Bike Barn manager Mary Halfmann has been at the store since 1987. She says bikes today are more user-friendly, more comfortable, last longer and work better than they used to. “I can’t believe what we used to ride back in the day—it’s a good thing we were young.”
Mary says, compared to today’s bikes “we had no clue.” Bicycles have improved ergonomics and use lighter, stronger frame materials to make bikes more comfortable and fun to ride.
Back when bikes were heavier and less comfortable, Mary raced road bikes, mountain bikes, entered triathlons, and trained people for triathlons. She is a founding member of the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona (MBAA) and served on the board for 14 years.
Mary’s advice for cyclists: Make sure you’re riding a bike that fits and is suited to your kind of riding and the dynamics of your body as you ride. A custom bike fitting ensures riders are comfortable and get the most from their bikes. Mary is trained by Trek and Specialized to be an expert bike fitter.
Born in Tempe, Hubert has 25+ years in the bike industry as a mechanic and raced BMX bikes for 20 years. As a child, he was mechanically inclined and liked taking things apart to see how they worked. He still prefers the older, vintage bikes for their elegant simplicity and the fact that many of the parts could be disassembled and fixed. “Everything, like old friction shifters, was repairable,” he says.
As a BMX racer, the races are short, maybe 40 seconds, intense and the bikes are very simple, without suspension or multiple gears. Hubert says the only way to get faster on the BMX bike is to ride more because, he says, “BMX is racing, all skill and conditioning, with no mechanical difference to make riders faster.”
He also feels “Kids should be out riding bikes rather than inside playing video games.” He’d like to see kids ride bikes to school. “If you happen to drive by a grade school, there are five bikes in the bike racks and 100 cars picking up kids from school,” he says. When Hubert he was a kid he says it was the other way around.
New mountain bikes are more sophisticated mechanically and designed o help riders get over obstacles, but Hubert believes its still important to develop those riding skills to further take advantage of the advanced designs of modern bikes.
When you visit Bike Barn you might whirl of activity back in the service area. That’s Paul, a new mechanic who moved here from Lincoln Nebraska recently to be near his son who is going to school at ASU.
Paul works quickly and with the sureness of someone who has been working on bikes since 1983. He’s building a bike, adjusting a bike, checking the adjustment he just did to make sure it’s right, and moves on to the next bike.As it gets harder and harder to find parts for older bikes Paul learns new bike technology and contacts the manufacturer if he runs needs the latest specs for a repair. With more than 30 years of experience working on bikes, “everything is fixable,” he says confidently.