Award-winning cyclist Lance Armstrong-of Tour de France and Giro d'Italia race fame-once described the bicycle as "the noblest invention". Armstrong considers the cycle "noble" primarily for its simplicity and its practicality as a means of low-cost, universal transportation. From Leonardo da Vinci to Albert Einstein, the bike has certainly inspired big ideas. Biographers claim Einstein worked out complex cosmic problems in his head while cycling around Santa Barbara, Calif.
For Tim Mathewson, age 49, of Ferrisburgh, da Vinci's 15th-century tinkerings inspired a lifelong passion for all things cyclical (pun intended).
While a youngster growing up in Fairfield County, Conn., Mathewson began salvaging old bikes with one he found submerged in a hometown pond. He refurbished it, and others, and sold them all to friends and neighbors. Later, at age 14, he became an accomplished racer for the U.S. Cycling Federation. Mathewson demonstrated early on that he was as much an extension of his bicycle as the mythical centaur was of his equine underpinnings.
Bicycle inventor, designer and fix-it-man, Mathewson is the proud owner of a new Vergennes-based bicycle shop-Little City Cycles, located at 10 North Main St., across the street from Kennedy Brothers.
Mathewson's shop features new bikes, but the focus is really on affordable, gently used bikes of all types. He also services bikes, but he encourages motivated, curious customers to learn how to work on their own bikes. Mathewson likes the idea of self suffiency. He'll provide the coaching as you learn to work on your own bike. But if you'd rather not get chain grease and oil under your fingernails, Mathewson will do the servicing himself.
Little City Cycles' used bikes are fully refurbished and ready to roll. Prices range from $30 for a child's bike and on up to half off an adult bike.
Avid local cyclists know Mathewson from his sterling past work at the Alpine Shop in Middlebury and Champlain Cycles in Shelburne.