Category Archives: 2015

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

This weather is feeling more like October than December, but it’s the holiday season nonetheless. We hope you will make Wheelhouse a stop on your shopping rounds, and to help entice you, we’ve put together a bit of a gift guide for you to peruse.

Check out some unique and thoughtful gift ideas below. We’ve tried to find something at many different price points all with one thing in common: QUALITY.

Plus, everything in-stock is currently 15% off!

Shop local. Shop US-made. Shop hand-made. Shop different. Shop Detroit.

This adorable Lazer infant helmet with fishies is perfect for that kiddo getting ready to hit the road in a trailer or kids seat in the spring! $25 Reg. – Holiday Price $21.25


Check out this kick-@$$ saddlebag from Chrome Industries, “the original maker of bombproof gear for living and riding in the city.” All their goods are tough and foxy, kinda like a lady in a Prince song. Made in the USA and guaranteed for life. Hardware-free off the rack, integrated laptop sleeve, 100% waterproof. $160 Reg. – Holiday Price $136
This bike’s Dutch-inspired frame is sharp, light and simple. It’s 8-speed (all ya need!) and comes ready to roll with kickstand, fenders and rear rack.
$454 Reg. – Holiday Price $386


If you have a cyclist in your life who always has to stop by the shop – or heaven forbid, a gas station – for air, do them a favor and wrap them up a floor pump as a gift. It’s a game-changer. The Pedro Domestique is sturdy, dependable and affordable.
$33.99 Reg. – Holiday Price $28.89

A perfect stocking stuffer for the burgeoning commuter. Includes 7 sizes of allen keys, a T25 Torx wrench and 2 screwdrivers. Includes Neoprene carry case. $16.95 Reg. – Holiday Price $14.41
Mini-18 $32.95 Reg. – Holiday Price $28.01
Mini-6 $9.95 Reg. – Holiday Price $8.46

Fortified lights are truly amazing. The company is so confident in this product – and we can attest to this as well – that they guarantee them for life against theft, breakage and water damage. That is some serious confidence. USB rechargeable too!
Afterburner Rear Light: $49 Reg. – Holiday Price $41.65
Aviator Headlight: $69 Reg. – Holiday Price $58.65
COMBO SET: $99 Reg. – Holiday Price $84.15

When in doubt, give Wheelhouse! We have t-shirts, water bottles (regular and insulated) and there’s always gift cards!
WH T-Shirt: $15 Reg. – Holiday Price $12.75
WH Water Bottle: $3.99 Reg. – Holiday Price $3.39
WH Insulated Water Bottle: $8.99 Reg. Holiday Price $8.49

Gift Cards can be purchased for any denomination and can be used for tours, rentals, retail or service. Gift cards are not marked 15% off, but the end-user is eligible for any promotions available at the time of their redemption.


We are featuring $35 tune-ups all this month, a must for winter riding. We also have the regular array of helmets, lights, tires, tubes and general assorted bike gear — all of which is 15% off! 

Finally, don’t forget to finish your shopping at other Detroit businesses. Pick up your Detroit Small Business Passport at Wheelhouse or one of the other 40 participants, each of which is offering some kind of holiday discount. Other destinations include The Peacock Room, Pure Detroit, Source Booksellers,Detroit Institute of Bagels, Detroit Vegan SoulRUNdetroitHugh and Detroit Hardware.

We are open four days a week at our Riverfront Location:
Fri / Sat / Mon: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Truly wishing you and yours peace, health and happiness this holiday season and all of 2016.

Thanks for your ongoing support,
Kelli, Tatiana, Dave, Rob, Blake, Derek, Gwen & the entire Wheelhouse crew

Outspokin’ on Wheelhouse: ‘Riding a Renaissance’

Wheelhouse Detroit bike shop on the Detroit RiverWalk.

Wheelhouse Detroit bike shop on the Detroit RiverWalk.

We are so honored and thrilled that the industry magazine “Outspokin’” recently wrote a wonderful article on Wheelhouse, entitled “Riding a Renaissance.”

Writer Peter Koch eloquently captures what Wheelhouse is about: bikes for everyone, and everyone on bikes in Detroit. We thought we would share a few excerpts from the article here.

On beating the odds:

“We all know the relatively long odds of succeeding in this industry—how 70 percent of new retail shops close within three years and roughly 1,000 shut their doors every single year. But when Wheelhouse Detroit first opened its doors back in June of 2008, the odds seemed stacked even higher. After all, here was a seasonal business setting up shop in an unheated, uninsulated 500-square-foot shed in an Upper Midwest city that also happened to be the poorest in America. To make matters worse, the Detroit economy was in free fall, weighed down by sweeping layoffs in the local auto industry, doubledigit unemployment and one of the nation’s highest home foreclosure rates. But none of that stopped Kelli Kavanaugh and then-business partner Karen Gage (who sold her half of the business to Kavanaugh last winter)—both industry outsiders working in community development—from seeing opportunity. As passionate lifelong cyclists who were intimately familiar with community needs, they were confident of one thing: cycling was on the rise in Detroit, and downtown was in desperate need of a shop.”

On the mission:

But this wouldn’t be a high-end boutique peddling carbon frames and Tour de France dreams. From the start, Wheelhouse Detroit was organized around the singular goal of getting more city people on bikes through sales of reliable workhorse bikes, rentals and—an unusual offering—guided bike tours, then keeping them rolling with top-notch service.

On our future:

Today the shop’s future looks much brighter. Not only is it open year-round and thriving relative to those bleak early days, but a second, larger location is in the works. And out on the streets of Detroit, the number of cyclists is exploding, ushering in a sort of two-wheeled revolution in Motor City.

On the Riverwalk

This is where locals get their fresh air, and where tourists come to see signs of the city’s burgeoning renaissance. And Wheelhouse is ready to facilitate, with its well-maintained rental fleet and, improbably for a bike shop, guided tours.

On the Wheelhouse mission and philosophy:

“I think there’s a little bit of attitude around cycling—‘I’m cool because I cycle, I’m really fit because I cycle, I’m smarter than you because I cycle’—that permeates the industry and cyclists,” she says. She tries to combat that image with the tours, where virtually anybody can get on a bike, ride a dozen miles, learn about Detroit and have fun. “You don’t have to wear spandex, you don’t have to ride a fancy bike. And I think that serves as a gateway drug to becoming a regular cyclist.” In other words, the tours are a great way for newbies to gain confidence and learn the rules of the road in a small group.

“We’re emphatically not about performance here. We’re about making people comfortable, and hopefully turning them from very occasional riders to very regular riders.”

On the city’s growing bike culture:

“It’s funny to see the change that’s happened in Detroit in eight years,” Kavanaugh says. “It’s gone from people saying, ‘You’re insane to ride a bike in Detroit’ to people being really interested in it.” Three bike shops opened in the first half of 2015, and at least a couple more are slated to. “Detroit is this super desirable place to do business right now. It’s super hip.”

On the future of Wheelhouse

Now that growth appears to be snowballing. This summer, Kavanaugh opened a tiny Wheelhouse rental outpost downtown in a converted shipping container. She’s hoping to open another in the autumn near Eastern Market. … By the end of the year, Kavanaugh plans to open a second full-size retail location of Wheelhouse Detroit. “It will focus more on retail and service, and I’ll keep the rentals and tours at our current location.” There will be a small amount of overlap in either direction, though, so customers can rent a bike from the new shop, or get their ride repaired at the old one.

On biking Detroit:

“Whether they’re buying their first bike, upgrading from a beater—inherited or from Wal-Mart—renting or going out on one of our tours, we get people on bikes,” says Kavanaugh. “We’re a portal into cycling in Detroit.”

Thanks again to Peter and “Outspokin’”! You can read the entire article here.

Movement + Wheelhouse 2015 = Bike Parking & Rental Discount

One of our favorite weekends of the year is the Movement Electronic Music Festival held over Memorial Day weekend. We love to get as many visitors onto a bike as possible, as we truly believe it is the best way to see the city.

For the first time evemovement map 2015_PROGRAM_FINAL-01r, we are thrilled to be offering complimentary bike valet at the festival this year. So you can enjoy the festival knowing that your bike is secure and safe!

We will be located at 170 E. Jefferson, just east of the festival entrance in front of Mariner’s Church — #7 on the Movement festival map.

Hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. each day.

We are offering rental discounts to anyone wearing a Movement festival wristband all weekend long. So whether you are looking for a quick ride to Eastern Market for lunch, a trip to Belle Isle for a swim, or want a bike for transportation the entire weekend, we’ve gotcha covered!

$10/2 hours (reg. $15)
$18/half-day/4 hours (reg. $25)
$25/full day (reg. $35)
$40/2 days (reg. $50)
$60/3 days (reg. $75)
$75/full week (reg. $99)

You can call 313-656-2453 to reserve a bike at these rates. We’ve even developed a self-guided tour you can ride on your own! Check it out on the Movement Blog HERE.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Wheelhouse — and the festival — over Memorial Day weekend!

Job Posting: Cadillac Square Rental Operator

Job Title: Cadillac Square Rental Operator
Pay Rate: $9/hour to start w/ $1/hr raise in 30 days w/adequate performance
Hours: 42/week (Tuesday-Saturday) There is some flexibility with days/hours, but a regular set schedule is a must.

Duties: Wheelhouse Detroit will be operating bicycle rentals at Cadillac Square this summer and we’re looking for someone who loves bikes, people and Detroit to rent bikes for us! The Operator will be responsible to collect payment and signed waivers as well as adjust seat heights for customers to ensure they are comfortable. Helmets and locks will be provided as well.

Skills: Scared to talk to strangers? Need not apply. This job will require cash management, so some retail experience is preferred. Minor mechanical skills, including the ability to change a flat tire is preferred. Must have weekend and holiday availability.

The ideal candidate will be comfortable with diverse clientele and the ability to provide basic recommendations on cycling in Detroit. The ideal candidate will be willing to commit to working 5 days a week through August 31. (Planned vacations/days off not-withstanding, of course!)

No uniform is required, although we will provide you with a couple of t-shirts. Open-toed shoes and fancy clothes are not recommended.

There will also be opportunities to pick up Bike Parking shifts, which pays $8/hour and sometimes comes with free event tickets (ie, Movement Festival, Detroit City FC matches). It’s probably the most fun you can have working.

This job is at-will, part-time and seasonal.

Send resume and three references to No calls, please.

8th Anniversary: 8 Great Detroit Rides

430457_10150603923188773_688806249_nIt is Wheelhouse’s 8th Anniversary (can you believe it?!?!?!?). So in honor of eight great years of bringing bike sales, service, rentals and tours to the Detroit Riverfront, Kelli put together a list of her eight favorite city rides.

Get out there and enjoy this fabulous weather and our fascinating city. And, Happy Birthday to Us!

  1. Grand River. From Downtown all the way out to Brightmoor and Old Redford. Sites along the way include the Albert Kahn-designed Cadillac Building and the Grande Ballroom. Head south on Oakman for go-cart racing at Doll’s. Just west of the Southfield Freeway, the lovely neighborhoods of Rosedale Park and North Rosedale are worth some meandering.
  2. Del Ray/Woodmere/Southwest. Head west on W. Jefferson past Livernois to explore the supremely fascinating neighborhood of Del Ray. Plan your visit on a Saturday or Sunday so you can swing through Fort Wayne. Head up Dearborn Street where, at Fort Street, you can enter the gently rolling Woodmere Cemetery. Notable graves include James Vernor, Detroit soda superstar, and Eddie Slovick, the last U.S. soldier to be executed for desertion. Jump onto Vernor to hit up a taco truck.
  3. Creekside/Conner Creek Greenway/Mt. Olivet. The Eastside is a great place to ride. Hit up the tony Villages on the way out to the Jefferson/Chalmers area and scope out marinas, canals, and the Fisher Mansion. Then head up St. Jean and Conner all the way to 8 Mile, with City Airport and Mt. Olivet Cemetery as scenic points along the way. Rest Stop at Two-Way Inn, pay a visit to the Dorais Velodrome and turn-around at the charming Milbank Trail, just south of the border.
  4. Hamtramck. So. Many. Bars. Plus the Power House, Juxtapoz houses, Ride It Skate Park, Hamtramck Disneyland, Veteran’s Park and Hamtramck Stadium. All this and good food make Hamtramck a dream destination.
  5. Dequindre Cut/Riverwalk. This might be a “duh” entry, but riding along the Detroit River and up The Cut never gets old.
  6. Belle Isle. Yep, another “duh,” but it’s just a great place to ride (Penske Infrastructure [TM] notwithstanding). Heading out to the Lighthouse for a most-excellent view of Lake St. Clair is always a pleasure, and stops at the Aquarium, Beach, Conservatory and Dossin Museum are great bonuses.
  7. Rouge Park/Hines Drive. Head west on Warren to reach Rouge Park which, being even larger than Belle Isle, is worth spending some time exploring. Feeling ambitious? Keep heading west to hit up Hines Drive, a 17-mile parkway that’ll take you all the way to Northville. Bonus: 6 miles are closed to vehicular traffic on Saturdays.
  8. Palmer Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Kelli’s a University of Detroit Mercy grad and lived in the University District in the 90’s, so she is definitely biased, but riding through the woods in Palmer Park is inarguably an amazing experience. The neighborhoods in this sector of NW Detroit are spectacular: the afore-mentioned University, Green Acres, Palmer Woods and Sherwood Forest. Plus you can pop over to Dutch Girl Donuts for sustenance. Oh – Marygrove College is not that far and is simply stunning. People for Palmer Park has a group ride every Thursday evening led by the inimitable Henry Ford ii (Wheelhouse’s Belle Isle tour guide!) if you’re interested in an insider-led ride in the area.

47948_428949163772_7919227_nSpeaking of tours, check our tour schedule and let us guide you on your next ride through the city. We can also hook you up with a bike if you need a set of wheels.

However you ride, come join us and explore Detroit on a bike!

Job Posting: General Shop Help

Job Title: Shop Helper
Pay Rate: $8/hour
Hours: 10-20/week

Duties: A shop helper at Wheelhouse Detroit is an integral part of a busy, multi-faceted bike shop that services a diverse clientele with a strong focus on customer service. S/he will assist with renting bikes; general inquiries; minor mechanical issues such as changing a flat tire; restocking inventory; cleaning…and whatever else needs to get done!

Skills: The most important thing necessary for this job is the willingness to jump in and get your hands dirty! Scared to talk to strangers? Need not apply. This job can be high-energy and it can be fun. It can be stressful and it can be quiet. A successful candidate will be quick on their feet and nimble of mind. Must have weekend and holiday availability.

This job is the starting position at the Wheelhouse and, depending on your skill-set, can lead to another position at a higher wage fairly quickly (ie, Tour Sweeper, Mechanic or Retailer). Most shifts are 5-6 hours a stretch. No uniform is required, although we will provide you with a couple of t-shirts. No open-toed shoes and fancy clothes are not recommended.

There will also be opportunities to pick up Bike Parking shifts, which also pays $8/hour and sometimes comes with free event tickets (ie, Movement Festival, Detroit City FC matches). It’s probably the most fun you can have working.

This job is at-will, part-time and seasonal. Season is May-September.

Send resume and three references to