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Aug. 14, 2018
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Gear up, down brews at Wrenched Bicycles

By Jane Harrison
 
A little shop tucked just off a busy Gainesville street spins a one-of-a-kind business. At Wrenched Bicycles, folks can buy a bike, take it for a group ride, and sip a craft brew. It’s the only retail joint in Georgia where spokes and suds meet up, according to shop owner Todd Berry.
 
The combination is a winner for the veteran cyclist who opened Wrenched Bicycles in 2012 and chained it to a survival mechanism to challenge the onslaught of on-line shopping. Adjacent to the showroom where Specializeds, Cannondales and others gleam and just behind the mechanic’s nook, more than 30 beer taps line the wall. Behind the bar, tap tender Teo Barth drains kegs from a plethora of Georgia craft breweries, plus some out-of state beer makers. Cyclists, thirsty from a trail trek, road tour, or indoor spin park their two-wheeled chariots and order up refreshing liquid carbs.
 
“I think it works really good,” said Berry of the merger of two favorite pastimes. “The way retail is now, with Amazon, you have to have something to go with retail or otherwise not survive.” Choosing the accompaniment for his store was easy. He got an early cue from cycling and occasionally imbibing in the North Carolina mountains.
 
“I used to go to Brevard when I raced mountain bikes. There was a bike shop there called The Hub that had beers and bikes. Across the road there was one with bikes and coffee … it was empty all the time,” Berry said. Craft breweries, such as Terrapin based in Athens, Ga., got in sync with mountain bike events. “They were there all the time,” Berry said.
 
When Gainesville loosened up its alcohol restrictions, Berry jumped on the bike and beer gig to start the first in Georgia. He teamed up with long-time friend and local artist/brew aficionado, Barth, to get the wheels turning. “When Todd got beer in here, we got the bike circle and the beer circle together,” said Barth, who has organized art festivals and events at Gainesville’s Left Nut Brewery.
 
The shop fulfills Berry’s mission to “get more people on bikes more often.” On Saturday mornings from two to 15 cyclists follow Berry’s lead in Gears & Beers, group rides from the shop onto the country roads of East Hall or the rolling trails of Chicopee Woods. Tuesday and Thursday nights, both cyclists and non-cyclists workout on bike trainers and spin-bikes in Pedals & Pints, led by Scott Unnold, a fixture on the local bike scene for decades. “This set up is fantastic,” Unnold said. “It’s a real full-scale bike shop and a real full-scale beer bar.”  

Pedals & Pints attracts about a dozen or more cyclists who set up their own bikes on tension-type stands to “ride” indoors when the weather’s too cold or lousy to ride outside. Non-cyclists without their own bikes can hop one of a few stationary bikes. After wiping the sweat, participants often mosey on over to the bar for brew and gab. Some order in food from nearby diners.
 
Berry’s Saturday morning rides depart from the shop for either a road or trail trip. He originally planned Gears & Beers as a mountain bike ride, but when this winter’s freezing and thawing turned Chicopee Woods trails to mush, he switched it to asphalt. He expects to hit the trails when Chicopee Woods re-opens.
 
Either way, Berry guides cyclists from the shop onto lesser traveled neighborhood streets to roads with more cows than cars or trails with more trees than anything. Road cyclists steer clear of Jesse Jewell Parkway and head onto rural routes in East Hall past Rabbittown. He leads mountain bikers to the Gainesville square and across the “bridge to nowhere” over Jesse Jewell. Cyclists follow the developing paved greenway to a back route onto miles of woodsy trails at Chicopee. Road rides cover about 25 miles for around two hours. Mountain bike rides total about 15 miles.
 
Berry advises folks to call the shop or check the Facebook page to find out the Saturday ride destination. Whether road or trail, Berry tailors rides for various levels of fitness and skill. No one gets dropped. No king of the mountain contests, pace lines, or sprints. “People come to group rides to talk and have a good time … it’s a social ride,” he said. Someone from the group will peel off with beginners so they have company and guidance.
 
Participants often “come in after the ride, hang out and drink a beer,” Berry said. “It’s a good reward for athletes,” said Barth, who’ll proudly pour from 42 taps when the shop reaches capacity this month. “They work hard, burn calories off … it’s re-hydration” mostly in moderation, he said. “I’m not really surprised how it comes together ... I’m just surprised about the amount of beer we go through.”
 
He keeps the kegs rolling in from local breweries like hometown Left Nut and Cherry Street in Cumming and a bevy of Georgia beer crafters including Marietta’s Red Hare, Creature Comforts and Southern from Athens, Jekyll from Alpharetta, and Atlanta brewery, Monday Night. Asheville’s Wicked Weed and another brewery from that popular brew town cross the state line via the bike shop. For the more traditional imbiber and the calorie-counter Barth keeps Mich Ultra and Bud Lite on hand. 
 
The tap room has “brought a lot of new faces in,” Berry said, including folks who’d never stepped foot in a bike shop. “They hang out, have a good time, and get introduced to cycling.” Having bikes, plus more beers on tap than any other establishment in Gainesville gives Wrenched Bicycles extra gears to run on.

 
Get it in Gear, refresh at Wrenched Bicycles
  • Gears & Beers Bike Rides. Cyclists depart Wrenched Bicycles for either East Hall road rides or Chicopee Woods mountain bike rides, return for cold beverages back at shop, 8:30 a.m. Saturdays 302 Broad St. SE, Gainesville. Call or check Wrenched Bicycle Facebook for info about road or trail ride.
  • Pedals & Pints. Bring your own stationary bike trainer and bike or borrow a shop spin bike for workout with Scott Unnold, 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Where: Wrenched Bicycles, 302 Broad St. SE, Gainesville.
  • Info: 770-287-8842, Facebook or www.wrenchedbicycles.com.


Posted online 1/29/18
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