GLOCESTER – Vintage Cycles & More in the shopping plaza at 712 Putnam Pike on Route 44 in Chepachet, opening March 1, is likely the only place in the world to go antiquing and repair a bicycle or purchase a new one, including a luxe model from Europe. Not only is the store unique, planning is underway to make it a hub for cyclists.
Owner Matthew LaCroix and his wife Isabel, who reside in Burrillville, “want to bring the northern Rhode Island cycling community together, from kids to older folks,” according to Matthew.
At Vintage Cycles & More, LaCroix combines his enthusiasm for bicycles and mechanical know-how with his interest in antiques and collectibles. He has created a retail, consignment and repair space where one can browse and purchase furniture, home décor items, and a variety of collectibles and other items; and/or – buy a brand new bicycle, custom design or high end model; or get a bicycle fixed.
“A lot,” of the work at the new store will be repairing bikes, explains LaCroix.
“Everybody needs (an) update on their system,” such as a new bicycle saddle and tires, he said. What’s more, LaCroix will provide classes for bicyclists such as lessons for beginners, updates on safety, or training in how to do basic work, such as repairing a tire tube or fixing a bike chain.
LaCroix’s lifelong affair with bicycles began on his sixth birthday when his father bought him a bicycle.
“It was something incredible to me,” he recalled. “Within a few years, out of curiosity, I took it apart and put it back together.”
Decades later, LaCroix is no hack, but seems a natural – and expert who learned from the best.
In the early 1980s, LaCroix was, “constantly going to a bicycle shop, A.A. Vittorio Cycling,” and, “owner Paul Rossato was probably the best mechanic during that time period in the whole country.”
“He was a mentor,” said LaCroix.
When Rossato retired in 2002, LaCroix took over his shop.
“Unfortunately he had a rare illness,” said LaCroix of his mentor, who later died.
Rosatto’s legacy is special to LaCroix.
“I remember him everyday, and have many pictures of him from his shop to remind me of how great he was,” he said.
LaCroix’s new store sells bicycles ranging from entry level to custom. He repairs bicycles and creates custom bikes, including those with vintage frames, such as of steel and lugged, from the 1970s.
Avid bicyclists and racers might prefer his imported cycles.
“Italians make fantastic products in cycles – really high quality,” he said.
The made-in-Italy bicycles are crafted from carbon fiber so light weight he notes, a person can, “pick [it] up with a pinky.”
LaCroix has owned two other bicycle businesses, one in North Smithfield and the other Woonsocket, back in 1990’s America when, “everyone was doing extreme sports.”
Fast-forward to today: the owner says he and his wife, “were searching for a spot where there is a lot of traffic and a good parking lot.”
They say they’re pleased to have found the perfect location, and that “712” shopping plaza property manager Jeremiah Adler of Adler Brothers is, “gracious and great to work with.”
A bonus to the location is that Chepachet, “is antiques central,” says LaCroix. Whether in antiques, collectibles, or bicycles, he said he, “strives for high quality,” and offers, “superior customer service.”
Glocester is also a good place for LaCroix’s store because, as Isabel notes, “there’s not much out here for bicycle shops,” with the closest in Providence and Cumberland.
The LaCroixs have grand plans for cyclists and community, and plan to participate as well as create their own local activities. To that end, the couple already sponsors once a month bicycle rides at paths in Rhode Island, where they provide beverages and pizza or sandwiches.
Visit them at the store’s grand opening on Wednesday, March 1 or during regular hours to follow from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays at 712 Putnam Pike, Unit 6, Chepachet.