When she was young, Lindsay Yanez loved bikes so much that everyone knew she would someday open her own store. Now that she actually has, Yanez says she feels like a kid all over again.
“These bikes take us back to when we were seven,” said Yanez. “This is something you have a lot more fun with when you’re young. But it keeps you young.”
Yanez has just opened Swarthmore Cycles, a repair and used bike shop on South Chester Road close to Dunkin’ Donuts. But if you ask Yanez about her store, she’ll tell you it is not even hers.
“This shop belongs to Swarthmore. I’m the lucky one who gets to tend to the store,” she said. “[The] idea is to get people on bikes. … This is my passion.”
Swarthmore Cycles sells used bikes for around $100, in addition to offering various repairs and mechanics. All Yanez’s bikes are from either people trading their bikes for other ones or from Craig’s List, which she then “tunes up.” And these bikes aren’t just cheap and safe, Yanez said.
“I promise you I can find a bike that matches you,” she said. “That’s my job: to match the bike to the person.”
If there are problems, Yanez said that the customers “know I’ll stand behind the bike and fix it for them.”
Yanez has two passions, she says: bikes and people. Her passion for bikes started when she was seven-years-old; as a Christmas present, her father gave her an unfinished bike. At sixteen, she got her first job at a bike shop in Houston. Realizing that she couldn’t make a living off of a bike shop, however, she went to college and became a civil engineer. But after 20 years, Yanez said that she was ready to take a break and try something new.
And, already, Yanez said that the town of Swarthmore is something that she loves.
“This place is the only place I’ve ever been to that can be called a community,” she said, adding she plans on keeping this feeling of neighborhood alive in Swarthmore Cycles. “I feel very lucky to be here.”
Swarthmore Cycles is officially open, but the shop needs its own repairs, such as taking off the walls’ wooden paneling to make way for paint and appliances. The store should be in full operation by spring, with kids from the community volunteering their time. Until then, Yanez said that she’s only worried about serving customers and paying the rent.
She concedes that though she would like to always operate Swarthmore Cycles, she realistically can’t. At some point in the future, Yanez said she’ll probably sell the store and go back to engineering. But right now, she knows where she should be.
“This is what I’m supposed to do,” she said. “The reality is I’m not going to make a ton of money here. But I’m happy.”
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