Blue Wheel: Article says the shop's smokin'

For Roger Friend and Scott Paisley, owners of Blue Wheel Bicycles on Elliewood Avenue, work is pleasure.

"It's the one payback for living the monk's life for 30 years," laughs Paisley, who says helping others enjoy bicycling is the store's primary goal.

Now, two decades after Friend first bought the bike repair and retail store, the shop is garnering props in a most unlikely place: Unlimited: Action, Adventure, and Good Times, a magazine put out by Phillip Morris and mailed to Marlboro men across the nation.

"We didn't really know that much about the magazine," Paisley says. But they're not turning the compliment down.

After the writer of the article, which named the top nine bike shops in the South, interviewed various bikers in the area, Blue Wheel was the store she picked.

"It's flattering that some of our customers had spoken so highly of the shop," Paisley says.

As for the tobacco money behind the magazine, Paisley takes it with a grain of salt. "They're generally trying to balance their karma," he guesses, "trying to encourage folks to do something healthy."

Paisley says smokers and nonsmokers alike are welcome to shop at Blue Wheel and perhaps the former might even find some inspiration to quit while browsing bike accessories and the comprehensive collection of road, hybrid, and mountain bikes. The models range in price from a little over $200 to a knee-weakening $8,000 for custom titanium racing bikes, which– at a mere 16 pounds– weigh about as much as Friend's pet cat, and store mascot, Max.

But while it's good to hear that your life's work is appreciated, Paisley and Friend say that's not what drives them. "We're doing what we like to do," Paisley explains, "and it's wonderful."