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If you love the idea of elegant — as opposed to brute-force — solutions, then there’s something particularly beautiful about the humble bicycle. Its driver is its engine, and as a practical tool it’s often the most cost-effective and healthy answer for many people’s transportation needs.

That doesn’t mean that bikes are right for everyone, or all situations. But when a bike fits your life, your life tends to get better.

I became a bike commuter when I bought my first GT Outpost mountain bike in 1989 in Carrboro, N.C., but using a bike as transportation didn’t fit into my life again until 2005. That was the year I bought my first urban hybrid: a Trek SU-100. Soon I dreamed of machines that would take me far out into the country for hours at a time.

That’s how it started.

In the spring of 2010 I took a full-time job as an entry-level mechanic at the Trek Store of Mount Pleasant. A few months later I completed the Professional Repair and Shop Operations course at United Bicycle Institute in Portland, Oregon. By the time I left the full-time staff roster in April 2011, I had a year of valuable shop experience under my belt.

Though I continued to fill-in at the Trek Store for months after I went back out into the freelance world, over time the bulk of my bike work shifted to repairs I did at home for friends and neighbors. Eventually I decided to try offering a part-time mobile repair service.

So in August of 2012, I rolled out a new site called CHS Uptown Bikes and began offering repair, tune-up and instruction services to the Charleston neighborhoods above the Crosstown. The business is supplied through a wholesale account with United Bicycle Supply.

In the summer of 2013, CHS Uptown Bikes signed a contract to maintain Google’s bike fleet in Berkeley County, SC.’

In 2015 I put CHS Uptown Bikes on hiatus when my full-time duties with the Charleston Battery made it too difficult for me to schedule service calls in the neighborhood.