Speed & Sprocket Cycle Works: Maintaining a human connection

The Food Bank of Western Mass

Sean Condon (right) chats with a cyclist while tuning up his bike at Will Bike 4 Food 2014

Sean Condon, owner of Speed & Sprocket Cycle Works, will be joining our blog to offer bicycle maintenance and cycling tips leading up to the 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food on Sunday, September 27.

Bicycle mechanic Sean Condon loves getting to know new people. For the past two years, his business, Speed & Sprocket Cycle Works, has sponsored Will Bike 4 Food. Each year he meets countless riders while making free pre-ride adjustments to their bikes before they hit the road. For Sean, being involved with WB4F is a way to give back, meet riders both new and experienced, and grow the cycling community in Western Massachusetts. His approach to bike maintenance makes getting your bike repaired a more personal experience.

A West Springfield native, Sean has spent most of his life in the Pioneer Valley. His first experience with cycling was in college when he began working in the cycling department of a sporting goods store. Despite having no prior cycling experience, he learned the ins-and-outs of repairing and riding bikes quickly. Soon he was mountain biking through the beautiful trails of Western Massachusetts. A move to Boston expanded his interest to road riding as Sean found it easier to get around the city by bike. He loved the challenge of going up hills, riding farther than he thought he could, and improving his speed.

Upon returning to Western Massachusetts, he wanted to share his passion for the sport and began volunteering at the Holyoke Urban Bike Shop (HUBS). HUBS is a program at the Holyoke YMCA which teaches bicycle maintenance. As part of the HUBS “Earn a Bike” program, Sean taught youth how to deconstruct and repair a bicycle. Once the student restored the bike to working condition it became theirs. It was while volunteering there that he met Liz, a fellow bike mechanic who worked at the Y. The two are now married and together founded Speed & Sprocket Cycle Works with the vision of a friendly, stress-free bicycle repair experience.

Speed & Sprocket is a mobile shop, which means they come to you, when it’s convenient for you, and make sure that your ride is in great shape on-the-spot. From tune-ups to minor repairs (such as shifting problems or installing new tires), they make sure your ride is road-ready without the worry of picking it up or dropping it off.

“While I enjoyed working in shops, I realized that model doesn’t work for all customers. I wanted to create something more personal and have a more one-on-one connection,” says Sean.

He first learned about WB4F during a visit to The Food Bank to volunteer with his daughter’s Girl Scout troop and inquired how he could get involved. Since then, he has helped riders prepare for take-off, and last year he even organized training rides leading up the event. Much like his maintenance workshops, leading training rides allows Sean to help riders empower themselves to do more.

“One of the riders who came to the training ride was planning on doing the 10-mile route,” explains Sean. ”But after he did the 15-mile training ride, he decided to work towards the 25-mile route. He pushed his boundaries of what he could do and surprised himself.”

Be sure to check back for helpful cycling tips and tricks from Sean every other week in our ‘In The Bank’ blog. And don’t forget to stop by Speed & Sprocket’s booth on September 27 at the 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food to say hi to Sean, and get your bike one last tune-up.