Bikes Unlimited is a full-service bicycle shop at the corner of South Third Street and West Crawford Avenue in the heart of dowtown Connellsville, Fayette County
-- just a few yards from the Great Allegheny Passage Trail
. The shop rents bikes to day trippers, and sells all kinds of bikes: from mountain and trail bikes to BMX bikes, as well as comfort and hybrid bikes.
Every bike is custom assembled with free adjustments customized to the rider. Bikes Unlimited does every and any kind of mechanical work, from truing to building wheels. During peak season, the shop operates a “trauma center” to help cyclist hobbled by unexpected problems get back on their wheels trail as quickly as possible.
Bikes Unlimited is a family affair, founded by Gary and Ruth Stout
after Gary's job with the Western Maryland Railroad was eliminated. Gary handles sales, bike maintenance and repairs (with the help of his brother, Richard) while Ruth handles the financial and operations part of the business. Connellsville, once the world's largest producers of coke -- the key coal-based ingredient in steel making -- has struggled mightily with the cascading effect of the downsizing of that industry, is beginning to rebound due to tourism related to the trail. "Connellsville and lots of these little communities are starting to get back on their feet," Gary says. "It's great to be a part of that.”