How long has The Wheel Mill been in business?
Mike: Celebrated seven years this spring!
Can you explain how the idea for a store and Bike Park came to be?
Harry: The Bike Park idea came after my cousin took me to Ray's like 12 years ago. It blew my mind. There were so many old steel mill sites that I thought I'd be able to find something without too much effort, but it took me five years to find this place. We considered having a full service bike shop from the start, but space limitations and a great local shop scene kept us from making the push. Once the state shut us down in March I knew it was time to take the leap with a major remodel while we were in timeout.
Who owns the Wheel Mill? Who works there?
Mike: Harry Geyer is the owner. He's an all-out riding enthusiast. Over the last seven years, we've had many people work at the park. We have a really solid crew right now. We have staff that ride all types of bikes from mountain, BMX to Cyclocross. Something I'm really excited about is that we have three employees that grew up riding in the park and now they're employees. That's pretty rad.
Harry: I'm also really stoked to see Mason not have time to work here anymore because he's getting paid to ride! It's been great having Mike be the rock, though. He keeps it fun while I deal with the banks and insurance companies, haha.
Why did you start a shop and bike park in your area?
Harry: Most of my family is around Pittsburgh, so I had moved back here after traveling around for a while. The scene was always pretty good here, even if it was mostly under the radar. I wasn't going to move to another town to open up a bike park since I had to continue to run my construction and lumber company while getting The Wheel Mill up and running. We always knew that a full-service bike shop could be an option for us, but there was such good coverage with the existing local shops that we were happy to push our customers to them and hope that they would do the same. Then one of the larger shops in our area shut down and COVID happened, so it made sense to move forward with the idea. All of the remaining shops were booked five weeks out just for normal service. I didn't think that people waiting five weeks for their bikes was helping the sport at all, and the shops all seemed pretty stressed about it.