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Interview with Bike Bistro's Steve Martin

January 10, 2013 - Dr. Greg Walsh

One of the best parts about being on Sanibel is the opportunity to utilize the beautiful bicycle paths that encompass the entire island. Because Sanibel’s highest point is roughly three feet above sea level, the area is a haven for experienced and beginner cyclists alike. For those of you who are looking to shed a few extra pounds, spend some time with your family outdoors or simply to improve your overall health, bike riding is an activity that we all can enjoy well into our senior years. In fact, a new study has recently come out of Colorado State University that 2.5 minutes of intense cycling can burn off as many as 200 calories! One of the newest businesses in the area, the Bike Bistro, has become a hotspot for those who are looking to purchase, repair or just have a cup of coffee and talk bicycles with the owner, Steve Martin.

Dr. Walsh: How long have you been a bicycle enthusiast and what was one of your fondest memories of bike riding?

Steve: I grew up near a series of lakes in Minneapolis. My parents took me riding around with them on the weekends in the summer. I was drawn to Wimpy's Cycles every summer and can still smell that grease and rubber smell. When I was old enough I used to find scrap bikes and rebuild them, spray paint them and sell them to save for a "real" bike. My parents were patient enough in the summer to let me overtake the garage with a piece of plywood over two sawhorses as a work bench.

I had many, many great memories riding but I think the most quintessential memory would be the moment I learned to ride without training wheels. I felt so free and proud! Dampened only by the fact had to walk it up the hill home because I couldn't ride standing up yet. So, I guess I've been an enthusiast most of my life.

Dr. Walsh: What makes Sanibel and Fort Myers such hotspots for bicycling? Any advice on the best places to ride?

Steve: I think the biggest reason we are so popular is you can ride 365 days a year. Plus, Lee county is stepping up to make paved routes all thru the county. The Bike Bistro sits along about 150 miles of mostly paths that go from Captiva to Bonita and beyond. Best of all there is an outlet for any style/type of riding you care to do.

Dr. Walsh: Tell me about the services, atmosphere and products that Bike Bistro provides.

Steve: The Bike Bistro is designed to be destination for cyclist of all types. From road teams to grocery getters, we have something in the shop for everyone. We have a great lounge area and coffee bar up front and a full service repair area in the back. In between we have accessories, clothing and bikes of every level by Felt, Ridley, Tern Folding Bikes, Fuji, Phat Cycles, Sun, Dahon and more. We pride ourselves on problem solving and friendly service. We have cycle inspired art and novelties from local artists to crafters in Minnesota to NYC. We also plan to have events for all the major grand tours and subscribe to Cycling TV to catch them live.

The Bike Bistro offers four levels of tune-ups from a basic $38 tune to a complete overhaul. We can do the research and do quality restorations and can take consignment bikes. Rentals will be a part of our regiment soon.

Dr. Walsh:Tell me about the different styles of bicycle and how some fill a customer's needs better than others.

Steve: The most important aspect of a bike purchase is how do you ride? Fast to compete, ride a century ride, simply for basic transportation. It is an investment in your well-being -- a person has to be honest with themselves about what they hope to achieve riding. Then it's the fit. Everyone is different, everyone has different body proportions and physical limitations so it is important to spend time, look at features not just price. While our bikes currently range from $189 to over $3000, each line has many subsets to match both budget and performance.

Dr. Walsh: Sounds good. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Hopefully the Bike Bistro can help Sanibel stay healthy for many years to come.

If you have any questions or comments for Dr. Walsh, you can reach him at



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