Real Wheels is the real deal: Bike store’s mission is to get people on bikes
Real Wheels Bicycle Studio
121 Argall Way, Nevada City
Between crafting their own custom bikes, running Real Wheels Bicycle Studio full-time and coaching, Chris and Hollie McGovern have their hands full.
Having their store named one of the top 200 bike shops in the country should certainly help with the couple’s mission of “getting people on bikes.”
Real Wheels, which is located in Nevada City, won the honor from Pedalsooner, an app and bike shop rating service that works to connect cyclists to shops for the easiest buying experience possible — put simply, getting folks to pedal, sooner.
Having reviewed numerous shops around the country anonymously on the basis of service, knowledge and background in the sport, Pedalsooner came up with the list of the finest shops, and Real Wheels made the cut.
Chris McGovern, a former professional cyclist, has a unique perspective into the needs of a bike rider. He currently coaches and recently returned from coaching at the Cyclocross National Championships.
Although he originally hadn’t heard of Pedalsooner, once he learned about the service he was intrigued.
“It was a nice surprise; it was also really cool to meet Jason and Aaron (of Pedalsooner),” he said. “Their energy and what they want to do for cycling and for communities — it sounds super cool to be involved with.”
The McGoverns started Real Wheels in 2012, and though their operation has expanded in service and clientele, it remains just the two of them running things.
Chris McGovern’s experience as a cyclist at some of the highest levels of the sport allow him to be a better coach, as he said there are two types of coaches: “Coaches that know and then coaches that can write a book and regurgitate information.”
The process of transitioning from rider to coach has been a rewarding one, McGovern said. Being able to share his expertise and understand the difficulties and intricacies of training are key to his coaching, he added.
Although he coaches cyclists of all different pedigrees, from amateurs to pros and roads to trails, McGovern has found himself specializing more and more as a cyclocross coach. Having competed in the sport since 1986, experience comes in handy in this arena as well.
The motivation to start the shop was somewhat spontaneous, he said, but was largely informed by the desire to not “put on a tie and go work for someone.”
“What do we do well? So we kind of identified these things and said, ‘Let’s do this,’” McGovern said of the decision to start their shop.
Originally coaching was to be the centerpiece of the business, but the bike service element of Real Wheels has become increasingly popular over the years.
“We just want to make people’s rides better — there are a lot of people who ride in this county,” McGovern said, adding that getting newer riders to the “next step” is another large motivation for the shop.
Kael Newton, a journalism student at the University of Oregon, is interning with The Union; he can be reached at NCPCIntern@theunion.com.
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