Poppa Wheelies: Full Service Bike Shop

February 1, 2008 | By More

Story by Dianne Edwards

Doug Housley, known by local bike enthusiasts as “Poppa Wheelie,” sports a more aerodynamically- trimmed beard than the image that bears his likeness. The Poppa Wheelie logo representing Doug’s downtown Russellville bike shop shows a pony-tailed, long- bearded rugged biker “popping a wheelie” on his two-wheeler.

The logo was designed by Doug’s brother- in-law Mark Webber when Poppa Wheelies Bike Shop opened in 2004. Mark is a talented graphic artist who has illustrated a number of children’s books and has worked with the New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazines while living in New Jersey.

Poppa Wheelies Bike Shop is the culmination of a dream for Doug and wife, Cass. The shop offers bicycle tune-ups, flat tire fixes, fittings, wheel builds and custom bicycle builds from the frame up as just a few of the shop services. Bicycle lines available include KHS, Free Agent, Manhattan Cruisers, Moots Cycles and Salsa Cycles. Clothing, accessories and bicycle equipment can be found on the walls of the shop and Poppa Wheelies carries a large line of golf discs. (If you don’t know what a ‘golf disc’ is, stop by. Doug will be happy to demonstrate!)

A 1993 graduate of Russellville High School, Doug worked for a number of years at Single Tracks Bikes in Flagstaff, Ariz., where he met his future wife, Cass. The couple married in 1998 and moved to Russellville in 2002. Cass is the Circulation Department Manager for Pendergraft Library at Arkansas Tech University, who — before coming to Russellville — worked with Borders Books and Music. She opened most of the company’s coffee bars from California to New Jersey.

While working at the Arizona bike shop in the summer, Doug enjoyed employment at a local ski resort in the winter – “it was the best of both worlds,” he recalled. He has always worked on bikes, adding a new fork, a new seat or even building a ski bike.

“I don’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t working on a bike,” Doug said. When he was young, his father brought home bikes that needed repair – inspiration that has turned into today’s chosen career. His history in bike repair led to his desire to one day open his own bike shop.

Not sure what type of bike might be the best choice for you? Poppa Wheelies offers test rides on mountain bikes, road bikes, BMX, commuter and cruiser bikes. A number of road-worthy consignment bicycles are also available.

Both Doug and Cass ride their bikes recreationally and to work, something that Doug believes is both easy and feasible in a town the size of Russellville. He drives an older-model Toyota truck but is proud of the fact that he only put 3,000 miles on the vehicle during 2007.

He encourages others to ride, believing that anyone can ride their bike to work if they remember a few simple suggestions: leave early, watch the traffic closely, and pack extra clothing for unexpected weather changes. He notes that primarily it’s the “professional types” that make the effort to improve both their health and the environment by bicycling to work.

After working for Highlander Bicycles on North Arkansas for two years, Doug opened the original Poppa Wheelies Bike Shop on West B Street in August 2004. The shop remained there for a year and a half before moving to its present location, 217 N. Denver in historic Downtown Russellville.

Whether one is searching for bicycle gear, needing repairs or hunting for the perfect golf disc, consider stopping by Poppa Wheelies. The business is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 to 3. The business phone is (479) 890-6665.

In addition to great service, there’s information on local races and rides, including the Tour de Valley, Tour de Pumpkin, Cyclo-cross Series and Old Post Challenge, and literature on state and national events, as well.

If you don’t see Doug’s truck parked at the business, don’t worry. His bike is there and so is he – inside, keeping the hot coffee brewing for friends and customers alike.

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Category: Community Commerce

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