New Bike repair shop Ellensburg Bicycle opens for business

Joseph Stanger, Staff Reporter

In early September, a new bike repair shop, Ellensburg Bicycle, opened its doors downtown. Owned and operated by CWU Alumni Seth Mills, he hopes he and his shop will make biking in Ellensburg an even more common form of transportation.

“You could be across town on a bicycle in two minutes,” Mills said. “Most of the streets are pretty quiet and the busy ones have bike paths. It’s a really easy community to get around in on a bicycle, which is what drew me here.”

Mills had experience working in a few bike shops, including what was previously Ellensburg’s only bike shop, The ReCycle Shop. 

At first, Mills said he was uncomfortable with the idea of opening near his previous place of employment, but once Ellensburg Bicycle started to become a reality, he reached out to his new competitor and found they were supportive.

“The more the merrier. I love the ReCycle Shop. I worked for the ReCycle Shop for a long time,” Mills said. “I worried about it for three weeks before the ReCycle Shop knew I was even opening up the store because I didn’t tell anybody. Finally, I wrote the email that I dreaded, and the owner of the ReCycle Shop was completely okay with it.”

After his time working in bike shops and starting a family, Mills took a job as a trucker and gained an appreciation for being able to make his own decisions on the job. He said he hadn’t planned on starting a bike shop of his own, but when he saw the perfect space available, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I decided it was time to open my own store because I wanted to do it my way,” Mills said. “I didn’t want to work for anybody else anymore.”

Mills said it took about a month to figure out how exactly to start his new business, acquire inventory and set up work benches before he opened the doors to his shop. He owns and operates the store entirely on his own and said he has no plans to hire new employees for the foreseeable future.

Depending on how busy the shop is and the kind of repairs needed, a repair at Ellensburg Bicycle could take anywhere from half a day to a week. 

“If something simple rolls in, like you need a tube repair, I’m not going to tell you to wait a week,” Mills said. “That’s an on-the-spot repair that should be done right there.”

According to Mills, some bikes are damaged beyond repair or safety. So, if a bike is brought to the shop that he thinks is unsafe, he’ll make sure the owner is aware of it.

“Anybody who brings a bike to me, I’m going to fix it to the best of my ability, and I’m going to tell you if there are some things on it you need to watch out for,” Mills said.

According to Mills, a quiet fall and winter are to be expected for the bike shop, but he hopes that it will give him time to get the word out about his business so when spring and summer come around, local cyclists will know about Ellensburg Bicycle.

Senior creative writing major Patrick Dennelly uses his bike to get to campus since he doesn’t have a license. He said it’s good that a new bike shop has opened in town because of how many students use their bikes to get to classes.

“You could go with scooters or roller blades, but I think biking is the fastest and one of the easiest ways to get around without a car,” Dennelly said. “I live at the Brooklane apartments which are pretty far away, so a bike is pretty necessary to get to campus on time.”

While Mills believes that cycling is an important form of transportation, he also thinks it could be one of the ways to create a better world for everyone.

“I think the more people involved in cycling, the better,” Mills said. “Given what is going on in our world, with the climate crisis we’re in, cities that can’t expand anymore to accommodate bigger and wider streetways, people being out of shape and unhealthy because they spend so much time in their cars, cycling, I think, is (one of) the things that can save us.”