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Mr. and Mrs. Brick and manager Jim Bull at the original location.

Brick Wheels started in 1974 when Traverse City had just two bicycle stores.  City Bike and Blackmores. Tim Brick’s father Robert Brick was an accountant and the President of Morgan McCool, a fruit processing company located on the bay where the Open Space sits today and across from F&M park at the corner of Railroad Ave and State St. The plant on the Open Space was five stories tall and an eye sore to say the least. The owners of Morgan McCool were ready to retire, and their family had no interest in continuing operations.  Robert sr. as the CEO was tasked with liquidating all of their assets in exchange for a severance package.  

He wanted to take his funds and start a restaurant. He was a fabulous cook, and we knew if he turned his passion into a job it would not only be hard on him but also mean an end to his cooking for family events. Both of his sons, Tim and Robert Jr (Bob) were both in college at that time and saw the need for a better bicycle shop in TC than was currently available. Bob jr. came up with the name “Brick Wheels”. In a way it made no sense, Brick Wheels, but it was remembered.  

Location on front street behind the cook's house.

In 1974 Brick Wheels was launched at the corner of 8th and Garfield at an old Bensley Cleaners drop off site. Jim Bull was the first manager. Originally, we closed during the winters. We moved several times and spent 6 years on Front St by the Cooks House. Tim worked there the first few summers, while home from the University of Montana, but he had to return to Missoula early August for football.  Tim was looking to pursue a career as a football coach and was a Graduate Assistant FB coach at Montana. In 1977 Jim Bull decided to get a haircut and start his own career, leaving Bob Sr without a manager. It was April and bicycles, parts, and accessories were ordered but the shop was without a manager.  Bob Sr reached out to Tim as he was the only one with any experience at Brick Wheels.  

One of the first things Tim did was move the shop towards being a year-round business. He had encountered a product in Montana called Frostline Kits. These were down insulated sewing kits that included everything needed to sew your own down jackets, vests, sleeping bags and tents. Simple instructions, prepackaged down, threads, zippers and care tags were all included. This was a stroke of luck because Frostline was selling strictly mail order and their only retail outlet was in Missoula. Tim convinced Frostline to run with Brick Wheels and we became Frostlines second retail outlet. Frostline swept Northern Michigan. High School home economics departments were doubling in size when kids found out they could make a $15 down vest that would easily cost $50-60 as a completely ready to wear store bought product.

Location on 14th street.

Cross Country skiing was also experiencing a boom with a regular beginner package going for less then $100 for boots, poles, skis and bindings. At that time there were 16 outlets for these beginner packages in Traverse City. Brick Wheels decided it was time local skiers were offered more than beginner equipment. It was a tough sell until people realized the benefits of a stiff lightweight carbon pole over a bamboo Tonkin pole. Back then a carbon pole could easily cost as much as $40. There were thousands of Northern Michigan residents that had outgrown their $100 packages and wanted more than beginner equipment. Slowly we progressed into higher end light weight racing equipment, this ran parallel to the growth of the Vasa and White Pine races. Soon there was a cross country ski race every weekend across the state.

Eventually we  had a chance to purchase our own building on 14th St that served as our headquarters for many years. Around that same time the mountain bike entered the scene and Brick Wheels was quick to jump on that phenomenon. Soon there was a demand to race these new steads. Brick Wheels teamed with all the local shops to host the first Sleeping Bear Mountain Bike Races. The Sleeping Bear races soon took on national importance as we hosted several NORBA (National Off Road Bicycle Association) national championships including the Olympic qualifier for the very first US Mtn Bike team in Atlanta.

In 2022, after almost 50 years of business Tim decided to retire and sold the shop to Andy Weir. He is building on all that Tim has built over the years. Brick Wheels continues to open new fields and pioneer new products.  The service department has likewise continued to expand its services to support these new endeavors.  We take pride in the fact we are one of the top bicycle stores in the country with a name that still baffles the minds of the uninformed. 

Current location on 8th street.

1989 NORBA National Point Series at Sugarloaf in Cedar, MI 

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