Oh yes, this is Michael's bicycle shop
By Ron Cunningham, GLOB Correspondent
EDITOR's NOTE: Ron Cunningham is a Gainesville cyclist, and Journalist in search of interesting, chain-link driven features.
In the front window of Michael Levin's, photo right, new shop is a West African drum called a djembe. On one wall hangs a surfboard.
If you walk in, you can get a cup of just-brewed coffee or, perhaps, some freshly squeezed lemonade. If you've a mind to, you can pick up his 50-yearold Dobro slide guitar or his Silvertone Aristocrat and strum a few notes. Or maybe sit down at his 1931 Schmidt-Dauber upright piano and play a little Chopin. Or perhaps the nearby organ player is more your style. Can't play an instrument? Then come to his Friday night music jam and just listen.
Music not your thing? Try your hand at painting, then. He's got paint and canvas on hand for the artistically minded. And by the way, check out the art exhibit on his wall: original photos by Ron Rakow, one-time manager for the Grateful Dead.
If you are hungry, there are usually a variety of snacks lined up on a long table, along with a tip jar for the folks who keep it stocked, thank you very much. Had a busy day? Sit down on his overstuffed leather couch and take a load off.
Coffee, tea, the odd bottle of wine. Music, art, the art of conversation. It's all to be had in Levine's new store.
Oh yes, and he also sells bicycles. And repairs them. And rebuilds them. And he will even store your bike for you if you are a cycle commuter and need a place to park it while you are at work.
All of which is another way of saying that Michael Levin's Bike Preserve is not your average bicycle shop.
"I think this store is a reflection of my personality," he said. "And my personality is eclectic."
Levin is a Gainesville software developer who used to work out of his home, where he also kept his collection of classic racing bikes and retro cycles. The Bike Preserve is located at 805 West University Avenue in a storefront that had for many years previously been occupied by a used bike shop.
"I love bicycling and I love being involved in the community," he said. "I felt this would be a good way to satisfy both of my passions."
He mostly furnished the Bike Preserve with thrift shop bargains (the leather sofa, a Moroccan rug) throwaways (two perfectly good speakers) and whatever else friends and acquaintances cared to contribute to the cause. The result is exactly the effect Levin was going for.....eclectic.
As for the art, the music, the snacks and beverages, the evening entertainment and the rest? "I think it's a good business model," he said. "What we do here is affordable and sustainable."
What's up at the Bike Preserve? Levin posts several times a day on Facebook. "We have painting stuff you're welcome to use," one recent post offers. "Sweet fruit, too," another reads. "Drop by, it's all on the house.
Oh yes, and did I mention that he also runs a bike shop?
Latest from Mike S. GLOB Master
Bob Zulu Thursday, 09 May 2013 16:25 Comment Link
Friday nite 5/10 @ Bike Preserve -
Ramos Pinta "jam" session!
Live Latin Music - featuring Ramos Pinta (Minus One)
EARLY SHOW - 9PM - 11PM
& ....it's FREE!
Marie Tuesday, 30 April 2013 11:43 Comment Link
Love this. What a great business for Gainesville to enjoy.
Bob Zulu Monday, 29 April 2013 14:58 Comment Link
Hmmmm - Where to start?
It’s awesome to still have a friendly bike shop in that location. Lots of good OLD G-ville memories from that
Area. The coffee was fantastic, as was talking story with Mike about surfing, & music .
AND - I observed that they do indeed have bike stuff there! Those are a few of my favorite things.
Thanks for the tip – Mike! AND – Muy Gracias to Bike Preserve Mike - for opening such a cool place.
Fantastic mashup business idea!
Bob Zulu Thursday, 25 April 2013 12:00 Comment Link
Are you kiiding me? A bike store moonlighting as a music studio / surf den / coffee bar?
Awesome! AND this week I also heard about the new book store disguised
as a pub - the Broken Shelves (in the Sun Center). I wish them both luck....I think I am going to have to go on a mission this weekend to check them, both out. Way to go, Gainesville business peeps!