Fat tire fun at Main Street Bicycle Co. in Zeeland, Michigan

photo of Richard Gordon and a fat-tire bicycle
Richard Gordon and a fat-tire bike, Main Street Bicycle Co., Zeeland

By Mary Lu Laffey

“Keep your legs,” Richard Gordon said about the importance of training to ride in West Michigan. When he refers to riding, he means bicycles and all kinds of them.

Gordon owns Main Street Bicycle Co. at Main and Church streets in Zeeland. Standing in the center of his shop, he is surrounded by tyke bikes, comfort models and hybrids on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. “Fatties” spill onto the sidewalk.

When Gordon went from part-time employee to owner in 2010, he made a few physical changes to the shop, like exposing the original ceiling. But he steadfastly embraces the shop’s reputation for a love of cycling.

Gordon says among the many reasons people still prefer bike shops to box stores is understanding the difference between price and value.

“We treat our customers the way we want to be treated,” he said, adding that listening also is important. By listening, Gordon says he and his crew can help customers decide which type of bicycle best fits their needs. Main Street also has developed classes to help cyclists be on their two-wheel way.

There’s a BYOB class, as in “bring your own bicycle” to the shop to train. The view from the vintage bay windows overlooking downtown Zeeland is ideal for cyclists spinning on their own wheels via trainers.

Main Street Bicycle Co. hosts group rides year-round and teams with area businesses for community events that encourage cycling.

“Riding is a joyful experience,” Gordon said. “It is a different mentality. Riding helps you relax. Not just your body, but the longer the ride, your mind and soul as well.”

Main Street Bicycle Co.

Fat tire fun

A fat-tire bicycle is for the combination of two types of cyclists: Those who like to ride year-round and those who like to feel like they are 10 years old again. Richard Gordon of Main Street Bicycle Co. in Zeeland likes “fatties” too. When riding across soft, givable surfaces like sand or snow, he said to deflate the tires just a bit to achieve a float over the surface. Although fatties have 3.8-inch tires (or larger), they are a lot lighter than they look and offer more control when cornering or riding over rocks, slick surfaces and along muddy, wet trails.

Editor’s note:
Cycling is one of the initiatives recommended during Green Commute Week, May 15–21. For details, click here.