LOWVILLE An elementary teacher and coach is now peddling his skills in bicycle repair and art.
Ive always been kind of a tinkerer, said Jacob K. Steria, owner of Cycle Therapy, 7661 Sharp St. I enjoy it.
Mr. Steria, a first-grade teacher and varsity wrestling coach at Lowville Academy and Central School, recently opened a business at his residence after fixing bicycles solely for friends last year.
Around the same time, he began making clocks and other artistic pieces out of old sprockets and other bike parts, selling them to buyers in Northern New York and throughout the country on Etsy and other websites.
Im becoming a bit of a pack rat, Mr. Steria said, noting his penchant for seeking out spare parts that would otherwise be destined for a scrapyard.
The business offers tuneups, repairs, complete bicycle and wheel builds, bicycle pickup and drop-off, and mobile repair services.
While other places in the area do some bike repair, Lewis County enthusiasts have had to travel to Watertown or Utica for bicycle-specific shops, Mr. Steria said.
I thought it would be good to have a place just for bikes, he said.
Starting this week, Mr. Steria also is working to organize group bicycle rides at 5 p.m. each Thursday, barring inclement weather. Plans are to split into two or three groups and decide on a route from there.
For more information on the shop or the weekly rides, call 767-5399 or visit the Cycle Therapy Facebook page or www.cyclethera pyrepair.com.
Mr. Steria admitted that his new venture would have seemed highly unlikely a decade ago, given that he hadnt ridden a bike since he was 8 years old, had no formal bicycle repair training and hadnt been overly proficient in art classes.
His wife, Cheyenne, however, bought him a mountain bike as a wedding present, and they began riding together.
Eventually, the Sterias began picking out vacation spots based on bike-riding routes and accommodations.
Mr. Steria also built his own road bike, which he still uses, and became increasingly interested in maintenance and repair work, buying tools as he needed them.
I learned just by trial and error, he said.
While the Sterias former apartment above Countryside Veterinary Clinic on Utica Boulevard was not conducive to housing an extensive bicycle repair work, the basement at the Sharp Street house they bought a few years ago provides ample space for a workshop, and the garage is filled with bicycles which he either owns or is fixing up for others.
The main thing about working on bikes is you dont need a huge space to do it, Mr. Steria said.
The bicycle art aspect of his business came about after he garnered an oversupply of spare parts and saw pictures of other peoples bike-part creations. He said he hopes to continue to expand the types of pieces that offers.
Im just trying to branch out and do different things, Mr. Steria said.
The shop owner said he views the bicycle venture strictly as a side business and has no desire to give up his teaching or coaching careers.
However, with most of the bike work coming during the summer months, he feels the business is a good complement to his other two vocations, which keep him busy the rest of the year.
And, while the work requires patience and skill, Mr. Steria said bicycles arent the only things that receive restoration therapy in his basement workshop.
Its kind of a good stress release, he said.