It was about the time that my bicycle broke down that I heard South Buffalo Wheelhouse was organizing a Santa’s Summer Ride 2019 (6pm to 8pm) coinciding with their Xmas in July Sale. So I figured that I would throw the bike in the back of the car and head on over to 1872 Seneca Street, where I was greeted by owner Adam Johnson. After telling Johnson what the deal was with my bike, I began to look around the shop.
There’s something very special about South Buffalo Wheelhouse – the place is so put together, that it resembles an old work market workshop that you might find in Vermont, or New Hampshire. There are the wood floors, and the old tin ceilings, and then there’s bike memorabilia just about everywhere. The bike shop showroom was the first space that Johnson had to work with, which allowed him to expand the business into the storefront next door. He also has access to a full basement, which is loaded with old bikes (to be fixed up, or used for parts).
There are some very handsome (and pretty) bikes at South Buffalo Wheelhouse, not matter your age or ability. Johnson is a long distance rider, as is his “genius apprentice” Lucas Natale, who was outside working near a brand new pergola that just got installed last week. Between the two bike mechanics, they pretty much run the show. The outdoor space means that there are two workshops, one being seasonal of course.
I asked Johnson how he got his start. He told me that ten years ago he was a teacher, but his goal was to own his own a bike store. It literally took him just under ten years to gather the resources, and find the perfect location. And find the perfect location he did. The Seneca Street corner is about as good as it gets. “I knew that I wanted to be in South Buffalo,” said Johnson. “I loved the corner… I loved the light. The place was a mess, but we fixed it up. I’ll be fixing up the new space next door in the near future. This corner has everything that I need, and it’s a real presence on the street. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
As we talked, Johnson pointed out some of the rides that he liked, along with some of the exclusive lines that he was carrying. Take, for example, the Easy Boards by Biria, which are 7-speed cruisers for people who are looking something a bit relaxed and non-conventional. “There’s something for everyone,” Johnson noted. “People love the Buria – we’re the only dealer in Buffalo, so we get a lot of people interested in seeing the model. It’s super popular with the Amish community.”
Aside from selling bikes, Johnson also repairs them. Just bring your bike in and he’ll take a look at it, give you an eyeball estimate for fixing it, and then get you back on your way in a reasonable amount of time.
Then there are the group and community rides, such as the Summer Santa Ride. If you want to attend the family friendly ride, Johnson said that his father is dressing as Santa this year. “We had him riding around last night with the kids, to practice,” said Johnson [laughing]. “He hasn’t been on a bike in years, so we’re hoping he does OK later. Abbott Ice Cream is giving out free ice cream (a stop along the way), and Artone’s Pizza is giving out some pizzas before the ride. Hook & Ladder is also a sponsor. I’m expecting about 50 people to attend the three mile ride, which will wind through Cazenovia Park.”
Down the road, South Buffalo Wheelhouse will be offering community bike fix-it classes, along with a number of different community rides. Hopefully the spirit of this place catches on to some nearby property owners who could learn a thing or two from the rebirth of this corner. The place looks beautiful, and a bike shop is an extremely welcome addition to the neighborhood.
South Buffalo Wheelhouse | 1872 Seneca Street | Buffalo, New York 14224 | (716) 322-7148 | Facebook