September 5, 2018

Theresa Java/Free Press
All Keys Cycles owner Steve Troeger enjoys working on bikes and looks forward to continue servicing the Upper Keys area in the future.

Theresa Java/Free Press All Keys Cycles owner Steve Troeger enjoys working on bikes and looks forward to continue servicing the Upper Keys area in the future.

KEY LARGO — With bikes dangling from overhead and the smell of fresh rubber tires mixed with a bit of lacquer, All Keys Cycles gives a nod to mobility and freedom, which is shared world-wide, according to enthusiastic cycler and shop owner Steve Troeger.

“Everybody loves bikes, they speak to everyone. Bicycles are a universal language,” he said. “Bikes are sold in every city around the world.”

There were 17.4 million bikes sold domestically in 2015, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, which represents specialty bicycle dealers in the U.S.

Inner tubes are All Keys’ biggest seller, with sales estimated to be around 200 tubes a month.

“There’s a lot of debris on these roads. It’s surprising,” Troeger said.

While most of his customers are recreational cyclists, Troeger said there’s a large number of people who rely on their bikes as transportation. They need to have a reliable, working bike — and preferably two lying around.

All Keys Cycles carries bikes from eight different manufacturers, covering hybrids, mountain bikes, beach cruisers, road bikes, BMX and kids bikes. The bikes carried are all designed for ideal performance, speed, endurance and comfort, above and beyond what’s stocked at retail mega-giants, says Troeger, who owns five bikes.

His personal favorite is hybrid “gravel” bike built to handle a variety of terrains.

“It’s a really heavy bike, but it’s a nice ride, especially along the C111 [canal] into the Everglades National Park, where we go a lot,” he said.

Bicycles, originally invented in 1818 by Karl von Drais in Germany, were initially known as the “running machine.” They were propelled by the rider pushing forward with feet on the ground.

Varying versions of bikes followed until England’s John Kemp Starley invented the safety bike in 1885, a two-wheeled frame that largely set the template for today’s bikes, which are better geared toward a rider’s preference.

Troeger’s staff services all bikes, from tuneups (which are half price during September’s business anniversary) and customizing parts to making full repairs.

The shop also offers group rides, ride support and trail recommendations, and for visitors, daily and weekly bike rentals are available.

Troeger grew up doing off-road stunts on his BMX bike in Cape Coral. He gained some commercial success before blowing out a knee and recovering only to break his leg the following year. He traded his riding career for work in a bike shop, learned how to make repairs and loved it.

Troeger and wife Lissette opened the Pink Plaza store location six years ago on a “shoe-string budget.”

“Basically I used my and Lissette’s tax refund and a little bit of cash from my last construction job to open the store,” Troeger said.

All Keys Cycles is still nestled in the same storefront, but the inventory has grown with more parts and accessories. Troeger said he’s grown to appreciate owning a business and working for himself.

The shop’s sixth annual customer appreciation anniversary is set for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, with free hamburgers, hot dogs, giveaways and a beach cruiser bike raffle. The bike shop is located at 103400 Overseas Highway, suite 105, in the Pink Plaza.

For more information call 305-435-6221, visit allkeyscycles.com or follow them on Facebook under All Keys Cycles.

tjava@keysnews.com