Local Find: Fridrich Bicycle
The oldest bicycle shop in Cleveland, and possibly in the United States, is located just down the street from the West Side Market. Fridrich Bicycle stood its ground in this historical city for the past 135 years. What started out as a coal and feed store in 1883, has always leaned heavily towards bikes – even when the store sold auto parts and sporting goods.
Chuck Fridrich is the third generation owner of the bicycle shop. His grandfather and father ran the store before him. “My dad devoted his whole life to this; he’s the main reason why we’re sitting here today,” says Chuck. General Manager, Jane Alley, is his right arm when it comes to running the store.
A Bicycle Shop for the Community
Fridrich Bicycle over the years earned a reputation as the community bicycle shop, attracting a full spectrum of people. “We know the customers’ names, and the customers know our names,” says Jane. A lot of individuals are repeat buyers. No matter if you’re looking for a bicycle, need a repair, or are even in the market for a sled, the staff at the shop can help you.
When you walk into Fridrich Bicycle there’s a sense of nostalgia. Many times, adults will bring up stories of when they’d visited the store years earlier as kids. The rubber smell is still the same, and the floors are just as creaky. “Customers say, ‘you know I’m so glad that you guys are still here,’” says Chuck.
The bicycle shop sells multiple types of bikes, but they used to manufacture its own brand of bicycle until the 60s. Chuck’s father, Joseph, loved and always had a Cadillac. In return, he named the bicycles created at the store the Fridrich Cadillac. You can still find Fridrich Cadillacs on the road today.
The entire staff is connected by their shared passion for bikes. “A few of our employees ride bikes to and from work everyday,” says Jane. “Doesn’t matter the weather; they’ll come in with icicles on their beards.”