OK, so technically we should be calling him a “Bike New Jerseyan”: Garrett Newcomb, the sole proprietor of Kranky Cycles, will once again provide his services free of charge at our Twin Lights Ride on September 27th—look for him across the street from Huddy Park, where the ride starts and finishes. We paid him a visit to talk about how Hurricane Sandy affected his business, what he does for the Twin Lights Ride, what riders should expect, and more.
On how Sandy affected his shop: “Everybody got hit, and I really mean it when I say I feel lucky that the hit that we took was a lot less than other people. All we got was about 5.5 feet of water. I’d been in business for two years, and it’s a lot easier to come back from two years of business than getting hit after 35 years in business.”
On the kids that hang out at his shop: “Since we opened up in 2011 we’ve been lucky enough to have a crew of local kids who come down and are curious about bikes. It’s been a little over four years now, so you see the kids grow up right in front of you, which is a nice experience. The little guys that come around, we call ‘em “Little Krankers,” or “Krankers.” It’s fun to see ‘em with girlfriends and cars, growing up. It’s also good to see ‘em helping the other kids out. Once in a while we’re able to get the kids together and we’ll go for a little mountain bike ride, with the permission of parents and safety equipment and all that.”
On his involvement with the Twin Lights Ride: “The ride begins and ends right across the street. I get about six or seven volunteers to come down with me and we pump tires and check the safety of the bikes as they come through. And if people need quick adjustments we have the bike shop right here, so we can change their cable or their tubes and tires and that kind of stuff, on the fly.”
On being a “one man band”: “Yeah, I’m the sole employee, though one of the Krankers has expressed enough interest that I call him my apprentice, although he hasn’t really accumulated enough hours to be a real apprentice. He’s about 14, but as he ages and he gains some maturity, I could see him being one of the first employees, for sure.”
On what cyclists should expect at the Twin Lights Ride, including the food: “The loops are a nice variety, kind of a tour of Monmouth County. They’re good representations of the road cycling around here: It varies between real flat stuff next to the ocean, which is beautiful and scenic, and then we have rolling hills… and right in this area we have steep hills, up to 20% grade. It’s a good variety. As far as food at the Finish Festival, you gotta give the thumbs up to the fish tacos at Chillangos, Bahrs always has an excellent seafood chili, et al is a new restaurant I’m curious to check out, and Havana does great stuff all the time as well.”
On where he likes to ride: “I tell ya, that’s one of the greatest things about our area—the Highlands have all types of riding. We’ve got bike paths that are nice and flat and keep the effort low and the pleasure high… we’re at a hub position when it comes to people coming down here and getting off the ferry and going to different places like Sandy Hook, Atlantic Highlands, or Seabright. I like to take my family down the bike paths to the next town, or around town here to grab something to eat. We also have awesome mountain biking. People travel from out of their way to come to these technical trails in this unique, geographical park, Hartshorne Woods, because it has a lot of elevation change, which is unlike other areas up the shore. We’ve got other hills which attract some of our road cyclists, whether it’s the sharp, steep little hills here, or the nice long flat training straightaways of Sandy Hook and Ocean Avenue. We have a great riding area, for sure.”
To learn more about the Twin Lights Ride, click here.