YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Cycling is a religion for some people, but cyclists of all skill levels will feel at home at Cyc Ward.
The new store opened June 1 inside the former Richard Brown Memorial United Methodist Church building at 1205 Elm Street on Wick Park.
It’s the first bike shop to open within the Youngstown city limits in decades.
The idea for Cyc Ward – pronounced “psychiatric ward” – began when North Side resident Joe Parent noticed the old church building was up for auction. Parent, the owner of A Parent Co., which is a trucking company, and his wife, Rachel, and their children live near the stone building and wanted to see it put to good use.
“We’re always open to buying anything that looks like a good idea in the neighborhood,” Parent says. “We went to an open house there and fell in love with the building. It was cool and it could be [turned into] anything.”
He bought the building, which is in excellent condition, for $167,000 and has since installed air conditioning.
Signage is erected around the imposing building. A luminous sign with the name of the shop will be installed at the entrance door.
In his spare time, Parent is a competitive cyclist, racing almost weekly throughout the region. He traveled to Florida for a race earlier this year.
When it came time to figure out what to do with his new building, a bike-cafe shop quickly came to mind.
After discussing it with friend and fellow cycling enthusiast Kelan Bilal, the two enlisted Tim Knight, owner of Trailside Bike Shop in Austintown, and the Cyc Ward wheels were in motion. The cafe is not open yet.
Bilal is the owner and operator of Excalibur Barber and Grooming Lounge, which has locations in Youngstown, Girard and Southern Park Mall. He is also the founder of the Cyc Ward Bike Club, which is how he met Parent. The members of Cyc Ward meet every Sunday for a ride.
Knight runs the bike shop every day, handling repairs and sales. The showroom offers new and refurbished bicycles and accessories.
Knight has incorporated his Trailside Bike Shop business into the Cyc Ward space, doing all bike repairs and assembly there. Trailside is located at the Mill Creek MetroParks Bike Way trailhead at Kirk Road.
While the Mahoning Valley already has a few bike shops, Cyc Ward is unique, he says. “For one thing, it’s in a church building,” Knight says. “And two, there will be a cafe. Eventually, we will buy a coffee roaster.
The goal is to be a welcoming gathering place for riders of all skill levels, whether they are beginners, people looking for laid-back exercise, or serious riders looking for high-end machines. . Cyc Ward sells trail bikes, street bikes, racers and everything in between.
“We want it to be a place where everyone is comfortable, whether they come to buy a bike, a part, or a coffee, or just want to stop and talk,” Knight says. “That’s what we lack in this area as far as [bicycle] shops go.
While most Valley stores sell “the big three” high-end bikes – Trek, Giant and Spiritualized – Cyc Ward carries three lesser-known brands: Marin, Ridley and KHS. Bikes range from just under $500 to $10,000, Knight says. “It’s a comparable product for a better price.”
One of YoGo’s e-bike charging and docking stations will be placed in front of Cyc Ward when the bike-sharing company begins operations next year, Knight said.
“We will help them maintain the bikes,” he says. “They will be 15 in front of our shop.”
Cyc Ward is only a few blocks from Youngstown State University, a source of potential customers.
“I love the place,” says Parent. “There is nothing better than being outside a university campus. It is also uncrowded and suitable for cyclists here.
While Bilal would have preferred the store to be closer to Mill Creek Park, Parent points out that it’s a safe route to the park, using the new bike lane along Mahoning Avenue.
He also wants to be part of improving the Elm Street neighborhood, where a cluster of restaurants and galleries has sprouted.
“I want to see this field continue its upward trend,” says Parent. “A lot of houses are being renovated here and younger couples have moved in.”
Parent graduated from Chaney High School. He attended YSU for a year before deciding he wanted to start a business and didn’t want to delay.
His trucking company does not own a fleet, but instead contracts with owner-operator trucks. The growing new-car hauler is about to bring its 12th truck online, he says.
“We do a lot of work for companies that have contracts with the major automakers,” says Parent. “Our goal is to get big enough to go direct to manufacturers and bypass the middleman. We’re almost there.”
His passion for cycling mirrors his competitive streak, although it started out casually.
“I was just driving on [an inexpensive] bike,” he says. “Then I started rolling with Cyc Ward [Bike Club]. I was perfectly happy to do that, but I have a competitive side.
Another driver started talking to Parent, sparking his interest in racing. He bought a racing bike a few years ago and rode his first race in 2020.
“Now it’s my favorite thing to do,” he said. “I have already done 10 races this year.”
Pictured above: co-owners Tim Knight and Joe Parent in Cyc Ward Bike Shop. Behind them is Parent’s old racing bike. Parent holds his son Kaius. Co-owner Kelan Bilal is not pictured.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.