With 6 years of endurance coaching under his belt and eager to make a profession out of cycling, Larry Myles opened Be Real Sports Cycling & Fitness in 2018. Myles and company provide a wealth of knowledge to everyone that enters the store, which features the latest in custom cycling and endurance equipment.
The shop also offers bicycle servicing, repairs, and rentals, aiming to return riders to the road efficiently. The skilled technicians are available within 24 hours, offer delivery and pick-up, and will lend clients a loaner during the meantime.
Using their fitness studio, Myles and his team will individually fit each client to a bike that caters to their needs and body type. They deal, service, and rent a substantial assortment of bicycles and provide coaching services with programs designed for each individual.
“We rent and work on all makes and models of road and mountain bikes, servicing everything from vintage Schwinns to modern superbikes,” Myles said. “If riders aren’t sure what they’re doing right or wrong with their fitness regimens, they can stop by our fitness studio for professional advice.”
Myles has always been an avid cyclist, racing on BMX and eventually endurance circuits. He discovered his passion for providing apparel and servicing bikes when local and regional colleges and universities started programs and he solicited his expertise.
In 2010, his wife, who he referred to as “business savvy,” suggested that he convert his passion into a business. Shortly after that, Myles left his career in industrial chemical and mechanical engineering to pursue his dream of opening a bike shop.
Myles is joined by his son Mark, and the two strongly emphasize community, keeping it as a focal point in their efforts.
“So here we are, one of the few bike shops in our area, and we are in a great place within our community, with the Greenbelt right behind us and on the fringe of the belt line,” he said. “We’re community-driven like no tomorrow, and we put on events and host weekly group rides for all ability levels.”
In the early years of Be Real, sponsored group rides would feature just over 10 riders; their more recent rides boast nearly 40. Both father and son said cycling had been steadily growing in the area, but nothing compares to the uptick in interest sparked by the pandemic.
“Covid has changed the landscape of everything, and that’s not a cliche anymore – it’s changed,” Myles said. “We were already in a good spot when the pandemic hit because most people in the community that knew me associated me with bikes. We had that theme going, but then the boom happened, and everyone who was contained wanted to be outside, increasing sales.”
Myles said they hadn’t slowed down since, taking that traction and continuing to build on it. He said he continues to encounter people that didn’t know they were around, but he’s slowly trying to change that.
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