Kathleen Emry is calling it quits. After 21 years of owning and operating the quaint FreeRange Cycles bike shop in Fremont, she has handed over the keys to Shawna Williams.
Emry had been talking about a potential retirement for a while now so at first, I didn’t quite believe it. But in June, the 700-square-foot shop was already showing signs of change. There was a new face behind the counter and the space, once teeming with 21 years worth of trinkets — art, postcards, stuffed animal, photos — felt surprisingly bare.
“One day I came in and found all my stuffed animal chickens piled up in the backroom!” Kathleen Emry said with laugh. “That’s good though. I want Shawna to make it her own. I want the shop to represent her vision.”
The little shop that could
For Emry, her vision for a shop started in the 1980s. She hadn’t grown up biking. She and her three sisters had shared one Western Flyer among them as kids, and she didn’t start biking again until well into her adulthood. But after stepping foot into Wright Brothers Cycle Works for a bike fix, she knew she had found her calling.
Intrigued by bicycle mechanics, Emry signed up for some bicycle maintenance classes and found herself working for Wright Brothers before long.
“I remember walking in and taking classes and thinking, ‘I love working with my hands’,” Emry said. “At the time I had just completed a Masters in ministries and had come to the realization that being an out queer in the Catholic Church wasn’t going to work. My philosophy is to be one’s authentic self in the world today and for me, the best way to do that at that time was to nurture my gifts, and that was working with my hands.
“But things brew with me. It takes time for me to manifest things.” Continue reading