by James Rada, Jr. photography by Bill Ryan
Within a 45-minute drive of Mount Airy, there is an estimated 600 miles of mountain biking trails from Patapsco Stake Park to the Frederick Watershed. In the center of all of these trails is Patapsco Bicycles, a premier bicycle shop in downtown Mount Airy.
“Some of the best mountain biking trails in the country are near here,” Don Rucker, one of the owners, said.
Patapsco State Park, for instance, has been ranked among the top 10 mountain biking locations in the county and among the top 50 in the country.
“We are mountain bike strong with higher end bikes that offer better warranties,” said Eric Smith, who works at the store.
More importantly, the store owners – Rob Strohmeyer, Mike Birner, Don Rucker, Les Kirkegaard, John Piorkowski – are all bicycling enthusiasts themselves so they not only know the strengths and weaknesses of different model bikes but they also know the places to ride.
Rucker started racing BMX bikes at age 8 and started working in a bike shop at age 14. Bicycling is part of his life and who he is.
“This is not just a job to me. I could probably make more elsewhere. I was willing to give up a lot for my passion,” Rucker said.
Customers have learned to rely on their expertise at Patapsco Bicycle and return time and again for bike maintenance, and new bikes for other members of their family.
“We pride ourselves on fitting a person to just the right bike,” Smith said.
To do this, they will actually customize bikes if need be, starting with a frame and then adding a specific seat, pedals, tires, etc.
“It’s all about the ride,” Rucker said. “You can go at your own pace and just enjoy it.”
Patapsco Bicycle • www.patapscobike.com • 301-829-5604 • 5 N. Main Street, Mount Airy
- Patapsco Bicycle first opened in 2009.
- The store features Pivot, Niner, and Jamis brand bicycles. Not only does Patapsco Bicycle sell these brands, but the owners use them as their own bikes.
- Although specializing in mountain bikes, Patapsco Bicycle offers road, hybrid, and family bikes.
- Specific brands and equipment can be special ordered if not in stock.
- Two bicycles may look the same, but a higher-end model uses better materials that make the bike lighter, allow for smoother shifting, and are sturdier.
- Patapsco Bicycle employs 14 people (including the owners) each of whom bikes dozens of miles each week on a variety of terrains.
- Besides bicycles, Patapsco Bicycle offers clothing, equipment, and nutritional supplements. These are things that serious bicyclist also need to improve their speed.
- Patapsco Bicycle will service any model of bicycle whether it was sold at their store or not. The service technicians are trained to provide the best maintenance and care for your bicycle.
- If you can’t bring your bicycle into the store, Patapsco Bicycle offers a mobile shop that can travel to your location to service your bike on the spot or transport it to the Mount Airy store.
- Patapsco Bicycle is located in a refurbished 1920 railroad storage building.