Printed on: November 19, 2013

Bike shop TLC

Shop owner passionate about fixing up bikes

By ALEX STUCKEY
astuckey@postregister.com

All Anne Marler can tell you about her bicycle is that it's gray.

She doesn't keep up on the brands, she just needs it to traverse Idaho Falls. And that's OK, because Marler, 64, has a bicycle mechanic she can trust: Aaron Arave at Intergalactic Bicycle Service.

"If I have a problem, I just call (Arave)," Marler said. "I wouldn't hesitate at all to call him for anything ... he's more than capable."

Arave's had a lot of practice. He began fixing bikes about 16 years ago, eventually becoming a certified master mechanic through the United Bicycle Institute.

His passion for bikes, however, began at age 6.

It's all about the "breeze in my knees," he said. "(Riding bikes) is just fun. It's my peaceful place."

Arave opened his Idaho Falls shop in 2011, choosing Intergalactic as a name because he's willing to fix anything and everything. Three-wheelers, old bikes, new bikes, recumbent bikes, farm carts -- you name it, Arave will fix it.

Arave and his father, who helps out occasionally, will do everything from a simple flat repair to a brake adjustment to a complete overhaul, consisting of the cleaning, repairing or replacing of every component of the bike.

Intergalactic Bicycle Service will go to a customer's home or office to pick up a bike for service and deliver it to the owner once the work is finished. That, he said, sets the business apart from its competitors.

During the summer, Arave will work on 30 to 40 bikes a week. The winter months bring a lull in customers, but Arave is able to fill that time with nostalgic fixer-uppers. He can be found peddling or driving past thrift shops and garage sales in search of an old bicycle that just needs a little tender loving care.

On Nov. 8, Arave happened to be giving some TLC to a 1983 Raleigh Racing BMX bike.

Among other things, Arave replaced the grips and the tires and cleaned the bike, restoring it to its former self. He then lists it for sale online and/or at his shop.

The market for vintage bikes is strong.

"If this was the bike you had when you were a kid, you want it back," Arave said. "I'm selling bikes in November, so I can't complain."

Brigham Young University-Idaho students also make up a large portion of his bike buyers. People will call him from all over the country, including Alaska, to hold a bike until they get into town.

Marler has purchased four bikes from Arave since he opened his shop two years ago.

She prefers to buy from Arave as opposed to the bigger-name bike shops because he personalizes the experience and is passionate about what he does.

"(Bigger shops are) more of a quick in and quick out," Marler said. "I don't get the same level of commitment from the bigger shops ... it's more of a business as opposed to a passion."

Reporter Alex Stuckey can be reached at 542-6755.

Intergalactic Bicycle Service

March to October: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday November to February: noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday

Address: 263 N. Woodruff Ave. in Idaho Falls

Phone: 360-9542

Web: http://intergalacticbicycleservice.com