Local shops accommodate needs for outdoor recreation

Three+bikes+laying+on+the+ground+overlooking+a+forest

Photo Courtesy of Zack McClure

Ashley Beronja

Marquette is home to many outdoor activities that people of all shapes and sizes can participate in; whether it be walking, swimming or biking, Marquette has something for everyone. With students, faculty and staff returning to campus after the summer, many clubs are welcoming new members to be a part of their organization. If you are looking for a club to join that gets you outside or a biker who is looking for others to bike with, the Cycling Club might be the organization for you.

The Cycling Club is an outdoor club where bikers from all backgrounds can come together and bike. In the fall, the Cycling Club will ride on mountain bikes on the trails, while during the winter they will ride fat bikes on the groomed trails that the Noquemanon Trail Network has to offer.

“Founded in 2001, Noquemanon Trail Network’s mission is to secure, develop, maintain and promote the use of a non-motorized trail network throughout the Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” according to the NTN website. “As of 2020 there are seven trail systems maintained by NTN from Munising to Big Bay.”

For those new to the bike scene and looking for bike recommendations Zack McClure, junior mechanical engineering technology major and president of the Cycling Club, shared what bikes to look into if you are on a budget.

“Buying good bikes on a budget is difficult. The cheapest ‘good’ bike you can get is around $500. Some good brands are Specialized, Norco, Trek, Giant, Santa Cruz, and many more. Just stay away from the department store bikes like Huffy,” McClure said. 

While Marquette is a smaller city, it still has many shops near campus that accommodate those who are looking to purchase a bike or equipment for biking. Located on Third Street are Downwind Sports and Quick Stop Bike Shop, two shops that sell bikes, equipment and give advice for those looking to get out into the bike scene. 

Founded in 1976, Downwind Sports opened and have always provided the Upper Peninsula different sporting activities they can do year-round. In the summertime, Downwind promotes biking, longboarding, climbing, camping, kayaking and other summer sports. Downwind also sells a variety of clothing that goes along with those sports.

When joining a new sport or activity, the cost can be high when purchasing new equipment and gear. Bill Thompson, co-owner of Downwind Sports, shares the discount programs the store offers for students.

“We participate in a couple of different ways. We participate in the Wildcat Wallet program. Students can get a 10% discount when they come here with their student ID and then we also have a loyalty program discount that gives you 5% back on all your purchases,” Thompson said.

For every dollar that customers spend at Downwind Sports, they will get a point. For every 100 points, you get a store credit of $5. These points never expire, Thompson said.

Downwind Sports is open seven days a week and has four mechanics on duty working constantly to help students who are having issues with bikes so they can get back on the trails. Downwind also offers delivery either shipping or e-bike if customers are uncomfortable or can’t go inside the store due to COVID-19.

“We are very proud to have four owners that are NMU alumni and have hired 11 NMU students,” Thompson said. “We are very connected to NMU and proud of it.”

Just down the road from Downwind Sports is Quick Stop Bike Shop. Founded in the late 1970s, Quick Stop Bike Shop has been a store that students and community members can go to purchase bikes, get repairs done on their bikes, as well as rent through them. 

Erik Carlson, owner of Quick Stop Bike Shop, shares what types of repairs the store offers in case bikers run into any problems while on the trails.

“Our repairs range anywhere from flats to chains. We repair everything,” Carlson said.

Quick Stop Bike Shop has two different kinds of discounts available for those looking to shop on a budget. Members of NTN and RAMBA programs can receive a 10% discount on parts and accessories. 

The store is open Monday through Saturday. Due to COVID-19, the store’s showroom is open during the week until 4 p.m., however if you have a question, there is always someone there until 6 p.m. said Carlson.

“What we have been trying to do is have people take time outside the store, either on the Internet or calling the store, to do some research beforehand so that way we can help practice social distancing,” Thompson said. “If you don’t feel comfortable though coming in the store, we can always help you outside.”

If you are interested in the Cycling Club or have any questions, contact Zack McClure at [email protected]. For the current semester, the Cycling Club plans to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for casual rides and longer more advanced trail rides during the weekend.

McClure wants to remind everyone to wear their helmets that to ride with the Cycling Club you have to wear a helmet.

“No matter how good you are, you’re still going to fall at some point. It’s better to have a helmet on when you do,” McClure said. “Best advice is to get a bike and go out and ride. You’ll learn from your mistakes and will learn fun places to be just by exploring.”