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Yes, bikes are ‘essential,’ state says 

A row of Trek bike boxes sit two-deep on the floor in front of the counter at Full Moon Vista, a bicycle repair shop on University Avenue in Rochester.

They aren’t overflow inventory from a big shipment. They’re intended to be a barricade to give bike mechanics space from customers, one of the many precautions the shop is taking during the coronavirus epidemic.
click to enlarge Shana Lydon, general manager at Full Moon Vista, said the shop learned this week that the state will allow it to stay open because it performs bicycle repairs. - PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • Shana Lydon, general manager at Full Moon Vista, said the shop learned this week that the state will allow it to stay open because it performs bicycle repairs.


Bicycle mechanics at Full Moon Vista, like those at other bike shops across the state, are considered “essential” workers, authorized to operate almost-business-as-usual under the governor’s executive order forcing most businesses to close and barring their employees from reporting to work in person.

“Much like auto mechanics and gas stations — people have to be able to get to work, and since a large portion of the population uses bikes as transportation, that’s the reason,” said Shana Lydon, the general manager at Full Moon Vista, adding that her customers include hospital and food service workers.

Lydon said she and other bike shops learned only this week from the state that they and any mechanics they employed qualified for “essential” status.

The state late last week released a list of businesses that it considered essential, which basically outlined which establishments could keep their physical locations open. Automobile repair shops made the cut, but bicycle shops didn’t.

In letters to bike shops that inquired about their standing under the executive order, the state clarified that their repair operations were, in fact, essential. The same letter also made clear, however, that salespeople were not and that bike shops were prohibited from allowing customers to browse their stock or get fitted for bikes.

Still, the simple regulatory amendment, made in the midst of a public health crisis, is being viewed by cycling enthusiasts as a direct affirmation that bikes are a legitimate form of transportation — a fact many riders lament is too often lost on the public at large.

For bike shop owners and staff, the clarification was a lifeline. At Full Moon Vista, the end of March marks the start of the busy season.

“We’re able to stay open and not lay off our skilled workforce,” Lydon said. The pool of bicycle mechanics is small, she said, and when shops “find a really good one” they want to keep them. Full Moon Vista has two mechanics who’ve been on staff for 11 and eight years, respectively.

She described how bikes are wiped down with strong rubbing alcohol before they’re returned to customers. A container of Lysol wipes sat in front of her on top of a glass display case.

Bike Zone in Greece posted the state’s guidance to shops on its Facebook page with the message: “We are OPEN FOR SERVICE!”

The communication makes clear that staff must be limited “to those employees that must be present at the business location in support of essential business activities. No other employees/personnel shall be permitted to work from your business’s location.”

At Towpath Bike in Pittsford, manager Rob Schuler said the shop is focused on repairs but that customers can order many items, including children’s bikes, through its website and pick them up at curbside. The store is allowing no more than four customers in the store at a time and is emphasizing its mobile pick-up and delivery service for repairs and new bicycle purchases.

While the state order has crippled segments of the economy, Towpath has seen an uptick in business, Schuler said. He explained that not only does the warm weather get cycling enthusiasts thinking about tuning up their bikes, but the state order closing gyms has infrequent riders turning to cycling for exercise and recreation.

“I think currently it’s crucial for people’s sanity,” Schuler said.

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Several area bike shops remain open, with varying protocols for customers. Below is a list of repair shops and their hours, though they all recommend calling before coming in. Please let us know if a shop has been omitted or the information is outdated.

Bert’s Bikes and Fitness
100 Jay Scutti Blvd., Henrietta — (585) 424-2777
1217 Bay Rd., Webster — 585-446-0199
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Bike Zone
2100 West Ridge Road, Greece
(585) 225-7960
Call for hours

DreamBikes
1060 University Ave., Rochester
(585) 563-7257
Hours: Noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday

Freewheelers Bicycle Shop
1757 Mount Hope Ave., Rochester
(585) 473-3724
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Also open by appointment.

Full Moon Vista Bike & Sport
1239 University Ave., Rochester
(585) 546-4030
Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Park Ave Bike Shop
Pittsford Colony Plaza, 3400 Monroe Ave., Pittsford — (585) 381-3080
600 Jay Scutti Blvd., Henrietta — (585) 427-2110
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday

Rochester Fitness + Cycling
2501 Browncroft Blvd., Penfield
(585) 218-4110
Open for bike repairs only, appointments preferred.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

RV&E Bike and Skate
40 N Main St., Fairport — (585) 388-1350
168 S Main St., Canandaigua — (585) 393-5680
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday by appointment only

Sugar’s Bike Shop
2139 N Union St., Spencerport
(585) 352-8300
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Towpath Bike
3 Schoen Place, Pittsford
(585) 381-2808
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Jeremy Moule is CITY's news editor. He can be reached at jmoule@rochester-citynews.com.

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