Riding a bike is a great way to maintain social distance, get some exercise, enjoy fresh air, and feel connected with the Appalachian Mountains and rivers around us. Whether you’re interested in road riding, cruising the river trail, or braving the downhill course at Snowshoe, Hammer Cycles in White Sulphur Springs has the right bike for you as they showcase trustworthy and reliable bikes of every sort. (pictured above: Max Hammer with his son, Tad Elkins)
Owned and operated by Max Hammer, this specialty shop provides Greenbrier County with the highest standard bicycles, parts, ranges of accessories, guided rides, instruction, cycling apparel, and most importantly, a department for bicycle servicing. The most common services offered by Max are general tune-up and flat fixes. He also offers tubeless tire installs, brake bleeding, headset adjustments, derailleur adjustments, wheel truing, and fork services. Basically, anything a bike could need.
The shop also carries kids bikes and pre-pedal bikes that are perfect for toddlers, as well as electric bikes which “are ridiculously fun” says Max. This shop also buys and sells used bikes with a changing inventory daily. All products are reasonably priced and customers are always welcomed by Max, who is knowledgeable, friendly, and always goes beyond to make sure you get what you need and what you deserve.
Honesty and integrity are solid traits of Max…besides being an excellent bike mechanic and life long bike enthusiast, Max is just simply a solid human which is getting harder and harder to find these days. – Rob Naughton 6/13/20
Max was born and raised in Phoenix and attended college in Flagstaff. He moved to Greenbrier County 18 years ago when his then-wife took a position at WestRock Papermill and has loved living here. He has repaired and built bikes almost as long as he’s been walking and talking. He tells us, “Professionally speaking, I was a mechanic in bike shops throughout my twenties while I was racing competitively,” Opening a bike shop was not a fly-by-night decision for Max. He wrote a business plan for a shop in college almost 30 years ago. Then he says that life happened and starting a business while his kids were young didn’t seem like a good idea. He became serious about the idea a year ago. He says, “Maybe the unconscious inspiration was that I turned 50 and realized if I was going to do it, I better get on it.”
On Thursday, April 30, 2020, Max officially put the vinyl sign on the shop window that was opening day whether he liked it or not. He says, “People started streaming in immediately, and they haven’t stopped. Maybe when life returns to some sort of normal, I’ll have a grand opening. The local response has been overwhelming. Of course, some of that has been the result of the pandemic. All bike shops in the nation have been overwhelmed.”
While original plans for the shop’s location was assumed to be in Lewisburg, Max tells us he watched the momentum gathering in White Sulphur Springs. He says, “People in leadership were rallying, people with means were investing in Main Street, and people like me were taking the risk and opening businesses. It helped that I had an up-close and personal view of how the community got behind Road Hog’s BBQ. Besides all of that, it has always made more sense for White Sulphur Springs to be the hub of the local outdoor scene. The trails, streams and river are all right there.”
Amid fears of Coronavirus, people have stayed low and practiced social distancing. Max says he could have never guessed that this would be the secret to his early success. He tells us that because everything imaginable had been canceled, it seemed the safest thing people could do for entertainment was to go outside and ride a bike. He goes onto say, “I personally think the lack of pro sports on television has been a big part of it. Everyone stopped watching other people play and finally decided to do it themselves. People were dragging their bikes out of the garage for the first time in years.
Max helped my son get his bike tuned up, some new accessories and repair. In and out quickly, fair pricing and wonderful service. Definitely will be back! – Harry Bell 7/14/20
Those bikes needed to be serviced. And, people who didn’t have a bike, all of a sudden, wanted one. This was happening all over the country at the same time global supply chains were shutting down. First, bikes became difficult to find. Then, parts became scarce. So, what has been a windfall in some ways hasn’t exactly been easy. Affordable bikes are sold out everywhere and there’s a two-month or longer wait on the most common bike parts. For some things, like certain tire sizes, I have no idea when they’ll be available again. That isn’t great for business and it makes me worried about the coming months.”
Max is the head coach of the Greenbrier Valley Youth Mountain Bike Team. He says that he would love for any kids in grades 6th through 12th to ride with them at the Greenbrier State Forest. Their race season has just been canceled due to the recent rise in Coronavirus cases in the state, but they are still riding (while observing social distancing rules) and making plans to visit some other trail systems across the state throughout the late summer and fall. Call or email for details.
Hammer Cycles is located at 723 Main Street East, just down from Road Hog’s BBQ and next to 50 East. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Thursday from 10 am – 4 pm; Friday and Saturday from 10a-6p. Stop into the shop anytime, no appointment is needed.
For more information, call 304-536-0021; email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit HammerCyclesWV.com Follow @hammercycleswv on facebook and twitter.
– Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper #125. August 2020.