A version of this article ran in the June issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (BRAIN) — Dylan Schemel knew there had to be more to life than the daily grind as a civil engineer in Miami after graduation. A subsequent 10-year stint as a FedEx distribution center manager also proved unfulfilling. With the former motocross racer at a crossroads professionally, it was a desperate friend with a bike in need of a tune that helped him find his true calling.
From that simple repair, Schemel, 40, eventually would start Pisgah Bike Works, a carbon fiber frame manufacturer based out of a small space among up-and-coming retailers comprising the new WNC Outdoor Collective. Finding a permanent home among other entrepreneurs in the heart of Black Mountain at the foot of the Pisgah National Forest caps a frenetic past 18 months. Schemel quit the FedEx job in December 2019 only to enter a market gutted by the growing COVID-19 pandemic in the spring.
“When I left FedEx, I was afraid of getting back into a job that I was unhappy with,” said Schemel while at his shop in late April amid bikes needing repairs and new Pisgah Bike Works frames in various states of build. “I applied to hundreds of openings, and there was nothing. So a buddy of mine comes by and says, ‘I just went to a shop and told me it would be seven weeks before I could get a tuneup.’ He had a brand new bike and it wasn’t shifting right. This was June 2020.”
Building a client base
And that has proven to be the beginning of a new career opportunity and excitement Schemel hadn’t felt since he was an up-and-coming motocross racer. While performing repairs from his garage last summer, he expanded his knowledge and service by taking a one-day wheel-building class at Asheville Bicycle Institute. Through word of mouth and some Facebook postings — not to mention long wait times at local bike shops — Schemel began building a client base.
“I felt like I was never going to do something that I’m really passionate about and love,” he said.
Schemel’s passion and a potential career revolved around motocross in Florida in the 1990s and early 2000s. Beginning racing at age 7 and moving up in the amateur ranks eventually to the 250cc class at age 20, he suffered a serious accident during practice on a triple jump.
Hitting his neck against the handlebar, he cracked his trachea. “I was lucky. The doctor said he never saw an accident like that. He didn’t know how I wasn’t paralyzed.”
After spending two weeks in intensive care, Schemel’s doctor told him he might not speak again because of vocal cord damage. He did regain nearly full use of his voice. “My kids love it because I can’t scream,” said Schemel, laughing.
The accident ended the professional motocross dream and led Schemel to dabble in cross-country mountain bike racing and eventually to college
BICYCLE RECYCLING DROP-OFF LOCATIONS
Please drop off bicycles only during operating hours:
*due to public health concerns surrounding COVID-19, we are temporarily only accepting bike donations at the transfer stations, or at our warehouse on MONDAYS ONLY so we can most effectively take measures to disinfect any bikes we take in house or re-donate to our partners. Thanks for understanding.
Bike Works Warehouse (Mondays only)
3715 S Hudson St #111 (down the alley to the back entrance)
Seattle, WA 98118
11 AM – 5 PM
Ring the doorbell or leave donations by the warehouse door (we’re checking regularly!)
|Shoreline Transfer Station†
2300 North 165th Street
Shoreline, WA 98133
Bow Lake Transfer Station†
18800 Orillia Rd S.
Tukwila, WA 98118
South Transfer Station†
130 S. Kenyon Street
Seattle WA 98108
|North Transfer Station†
1350 N 34th St
Seattle WA 98103
The Recology Store* 22833 Bothell-Everett Hwy, #111 Bothell, WA 98021
|The Recology Store* Gilman Village 317 NW Gilman Blvd, #22 Issaquah, WA 98027 |
|The Recology Store* Highline Five Corners Shopping Center 15858 1st Ave S, #A100 Burien, WA 98148 |
The Recology Store* 15235 Aurora Ave N Shoreline, WA 98133
†No fee for bikes & bike parts at city transfer stations
*Residential customers to Recology Stores may drop off a maximum of 3 bikes per drop-off. Non-customers may also drop off at The Recology Store for a minimal fee. Call store for details. For large quantities or commercial disposal options, please contact Recology’s customer service line for your city.
Bicycle Donation Receipt
Q. What sorts of bikes and bike parts, etc. can I donate to Bike Works?
A. Bicycles of any quality and in any condition, bicycle parts of any variety, bike frames, and bike accessories or gear of any type.
Q. Can I get a receipt for a tax deduction for my bike and bike parts, etc. donation?
A. Yes! When dropping off your donations in the shop, we will offer you a receipt for your tax-deductible donation. You can also download one yourself by filling in the donation form below.
Q. How do I know if Bike Works will accept my donation?
A. Bike Works has many different outlets for redistributing incoming bicycle donations via our programs and partners. For more info see Recycle & Reuse Programs and Partnerships. Bike Works will accept almost everything bicycle-related. Please call with any questions: 206-257-5895 with questions.
Q. How will the bike I donate be used?
A. That depends. Donated bikes may be used as teaching tools in our youth or adult programs and then donated through a partner organization to someone in need of a bike. Bikes may be made available for the youth in our Earn-A-Bike program to earn. And bikes may be refurbished by staff or volunteers and sold in our community bike shop, with the sales revenue generated in this way funding our programming.
Host a Bike Drive
Looking for a way to help Bike Works? Does your child’s school, Girl or Boy Scout troop, or your faith