Mike and Diane: Mike grew up in the bicycle business at Sarasota Schwinn Cyclery, owned by his parents. He started working for them at 13, became a Schwinn Factory trained mechanic at 14, and a respected budding mechanical engineer when the Sailor Circus asked him to build a giraffe unicycle for their youth circus. Mike, his dad, and Schwinn engineers put their heads together and came up with a design that still wheels around today, entertaining fans at arenas and kids of all ages at home. He went on to build high wire bikes for Karl Wallenda and other circus performers. Mike rode his Paramount from Mexico to Canada after graduating from high school, and around the state several times with Wandering Wheels. Then he took Diane to the circus. He talked her into working at his parents store during college breaks, married her upon graduation, and they rode off on a bicycle built for two! That tandem became a bicycle built for three before long. At age 2 their son got his first bike, and before he moved to the next size bicycle at age 4, he was riding without training wheels. They went on to give him a brother and two sisters, all who grew up on bicycles, starting at age 2. Once they learned to balance on two wheels, they celebrated birthdays with a Bicycling Birthday Party. As the children grew, their choice of rides moved off of pavement to mountain bike parks and back on pavement shared with motorists for road rides.
Mike joined Coach Bob (Wright) his first year in Lee County and taught interested local cyclists from Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club how to ride safely and efficiently in a pace line during road rides. Diane became certified as a Community Instructor by the Florida Traffic & Bicycle Safety Education Program. As a Bicycle Safety Educator employed by the state, Diane started teaching children and adults how to wear their helmets and ride bicycles safely through bicycle rodeos. Diane wrote a grant that enabled Lee County to hold its first two open streets events with the creation of a 501c3 organization called Streets Alive of Lee County. She serves on the Board of Directors. Streets Alive SWFL continues today as a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy non-profit organization fostering a livable community through activities, advocacy, education, and service.
Diane’s passion is neighborhood riding and socializing! Riding slow speeds gets you out of the house to have fun, and enables you to stop and chat with people you might otherwise never meet. She loves the SWFL Critical Mass rides. They are a slow ride with 30 to 300 riders who enjoy tooling through neighborhoods at 8-10 mph and talking as they ride. Mike has several bicycling passions. Mike’s fitness passion is road riding. He loves riding a pace line with men and women who understand speed and safety! He rides with the 18-22 mph group now, but enjoyed a top average speed of 29 in the past. His toughness passion is on a mountain bike. He loves the challenge of riding the rough terrain, mastering the turns, dips, and climbs until his body says, “No more today.”
We are experts because we make the time to learn! We maintain memberships in the Florida Bicycling Association and League of American Bicyclists. They keep members up to date on the laws and best safety practices, as well as best facilities for riding. The National Bicycle Dealers Association and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News are also great resources for staying up to date. Taking different brands apart and putting them back together ensures he’s up to date with all the tricks of the trade. Networking with other bike shop owners, customers, and mechanics, plus continuous education keeps them up to date!
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