Hardworking Hawaii: How a bike shop survived for decades

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Employees of The bike shop in Honolulu are passionate about cycling.

“You really can leave all that stress in your life and work on a bike that takes you somewhere with a great view,” said Carl Nethercutt, store manager of The Bike Shop.

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When The Bike Shop first opened in 1970, it was a small store.

The owners wanted to see more people like Nethercutt pedaling around the island.

“The owner, Faye Saiki, had a vision to see and try to increase the use of bicycles as a form of transportation,” explained Melvin Nakahata, Managing Director of The Bike Shop.

Today there are three locations on the island.

The long-standing local business has survived a number of tough times over the decades. The pandemic has been a hilly journey for the company.

“We sold more bikes in the spring of 2020 than the previous Christmas,” Nakahata said.

For a while, The Bike Shop couldn’t keep up with demand. As the racks are full again, new challenges arise.

For example, Nethercutt said the pandemic has placed a restriction on the number of tubes they can get.

In addition, the shipping costs have increased considerably.

Soon, Nakahata expects to see demand for bikes pick up as gas prices rise. He has already made the change.

“I commute from Waipahu by bike,” he said, explaining that it costs too much to fill up a tank now. “When we saw the bus strike and the high gas prices in the 80s, you know that caused a big increase in the number of bicycles.”

On his e-bike, it takes Nakahata about 55 minutes to get to town.

“It can be faster than traffic, especially if there are accidents,” he said.

Nakahata’s passion for bicycles is not only due to high gas prices. It’s personal.

“I love it because first of all, it’s healthy. I am recovering from a heart attack in 2015,” he said.

It’s this love for the bike that has made The Bike Shop successful for over 50 years, and Nethercutt has that love too.

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“Like Tantalus is probably my getaway, like I’m going there, going up there hard, and then you’re enjoying that view. When you come down,” Nethercutt said. was worth it’ and you forget all your problems, and then you feel good.”