike shop, and so he just called me up,” said O’Keefe. “I hadn’t spoken to him in 10 years, and so he just called me up out of the blue and said, Hey, I heard you were looking for a spot. You should rent this because it’s probably the best spot in town.”
But is the city ready for another bike shop? O’Keefe thinks yes.
“The bike market is blowing up and there’s definitely way more demand for bikes and parts than there were even a few years ago.”
Look for them staring April 8 at 2117 Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Find them on Facebook here.