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Setting Up Shop

Democrat Photo by Jeanne Sager

CHARLIE SANBORN, RIGHT, opened up shop in Livingston Manor on Saturday. His son, Evan, left, will be a big part of the business.

On the Cinder Track

By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR — April 8, 2005 – Charlie Sanborn’s got a secret weapon to make his new bike shop the talk of the town.
He’s got Evan Sanborn.
The 15-year-old is going to make sure his dad keeps Cinder Track Bicycles stocked with the “cool” stuff kids want.
And the elder Sanborn is pretty sure he’s got a handle on what everyone else needs.
An Orange County native and Livingston Manor resident, Charlie Sanborn officially opened the doors on his new Pearl Street store Saturday afternoon.
A competitive cyclist since the early 1980s, Sanborn has done his time in the trenches.
He’s worked in bike shops and owned bike shops. He’s ridden bikes and fixed bikes.
“I’ve been working in the bike industry on and off – as much on as off – since 1985,” Sanborn recalled. “This store is lucky number seven for me.”
Cinder Track Bicycles is his first sole proprietorship, and it’s a little different from the stores he’s had in the past.
It’s a small shop – there’s only enough space in the front room for about four bikes, plus a display case for skateboard necessities from trucks to wheels.
But Sanborn’s original plan was to set up shop in his garage – he got a storefront because none of the dealers wanted to work with a garage-based operation.
“They kind of forced my hand,” he said.
But the shop in the Manor is perfect for his needs, he said.
“It suited my needs almost to a ‘t’.”
There’s easy access to the back where he can repair and assemble bikes (“I’d never abandon my bicycle repair skills,” he said), and it’s near enough to his home that he can keep much of his inventory in his garage.
In a take off on the hamlet’s motto, “small town, big backyard,” the store’s motto is “small store, big warehouse.”
“Just because we couldn’t fit it doesn’t mean we don’t have it,” Sanborn said with a laugh. “Come back after lunch, I’ll have your bike.”
Cinder Track stocks Fuji and Haro bicycles, and they’ll soon have the Marin bicycle line.
He also has skateboards from companies like World Industries and Spitfire.
The skateboard side of the business meshes well with what Sanborn had planned – and it meshes with the community.
Although other bike shop owners warned him off the skating lines, Sanborn said he’s been impressed with the Manor kids.
“Most, if not all, of the kids who have been in here have been very cool,” Sanborn said. “They are so excited they don’t have to go to the mall to get what they need.”
It’s tough for kids to find skateboard accessories or even the boards themselves in Sullivan County, Sanborn said, but he doesn’t have the high mallspace rents. He can provide good, quality product at a competitive price, and he’ll take special orders with a deposit.
“While I don’t have the biggest inventory, I hand pick every single piece of inventory,” Sanborn said.
“And I have a kid – he keeps me informed as to what’s cool and what’s not.”
The younger Sanborn is excited by the chance to help out in his dad’s shop.
In fact, he made Cinder Track’s first sale out of the skateboarding side of things – some curb wax to a neighborhood skater.
The elder Sanborn’s focus will mostly be on the bicycle end of things.
“I’m here to ride my bicycle,” he said with a laugh. “If I’m not on the road, I’m in the woods – as rocky and nasty as it can get.”
His experience gives him an edge in helping people choose a bicycle, and his stock offers something for everyone.
There will be mountain bikes for serious cyclists, comfort bikes for joyriders, even pint-sized bikes with training wheels for children.
“The Fujis are beautiful, beautiful bicycles, and the Haros… you have to have the Haros.
“They’re the bike for dirt jumping, every kid knows that.
“I think the image we need to dispel is that just because we’re in itty bitty Livingston Manor it’s less than a nice bike shop,” Sanborn said. “They’re going to find a lot of really nice, quality stuff.”
Sanborn will also be offering bicycle rentals (with a mandatory helmet rental - regardless of the renter’s age).
“I can’t make them wear it, but…” he said.
Bicycle purchases come with a 30-day adjustment policy – bring it back within 30 days for an adjustment, it’s on the house.
New bike sales will also include free brake and gear adjustments for the life of the bike.
If any other problems crop up, bicycle repair is a major part of the business for Sanborn.
Hours are expected to change in the summer, but currently Sanborn plans to open up Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call Charlie Sanborn at 439-4590 or visit Cinder Track Bicycles at 8 Pearl Street, Livingston Manor.

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