Meet Kat De La Cruz of FreeHub Bicycles…
With 22 miles of the Upstate’s Swamp Rabbit Trail, our city is the perfect place to have a bike! But if you don’t have a bike where do you start? We recently sat down with FreeHub Bicycles Downtown’s Shop Manager and Certified Technician to discuss her role at the shop, bike maintenance and more. So let’s go meet FreeHub Bicycles Downtown’s bike mechanic, Kat De La Cruz.
360: How did you become a bike mechanic?
Kat: While working at REI Co-op here in Greenville, I was always interested in working in the bike shop. It seemed so cool to be able to connect with our customers in a very hands on manner. I worked really hard and finally earned my spot building bikes in that shop. Eventually, the Certified Technician job became available and I was able to go to Barnette’s Bicycle Institute and receive my BRO certification. When Matt Rinella (the owner of FreeHub) approached me about helping him open the Downtown Freehub location (at 250 Riverplace along in the Reedy River.) I thought it would be a great experience to coalesce the things I’m passionate about: bikes, beer, and community!
360: What’s your exact role at FreeHub Bicycles?
Kat: I’m the store’s Shop Manager and Certified Technician.
360: What do you love most about your job?
Kat: I love the way we are helping to build a cycling community here in downtown Greenville. We have all walks of life come through our doors: commuters getting to and from work, tourists looking to rent bicycles, mountain and road cyclists, skateboarders, and even people that bicycles are their only way of transportation. FreeHub Bicycles Downtown has become a hub for people to share experiences, get the service work they need on their bikes to keep rolling, and a place to have a cup (coffee or a craft beer) with a friend. We are proud to work closely with great Greenville programs like the Village Wrench and Upstate SORBA to extend our community even further.
360: If you could give any bike maintenance advice, what would it be?
Kat: First, buy the correct bike for the type of riding you want to do with your friends. We definitely can help you with that part! Secondly, keeping your bike clean and lubricated will help your bike last multiple years instead of only a few. We offer classes once a month called “Gears and Beers” where we go over things like drivetrain cleaning and lubrication. I would be happy to answer any questions about how to keep your bike looking fresh.
360: When you’re not at FreeHub working, what do you love to do?
Kat: Besides commuting and mountain biking, I love reclaiming trash and junk! There’s such an opportunity right now to bring how much we throw away to peoples’ attention and I try to highlight that with “trash art.” One of my favorite pieces hanging in the shop is called “Battle of the Death Saw.” It combines old cassettes and cogs with Star Wars space ships in an epic battle scene. I am striving to reduce, reuse, and recycle not only at home, but also in my business practices.
360: That’s awesome. Thanks, Kat! Keep up the great work. We’ll see you on the trail soon!
Feel free to visit FreeHub Bicycles Downtown anytime to say hi to Kat, browse the shop or just grab a cup of coffee! You can stay up to date with all the FreeHub happenings by following them on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
Want to meet more people in the Upstate? Click here for more.