As the weather warms up and the spring season approaches, more and more people are taking to the outdoors. People take their dogs for more walks, joggers come out to enjoy the cool and sunny weather and others may be dusting off their bikes for a ride around the neighborhood.
And if you need some help getting that bike into tip-top shape, if you’re looking for a new bike or even just a rental, is one local solution.
Owned by Rancho Cordova resident and fishing enthusiast (the shop once also sold fish equipment and bait) Ron Oxyer, American River Bicycle has been a community staple for about 35 years.
Oxyer had worked in the construction industry for 16 years, traveling around the country working on high rises, nuclear power plants and cooling towers.
“My oldest boy was turning 5, they were shutting down the nuclear power plants,” Oxyer said. “I came back here and was working at the state building and just got bored with watching television on the weekends.”
Remembering a New Jersey company that rented bicycles, Oxyer thought a bicycle and bait and tackle shop would fit perfectly in the river city. As the shop grew, Oxyer ditched the bait and tackle business to focus solely on his full-service bike shop. He began doing safety programs with the California Highway Patrol and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department's Rancho Cordova station, going to different schools and teaching about the importance of helmets and bicycle safety.
“That was our main form of advertisement, going out into the community and putting on bicycle rodeos and safety classes,” Oxyer said.
Later, Oxyer focused his safety classes on local organizations, giving safety tune-ups to the Latter Day Saints and a local church. He gives safety classes to the Boy and Girl Scouts. Through all this, he gained a loyal following of bicycle enthusiasts—about 70 percent of the people that come to American River Bicycle are regulars. And love for the bike shop has passed from one generation to another.
“Their kids are actually coming in and buying bikes for their kids,” Oxyer said of his customers. “It’s amazing sometimes when people come in and they start talking and find out you sold them a bike when they were only 12 years old and now they’re back buying a bike for their kid.”
But bikes are for more than recreation these days. Oxyer explained that the price of gas has become a big factor in the amount of bicycles being sold. With gas prices expected to soar this year, Oxyer is preparing for a lot more business in the coming months.
“It happened a few years ago and the bikes completely sold out before October,” he said. “It was the best year the bicycle companies had.”
With more people turning to more environmentally (and pocket) friendly ways of getting around, Oxyer says he and his employees will give every customer their full attention.
“You have to do more for the customer than just get them in and kick them out,” he said.
American River Bicycle is located at 9203 Folsom Blvd., in the shopping center on the corner of Folsom Boulevard and La Riviera Drive. The shop is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.