Bicycle puns are cheesy. Cheesy, but attention grabbing. Chain Reaction, Goshen’s new age bicycle shop, has a name that attracts and the attraction doesn’t stop at the name. Chain Reaction’s new location at 510 E. Wa“schwinn”ton St. is eye candy for bike junkies (That’s 510 E. Washington St.).
Customers who come ready to get their consumerism on are in for a surprise at this atypical shop. The store deals solely in used items. While second-hand stores are nothing new, Chain Reaction is unique in its preference for cooperative work arrangements. Customers are encouraged to earn their purchase or bike repair by volunteering at the shop. Chain Reaction is not only a store, but also a bicycle project with several different facets.
Ray Collins, executive director of Chain Reaction Bicycle Project, enters the shop in a flurry of activity and noise. He greets Les Gustafson-Zook, chairman of the board, who is hovering over a bike, comments on how wonderful it is that they have a coffee maker and bustles back to his office where it is warmer. The warmth is one of the benefits of Chain Reaction’s move from their previous location on Main Street in mid-November.
“It is nice to have water and toilets and electricity,” said Collins. Gustafson-Zook explains that the lack of electricity in their old building sometimes made operation tricky. Since the store was only open during the day, and without the benefit of electric lights, storms thwarting the sunlight became a major inconvenience .
Collins also raved about the spaciousness of the new building. The building is in a residential lot providing a more homey quality. The space is brimming with bikes, but manages to be roomy, allowing patrons to move about with ease. Collins said they were so cramped at the old building that sometimes customers had to take bikes outside to be turned around.
The bicycle project has been successful with two of their three planned phases: the bike shop and a recycling program (which has helped the Goshen community lead recycling in the whole county). Now, with the new space, the project has the means to pursue their third phase–education. Collins sees this new building as a means of “offering opportunities to other people.”
Steve Riffe, the shop manager, is a certified bicycle technician and has been in discussion with Collins about the beginnings of a bike mechanic training school. The program hopes to increase advocacy of the importance of a sustainable community. The individuals would learn to become bike technicians, which Collins describes as “not teaching how to eat, but teaching how to fish.”
Located in a residential area, the shop blends in with the homes surrounding it and Collins embraces that with enthusiasm: “The more we can be part of the community the more they will be part of us.”
Chain Reaction is open Wednesday 9:00- 3:00, Friday 2:00-6:00, and Saturday 9:00-1:00