“Cycling has been a passion for me for a long time,” says new Wheel Sport co-owner Mark Neupert. Wheel Sport has been a fixture in the Spokane cycling community for decades, and when the business came up for sale, Neupert and his partners (including his wife Sarah and longtime friend and business associate Nick Salisbury) jumped on it. “25 years ago, Nick and I talked about opening a bicycle store,” says Neupert. “With this acquisition, we realized that dream.”
Dennis LeKander and an associate from the Seattle area opened Wheel Sport in 1972. In 1986, LeKander sold the business to Terry Solinsky, who grew the business to its existing three locations. “We are excited to continue the legacy that has been established by the former owners in this community,” says Neupert. “Wheel Sport has great name recognition in Spokane, loyal customers, and some of the best employees in the business.”
Being avid cyclists, the new owners plan to engage Wheel Sport in supporting the local cycling community any way they can, including backing efforts to expand cycling participation, access, safety, and infrastructure. As an example, Neupert cites the move by the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, in conjunction with the Spokane Regional Transportation Council, to place a greater emphasis on bike infrastructure, including dedicated lanes, shared lanes, and paved trails. “There is always more to do, but great strides have been made in recent years to make our community more bike-friendly.” Neupert also calls out the miles of trails for mountain bikers that are being built by Washington Trails Association, Evergreen East Mountain Bike Alliance, and local riders, as well as the lands procured by the Spokane County Conservation Futures program that are providing new riding areas.
Wheel Sport will continue to operate out of its existing locations on Grand Ave. on the South Hill, Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley, and Division Street downtown, where the shop sells bikes from Specialized, Pivot, Fuji and Salsa, among other brands. Pay them a visit at one of their shops and come demo one of their bikes at the Spokatopia Outdoor Adventure Festival July 8 at Camp Sekani Park. //