MANITOWANING—The vision of a Manitoulin owned and operated bike shop that began with teenage entrepreneur Justin Tilson of Honora Bay and the Bike Medic lives on in Lightfoot Bikes today. The latest reincarnation of Lightfoot Bikes had its grand opening in Manitowaning last week under the direction of the enthusiastic Josh Shaw of Wikwemikong. For the past two years, the business had been located on Highway 551 just north of Mindemoya.
Mr. Shaw told The Expositor that he first met Lightfoot Bikes owner Jeff Brankley a few years ago when he needed a part for his bike (Mr. Shaw is an avid BMXer), driving to the Honora Bay location to seek out his services.
The following spring, Mr. Shaw said he received a phone call from Mr. Brankley, who had been obviously impressed by Mr. Shaw and his passion for bikes, asking him if he wanted a job and training. The young man said yes and when Mr. Brankley offered to sell the business to Mr. Shaw this year, he jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s the only job I’ve ever had where I received a promotion every year,” he laughed.
Lightfoot Bikes will continue to carry all the same brands, like Specialized and Norco, but he’s added Devinci and BMX bikes to the racks too.
“We are a full service repair shop—we do a lot more than city bike shops will do,” Mr. Shaw added, noting frame and derailleur realignments.
“What we want to do is get people out on bikes, old or new,” he added. Lightfoot Bikes also has used cycles for sale, will do trade-ins and also take donations.
The young man said he is hoping to start a community bike shop program, explaining that those wanting to get involved would sign a paper, get a basic tool package and learn how to fix a bike from community experts such as himself. Mr. Shaw spent a few months in Albuquerque, New Mexico last fall learning how to run just such a program.
Lightfoot Bikes is located in Manitowaning along Highway 6, across from Allen’s Automotive and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm. “But if my car is here, I am here,” he said, laughing that he often finds himself working late. The location is in the former automotive repair shop operated for many years by Delmer Fields who is now Mr. Shaw’s landlord.
“I just really want to promote cycling and every little aspect it has to offer,” he added. “It’s a healthy lifestyle and it’s just good for people. Personally, BMX has helped me in so many ways. It helped me to finish school and got me where I am today.”
There was a good crowd for the official ribbon cutting, as Mr. Shaw is obviously a popular guy, complete with Assiginack Reeve Paul Moffat and Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peltier with both public officials offering their best wishes and congratulations.
Mr. Shaw was offered with a few gifts from friends and family too, including a “Come In We’re Open” sign which caused him to grin from ear to ear. “It’s not often you won’t see this sign up,” he smiled.
Mr. Shaw can be reached by calling 705-859-2322 or by emailing email@example.com. Don’t forget to ask him about the community bike shop program.