Marion resident Justin Lenhardt recently shifted his enthusiasm for bicycles into something more, a home-based, part-time business dubbed JL Bicycle Repair.
“It’s a crazy hobby I guess,” Lenhardt said. “I like working with my hands in general, and fixing bikes. I like the feeling of helping people when they’re trying to take care of their body and enjoy nature through riding.”
One of his first projects was restoring an adult tricycle.
“It was something from this guy’s childhood,” Lenhardt said. “It needed everything redone, and took two weeks to get up and running, but once it did, it rode like a dream.”
When he is not busy working as an engineering technician for Kansas Department of Transportation, he does bike repair from his basement using specialized tools. He said he could fix most anything on steel frame bicycles, including bent frames and repairs that require welding.
“Most of the time it’s people with the normal rust and wear problems who’ve left their bikes out in the rain and want to ride again,” he said. “I also have some higher end riders who have just ridden their bikes into the ground.”
Lenhardt has been fixing bicycles since 2008, but decided to open a business when he realized there was a need for a bike repair business in the community.
“There are some pretty active cyclists at my church [Marion Presbyterian Church],” he said. “I kept running into people who needed work done. I just eventually asked them to come over with any problems they had.”
He said former McMinn Bicycle Service owner and operator John McMinn also provided some guidance and encouragement.
“I was content for it to be a casual thing at first, but I got to meet John, and seeing how successful he was kind of made me want to make it more of a business,” Lenhardt said. “John’s a great guy. He gave me some tips on business in the area, and sometimes I go over and ask him how to fix this or that.”
Right now, aside from a few flat tire repairs, Lenhardt has a couple of deeper repairs to finish.
“One guy has a really nice mountain bike that has a creak in the crank arm, you know he’s pedaling along and it’s going ‘clunk, clunk, clunk’ everything it goes around because there is a lot of dirt and gunk in there,” Lenhardt said. “There’s another guy who has the sweet old ’50s Sears road bike that I’m doing a total overhaul on. It’s a lot of fun.”
Lenhardt can be reached for appointments at (480) 773-9928 or email@example.com.