ZSpokes: Charlotte’s new bike shop

Zack Macik has had a lifelong dream of owning his own bike shop. Courtesy photo

Zackary Macik grew up in Shelburne and got his first bike shop job at Little City Cycles in Vergennes in 1991. As he learned more and more about his craft, Macik spent time as a bike mechanic in New Zealand and Boulder, Colo., but at a certain point, it was time to come home. “I love Colorado,” he said, “and I had my adventures there, but I was ready for Vermont again.”

Macik had a lifelong dream of opening his own bike shop. “My wife and I had an eye for getting back to Vermont,” he said. “My son was going into first grade so the time was right and we found the right piece of land.” In August of 2016, Macik opened ZSpokes in what his son calls their “shouse” because the shop is in the front and the family lives on the second floor.

“It’s a challenge to separate work and life,” he said, “but it’s something we’re working through and there’s less overhead this way.” Macik’s long-term plan is to build a farmhouse for the family on another corner of the property.

One thing that separates ZSpokes from other shops is that Macik offers free pickup and delivery. “One of the biggest hurdles for people,” he said, “is having to load a bike into their car and then come pick it up.” Shop hours are noon to 6, Monday through Saturday, so Macik can make deliveries in the morning. Doing that also leaves him time to get in some riding of his own.

“One of the reasons I’m in this profession is I love to ride,” he said. Macik tends to start the cycling season on his road and cross bikes and then picks up his mountain bike in the fall.

One of Macik’s specialties is suspensions, and he has a dedicated space for that to ensure that no dirt from the rest of the work gets in the way. Macik repairs and maintains all kinds of bicycles, from racing bikes to mountain bikes, and notes that in recent years the trend has been more towards mountain and gravel bikes and less toward road bikes. He praised the Vermont Mountain Bike Association and the Fellowship of the Wheel for their landowner outreach and trail maintenance, and credited them with making Vermont a mountain bike destination.

In addition to repairs, Macik builds bicycle wheels, which are shipped across the country. He also sells high-end refurbished bicycles that he has restored to proper working order. The bikes are priced at $2,000 to $3,000, but Macik said they are equivalent to newer bikes costing twice as much. Macik also partners with Allied Cycle Works out of Arkansas and will be selling their bikes, which are made from American carbon. The bikes are not custom per se, but they can be customized and cost significantly less than a comparable bike from a major supplier.

Macik believes that with the expansion of internet sales and direct sales from bike manufacturers, there is a greater need for small service-based shops. “I’ve been in control of a couple of shops,” he said, “but I’ve never owned one outright. One of the driving factors is that I can be in control of everything and be the one point of contact and keep continuity and the same level of standards for everything.”

You can find ZSpokes at 955 Orchard Road in Charlotte. For more information check out www.zspokes.com.

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