Northeast Ohio cycling enthusiasts and recreational riders have discovered Gear Up Velo in Independence. The family-owned boutique bike shop on Brecksville Road is less than five miles from several trails, including the Hemlock Creek Trail, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trail, a mountain bike trail at West Creek in Parma and the Bedford Reservation — all prime areas for riders.
Brian and Kate Rybak purchased the old Independence Bike Shop in February 2020 and opened Gear Up Velo on May 1, 2020. Brian, a former BMX Flatland competitor, holds a USA Cycling Certification as a professional mechanic and has been professionally wrenching bikes since 1998. Kate grew up in Independence and says she and her husband chose the location because people had come to know the storefront as a bike shop for more than 40 years.
In 2021, the Rybaks launched a weekly riding club using the STRAVA GPS cycling and running app, which allows the couple to create a map for riders so they know how intense each week’s ride will be. The group continues to grow every week attracting casual riders as well as cyclists who compete in nationally sanctioned races around the country.
Independence is a biker’s paradise because of the limited traffic, an abundance of scenic routes, rolling hills, and far longer and steeper climbs than are available in other parts of Cuyahoga County.