Bend bike shop focuses on service

The Crankery plans to sell Knolly bikes

By Joseph Ditzler / The Bulletin / @josefditzler

What: The Crankery

What it does: Repairs all types of bikes; sells Knolly mountain bikes

Pictured: Ben Dodge, left, and August Cary

Where: 1441 SW Chandler Ave., Bend

Employees: Two

Phone: 541-550-7233

Website: thecrankery.com

Judging by the pace of activity Thursday inside The Crankery bicycle shop on SW Chandler Avenue in Bend, its first year and three months in business have been a success.

“Excuse me, important customer,” co-owner Ben Dodge said Thursday, interrupting an interview a second time to handle some business. Dodge and business partner August “Augie” Cary, both formerly of Bozeman, Montana, opened the shop in May 2013. Dodge arrived in town first with his wife, Jenna, who had found a job here.

Cary and Ben Dodge are experienced bicycle mechanics who worked at a shop in Bozeman for nearly six years, they said. In Bend, Dodge saw an opportunity.

“I noticed the repair backlog at the local bike shops in town,” he said.

He found out in person, he said, when he needed a wheel-hub repair that required a special tool. All the shops he visited told him they’d need his bike at least a week.

“I felt that was somewhat unacceptable. Nothing against the local shops; everyone was super nice to me,” he said.

Between them, Cary and Dodge have 24 years of experience as bike mechanics. That instilled in them the confidence to open a repair shop in a bike-friendly town, Dodge said. He doesn’t eschew training, but puts more stock in skills learned on the job.

“There are certifications and courses out there — I never took any,” Dodge said.

The next step for the business is selling bikes. While they’ll take on any type of bike repair, the partners are partial to mountain biking and plan on stocking 15 new Knolly bikes soon. Knolly is a small firm from Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Crankery is located next to Cascade Lakes Lodge at Chandler and Century Drive, across from the proposed Oregon State University-Cascades campus. Cary sees the campus as a windfall. College students comprised a large portion of the clientele at the shop where the partners worked in Bozeman, he said.

“College kids come to college, and they bring a bike and it gets trashed or they don’t bring a bike and they’re looking for something, a get-around-town bike that’s mostly transportation,” he said. “I can see a lot of kids coming over to the bike shop, just walking right over.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

Q: How many regular customers do you think you have now?

A: Ben Dodge: About 50 true regulars. Once someone switches to us, or gives us a try, we tend not to lose them.

Q: Where do you see the shop in five years?

A: Dodge: We’re gonna sell some bikes.

A: August Cary: I’d like to have a couple more bikes on the floor and have a bunch of them be demos; I’d like people to ride. And continue with a strong service sector.