Building a bicycle wheel is one part science, one part math and one part magic.
You lace a rim and a hub together with spokes, and then start tightening everything together. Too much and you pull the rim right or left or pull it out of round. Not enough and the rim isn't strong enough to be ridden. It's a balancing act with tension, and it's looked at as a true mark of a good bicycle mechanic.
Outside Bike One bike shop in Moline, it's a chilly 19 degrees. Splashes of ice and mounds of snow have made riding tough. Inside, owner Charles Moreland, 46, of Moline, puts the finishing touches on a hand-built rear wheel.
"I'm using this winter to get read for spring," he said, tweaking a spoke here and there. "When we opened up in September 2010, I thought I would be ready for that spring, and we were crushed. This year, we made a lot of changes, we moved the repair portion of the ship and tripled the space."
Although Mr. Moreland sees people riding year round, the big crush of cyclists comes once the weather hits 40 or 50 degrees for a stretch.
"We'll be taking 15 or 20 bikes in a day," Mr. Moreland said. "Our shop is one of the few that will work on anything. You can buy just about anything on the Internet today except for service. You can't buy service on the Internet."
He said most of the bikes he will see this spring will need tuneups, cable replacements, derailleur adjustments; some will need two tires and tubes.
"You would be surprised at how much bikes get knocked around over a winter," he said. "It doesn't take much and things aren't shifting right, the bike isn't riding right."
He's worked in the bicycle business almost his entire life. He started working in shops and opened up a few of his own, including one in the Village of East Davenport with a Mike Wolfe, of History channel antique show "American Pickers" fame.
After that shop ended, Mr. Moreland worked as a sales representative in the bicycle industry but figured out he was happiest with a wrench in his hand.
"When I thought about it, I wanted a bicycle shop, and where else would I have one but in Moline," Mr. Moreland said. "I think at that time there wasn't a shop in Moline for about 10 years, so it was time. The community really responded from the neighborhood around the shop to other Moline business owners who came in to support me. It's been a great experience."
Mr. Moreland's shop carries bikes from several manufacturers including Felt, Kona, Jamis, Pinnarello and Redline, in configurations from racing, commuting, mountain biking, touring and BMX and freestyle.
"We sell a lot of racing bikes, but a lot of bikes inbetween, too," Mr. Moreland said. "We are seeing a large rise in our commuter bikes, people are riding for transportation and fitness."
Mr. Moreland rides as much as he can and is involved in rides like GITAP, the League of Illinois Bicyclists tour of Illinois parks and trails.
"I've always been a bike guy," Mr. Moreland said. "Ever since I was a kid. I don't know if my dad had the best tools in the neighborhood, but I've always been that kid who was using them. I wasn't afraid to get my hands dirty and use a wrench. I was always tearing into things and putting them back together. It was just something that kind of came naturally to me I guess."
Bike One, 2113 16th Street Moline, winter hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.