Janice Whittaker has been a cyclist for 20 years. Several years ago, her passion and love of the sport gave her and husband, Tracy, an idea. Why not open a bike shop in Claremore? There are plenty of them in Tulsa, but Claremore was without. They decided the best place for a quaint bike business was in historic downtown Claremore.
They bought a building. They did a lot of renovation. And one year later, Bike-About opened in May 2007. The restoration of the 100-year-old building includes historic tin ceilings and original brick walls. It’s a far cry from the huge chain retailers located in the big city. And it’s evident within moments of entering that the Whittakers and their staff truly enjoy where they are and what they do.
I’d been in Bike-About a few times in the past, when I went through my cycling phase. I’ve had tune-ups done on my Marin and even participated in Dickens of a Ride back in 2010, a ride for which Bike-About is a huge sponsor. (I just got back on my bike last week for the first time since 2011, so I imagine I’ll be visiting Janice and Tracy a fair amount in the near future!)
The shop, which is located at 300 W. Will Rogers Blvd., lives next door to Boarding House Books, which the Whittakers also own. It’s on the corner of Will Rogers and Muskogee, just across from the fire station. When I first met with Janice recently, it was immediately obvious how proud she is of our downtown and what it’s come to be in recent years. Her opinion (and rightly so) is that Claremore has one of the best downtown areas around, that encompasses three very walkable blocks, full of charming stores. The progress and excitement is in the air these days, with the majority of the work being done by Claremore Main Street and its merchants, like the Whittakers.
Bike-About has an impressive selection of cycling gear, from the necessary items like tubes, tires and helmets, to the more fun items like sunglasses, gloves, shoes and jerseys. Water bottles, Camelbaks, bandannas…all kinds of things! The apparel selection is stellar, and includes sizes up to 4x. Let’s be real, you can order those padded spandex shorts online, but it’s difficult to know how they’re going to fit. At Bike-About, you can try clothing on before you buy. Apparel brands include Shebeest, Primal, Northwave and Planet Bike. The shop also sells….wait for it….bicycles!
In addition to selling everything you need to embark on your cycling journey, Bike-About also offers repair services. And it’s not just limited to bikes; the team can basically fix anything with wheels. So next time you get a flat on your jogging stroller or lawn cart, Janice and Tracy might just be able to help you out.
The Whittakers are firm believers in the philosophy that cycling brings people together. In an effort to forge those bonds, they offer group rides in Claremore twice a week. On Tuesdays at 5:30p, a more challenging ride is offered, and on Thursdays at 6:15p, a more leisurely beginner’s ride. The idea is that the group is an ideal way to make new friends and join fellow cyclists who are on the same level. For more details on the group rides, please click HERE to visit the website.
Bike-About is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10a – 5p, Thursday from 10a – 6p, and Saturday from 10a – 4p. Closed Sunday. For all of your cycling questions, give the shop a call at 918-341-8420.
If you’re an avid cyclist, I hope you’re familiar with Bike-About. If you’re interested in learning the sport (it’s really fun, guys! And much more pleasant than running, in my opinion!), stop by and take a look around. Even if you’re not sure what you’re getting into, the staff at Bike-About is there to help. And they’re always ready for some good conversation.
Keep it local, Claremore.