Theresa Van Ackeren grew up riding her bike on her afternoon paper route along the streets of Omaha, Nebraska. On her 40th birthday, she decided to return to that simple happiness by quitting her day job and opening Family Bicycles. She strives to make biking accessible to all who want to try by hosting rides, special events, and classes to bring newbies into the fold. In the shop, tools sing a tinny song as mechanics true wheels and spruce up soiled drivetrains. Family Bicycles also hosts a winter film series, showing bike-centric Hollywood dramas, documentaries, and the one where the Three Stooges lose their driver’s license.
Since 2009, the Kansas City Dirty Duo race has helped parlay mud into money for charity. Stretched across mostly flat terrain inside Kansas Speedway, the race sends teams of two biking and running around a course nearly six miles in length. Mystery obstacles add an extra challenge to each mile, and right before the finish line, there’s a massive 40-foot mud pit where teams can to play gloopy games of Marco Polo before completing the race. Kids as young as five years old can get in on the dirty dashing, too, by joining the one-mile Dirty Duo Jr. race. Once everyone has crossed their respective finish lines, the festivities continue with a post-race celebration featuring music, food, and cold refreshments.
The Wheel Cyclery helps to pair patrons with cycles from manufacturers such as Giant, Orbea, Scott, and Colnago and keeps them safely rolling with gear and maintenance services. Shelves brim with equipment from brands such as Sugoi and CamelBak, stocked alongside bike pumps, safety lights, custom insoles, and other accessories.
Maintenance services range from simple adjustments and lubrication to tune-up packages with wheel truing and complete drivetrain cleanings. The Wheel Cyclery’s calendar bursts with events that build a community of bike enthusiasts via weekly group bike rides with onsite childcare, maintenance classes, and spin classes for off-road finessing. To nurture the environment, staffers recycle or reuse 80% of the shop’s waste.
The experienced technicians at Velo + not only inspect and tune up bikes, but they also build custom VRBicycle frames by hand. The bicycle shop carries the latest models from Kona, Brooks England, and Surly, to name a few. Soon, customers will be able to sip house-roasted coffee and espresso while shopping for bikes or waiting on a repair.