Dan and Patti Force are long-time cyclists and their passion for free-wheeling fun has become a successful business as well. Per Patti, “Dan has been a rider since his college days, participating in amateur racing for a while, but now enjoying it for fun, health and fitness. I began cycling for fitness when I met Dan and we greatly enjoy riding on the many greenways we can find locally and on vacations.”
They are the owners of Pete’s Bike and Fitness, located in Flemington, New Jersey. Their shop at 105 State Route 31 South is the third location since it was purchased in 1974 from the first owner named Pete Tedeschi who was a bike racer from Italy. His own enthusiasm for the sport, had him opening the original store in 1938. “Out of respect for him, Dan’s father decided to keep the name,” says Patti.
She goes on to tell the story, “In 1974, when Dan was graduating from Rutgers with a degree in civil engineering, his father, John Force, bought the shop from Pete. Dan decided to remain in the business rather than pursue engineering and bought the shop from his parents in the 1980s when his dad retired.”
It takes a team
The Forces make sure that those who work for them are knowledgeable and friendly, guiding those who walk through the door to the right bicycle and equipment to meet their needs. “Our staff are bicycle enthusiasts who enjoy working with people and helping our customers enjoy cycling, no matter what level or interest.”
The family that rides together…
Patti shares, “Our daughters and sons-in-law all enjoy cycling, with the girls now enjoying triathlons as well as cycling for fitness. Our grandchildren, who are three years old are now enjoying their “push bikes”.
She finds that the elements of fun, fitness and food bring families together and adds,” We like to pair a ride with a “food event” of some kind!”
Although bicycling falls into the ‘fun category,’ health and fitness are an important draw. “It is a cardiovascular fitness, muscle-tone, non-impact form of exercise that burns calories.”
Their customer base includes, “mostly fitness and casual riders, as well as the “hardcore” and enthusiast riders. Although the latter may ride further and faster, all ride for similar reasons.”
What makes their business unique is that, “Our staff cares about the customer being comfortable, safe, and enjoying bicycling. That caring also transcends through the products we choose to purvey and stand behind.”
So much to choose from
The website highlights the bicycle lines they carry. Types of bikes range from “push bikes” without pedals for toddlers, kids’ bikes, up to all types for adults: comfort, dual sport, off road, low rider, road as well as trailers, pull behinds and bike racks. They also offer many accessories and clothing.
Pete’s has a solid customer service mindset that includes the “goal of having our customers’ bicycling experiences be as enjoyable as possible. Our staff are enthusiasts and strive to be as helpful as possible.”
On the road again
Their website also lists cycling routes that their customers can experience once they wheel their way out the door. “We try to suggest routes that we have tried and find enjoyable and safe, from rides on the towpaths and other greenways, to road rides of varying levels. Hunterdon County has many beautiful places to ride and we want to share those places with others. Any time we discover a new route or path, we try to share them.”
Continuous care is available for the bikes. “Our certified mechanics service and repair thousands of bicycles each year. They are noticing a trend downwards on the ride-ability of lower priced bikes that are generally not sold through a bike shop. A bicyclist’s best experiences would occur with better equipment.”
Pete’s is the oldest continuous bike shop in Hunterdon County and they were named the 2016 Winner in the Hunterdon Happening List – voted the best Bicycle Shop this year. Something to ring the handlebar bell about!