Stepping into Z Cycle Shop at 1405 N. Ogden St. is like being transported back in time to when people knew their neighbors, stopped in to say hello and catch up. Here, customers can receive some good old-fashioned advice and face-to-face connection.
“I started my own bike shop because I believe this is an industry that I can make more accessible and fun for people,” said 29-year-old Dmitri Rumschlag, the shop owner.
Z Cycle Shop opened in September 2018 and is picking up steam now that it is spring and everyone wants to be back on their bikes, said Rumschlag, who can be found working on bicycles alongside Manuel “Manny” McCree, a certified master mechanic. Customers have said that the two are a big part of their affection for the place.
One such customer, Adam Coleman, said Rumschlag treats the shop as more than just a business.
“I’ve been to many bike shops and Dmitri is genuine,” said Coleman, who is recieving help from Rumschlag in starting a bike group. “It’s not just a business here, and he’s so friendly.”
Customers can stop in for one-time repairs or become monthly members like Coleman, for ongoing upkeep of their bikes. Members of the shop also have access to stands, tools and consumables like lubricant, bike wash, chain cleaner and rags.
“The most frustrating thing about cycling culture is feeling accepted and like you are not being judged by your setup, how fast you can go or your lack of understanding about the mechanical components,” Rumschlag said. “I like to offer a way for people to become more confident in these aspects by always offering a smile, knowledge or a simple tool if it’s warranted or requested.”
The shop is on the historic Emerson Block in Capitol Hill, which was built in 1894.
And for Rumschlag and McCree, community is key.
“It’s very important to Dmitri,” McCree said. “And that is part of the mission — to really welcome people and be a safe and comfortable space. Bikes bring people together, and here we are doing something good for the Earth too.”
Rumschlag also hopes to do his part toward protecting the planet by refurbishing and selling bikes. He sees “imminent danger to the planet from environmental pollutants.”
Rumschlag grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and was raised by a single mom who grew up poor. His mother, Michele Port, joined the U.S. Army as a way out of that life. She spent 20 years as a member of the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Throughout her career, she did 400 parachute jumps. She also earned two master’s degrees while raising Rumschlag. Port now lives in Highland, Maryland.
“Growing up with a military mom was hard. Seeing the stress and watching her work so hard, even on her days off, really showed me what real work looks like,” Rumschlag said. “Money was tight and she pushed me to work and grow and learn to earn. Instead of being given a stipend for basic chores, these were considered a general prerequisite and my duty as a child.”
His mom’s love of motorcycles and bicycles introduced Rumschlag to them early on. He recalls first riding a bike at age two and being thrilled by the experience.
“I remember my first bike-riding experience was at an Army air base and I was popping wheelies over the cracks with a dinky little Huffy,” Rumschlag said. “That memory constantly reminds me that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun.”
Rumschlag had never been west of the Mississippi River when he set off for the west coast on his bicycle. But, after breaking his wrist in Colorado, he needed to take a break to recover. That was six years ago.
In addition to running Z Cycle, Rumschlag has also begun working toward a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
“I have wanted to be an engineer since I was a kid. I had a rough school life and that made it hard for me to feel comfortable in large groups. This drove me to work and tinker and build as a hobby,” Rumschlag said. “I have always had notions of becoming an inventor who creates gadgets and products that help people. The skills I’m learning in engineering school definitely help me in the shop.”
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