CHATHAM — Growing up on Cape Cod means different things to different people. For some people, these memories are learning to fish, digging for scallops, helping a parent run their store or sail their boat.
For others, growing up on Cape Cod meant endless summers of riding bikes. Cape Cod is famous for beautiful beaches, but much of this peninsula’s beauty can be seen upon the equally exquisite bike paths.
“Chatham Hood is sort of like a ‘Child Hood’ ” Jimmy Ponte said, as his eyes scan the dozens of bikes lined up in his factory. Ponte’s bike operation, Chatham Hood Bikes, offers visitors the wheels and often times the confidence they need to enjoy a beautiful day on Cape Cod’s bike paths. Born out of a Kickstarter in 2015, Ponte’s operation offers bike rentals and myriad other bicycling services and products to locals, visitors and bike enthusiasts alike.
Chatham Hood Bikes recently relocated: Their “factory" is still at 284 Commerce Park North in South Chatham, but their retail and rental store is now at 400 Main St. in Chatham. Their new location is in the heart of Chatham, as well as right along the bike path. Both Ponte and his wife Krista Wimberly-Ponte are excited to be beside Wes’s Barbershop and Jo Mama’s Bagels.
The couple’s affinity for biking and custom bicycle fabrication initially got the gears turning in Ponte’s head, but Chatham Hood Bikes truly came into being with a Kickstarter campaign, as there was officially no one offering bike rentals in Chatham in 2013. The campaign was a success, and Ponte and company credit the town’s community of which they are active members.
Having just equipped the Boy Scouts for their trek through Miles Standish State Forest, Ponte is now working with Chatham’s bikeways committee on improving safety and bike accessibility for the J1 visa holders and other seasonal workers.
“Last year we tried high visibility vests - that didn’t work. So this year we are working on reflective tape.”
Ponte offers seasonal employers like ‘J1-ers' a special price on bikes, as most of these people rely solely on a bicycle to get to work each day.
Community service aside, Ponte knows the best places to ride, whether it is on or off the trails. Chatham Hood Bikes creates custom, high end bikes and Ponte has spent over 25 years riding and apprenticing as a craftsman, breaking both bikes and bones along the way. Ponte is the artist, creating bike components built to last forever, Ponte and his wife both understand the delicate nature of “getting back on a bike.”
“Everyone else will be ready, but sometimes Mémé needs help getting comfortable riding again.” Ponte jokes, as he puts a hand-welded frame back upon its pegs.
Chatham Hood Bikes is open from 9 a.m. until at least 5:30 p.m. seven days a week, except for Saturdays, when they close at 3.
A newcomer to Chatham’s bike scene, Wheelhouse Bike Company offers a completely different backstory and product to Chatham locals and visitors alike. Dan Bergquist and Sarah Upton-Bergquist are also Cape Codders. Dan’s parents owned Nickerson Fish Market and took up his family’s trade becoming a lobsterman. With Wheelhouse pioneering uncharted waters, their logo also pays homage to Bergquist’s roots: their logo is a ship wheel with bicycle spokes.
After attending Barnett’s Bicycle Institute in Colorado, Bergquist had the confidence to pursue his lifelong passion of bicycles. Bergquist had previous experience in the retail and rental space, and truly fell in love with bicycles on a visit out to Durango, Colorado.
While talking about his intensive training Dan explained that he has “always been a mechanic.”
“The training was everything from overhaul to maintenance. I have always been a mechanic, but I didn’t have the professional tools to really get in there.”
Wheelhouse Bike Company is an authorized dealer of Trek bicycles, offering several styles. As an authorized dealer they will service a Trek bike even if the bike wasn’t bought at their business. “ Service is a big part of this business.” says Bergquist while walking through his newly renovated space.
The Bergquists undertook a major building restoration updating the historic building that was once a pharmacy at 48 Crowell Rd.
Their variety of Trek, children’s balance bikes, BMX bikes and even the Faraday Electric Bike, Wheelhouse will suit any outdoor adventure. While Bergquist is more the cyclist, wife Upton-Bergquist is a big fan of the Faraday Electric bike, which requires 1/10th the pedaling of a standard bicycle while keeping the pace of a standard bicycle.
On their website Wheelhousebike.com, the Bergquist’s son Jacob, an active toddler, showcases one of the balance bikes they offer.
Upton-Bergquist writes, “We love balance bikes! Our son started on one when he was two years old and he skipped over training wheels entirely. Kazam balance bikes have a built in foot rest, so they kick kick kick and coast…”
Wheelhouse Bike Co. is open for business on April 17th, Mondays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., closed on Wednesday and half-days on Sundays.