Cycling entrepreneur Briggs Knott is encouraging residents to stay healthy with physical activity — especially biking.
“It’s a whole body workout,” he said. “It’s good to get out there and just free your mind. It’s what keeps me going and healthy.”
Knott recently opened his own bike shop, Briggs Bicycles, at 2955 Aukele Street in Lihue, comfortably situated between Spectrum and Rainbeau Jo’s.
He started as an automotive mechanic for Toyota in Northern California but was getting burned out by all the gas fumes and being surrounded by hazardous conditions. So he decided to live a healthier life by road biking after suffering a dirtbike injury.
He began meeting up with buddies and enjoying group bike rides.
“Once the social thing came around the pipes, I was just totally hooked on it, just riding in groups and progressing and getting more fit,” he said.
Since Knott grew up on Kauai, he jumped on an opportunity to move back with his father. Shortly after returning, he opened his own bicycle shop in September and has been busy ever since.
Stocked with hundreds of cycles, parts and accessories, the large open retail space was previously occupied by Bicycle John’s for 33 years. He knew the owner, John Tanner, for a long time, visiting the shop frequently as a kid to buy bike parts.
“He did have a few illnesses that set him back,” Knott said about Tanner. “The overhead is so high there, if you’re not working you’re not going to make it. He kinda buried himself and sold off the inventory he had. So when I started it was really bare bones.”
The shop, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, specializes in carrying Felt Bicycles, beach cruisers ranging from $300 to $600, lightweight mountain bikes and sleek street racing cycles. Knott also sells helmets, racks, pumps, water bottles and can order any specially requested item.
“I’m still building the business and trying to have everything people need or want,” Knott said. “I pretty much started with no inventory and am slowly working my way to have parts and bikes available.”
One dedicated cyclist, 27-year-old Waylan Small from Isle au Haut, Maine, just bought a bike from the shop as his main mode of transportation while visiting Kauai for about three months.
“When I first came in, it was like coming into a candy store for me,” Small said. “All these different bikes and he was able to get his hands on really good brands from California.”
Small settled on a brand new KHS Winslow model with 29-inch wheels and was planning on pedaling to Kilauea Wednesday.
“It’s like a perfect balance for road and off-road,” he said. “I was looking for something really versatile, and Briggs was exactly the guy to come to, to figure out what I needed to get around the island.”
Small said Knott sells bikes with good components, so users can get a lot of life out of them.
“It’s such a great sport, and it’s so good for your health both mentally and physically,” Small added.
“Briggs is actually gonna let me trade him some labor, and he’s gonna let me store my bike here,” Small said. “So I will be back here as soon as humanly possible.”
Although some tourists visit his shop, local competitive cyclists stopped by in preparation for Kauai’s two main cycling races. The Mana Time Trial, which Briggs placed second overall last year and third this year was Sunday. Pedal to the Meadow (another event he placed second in his category last year) is late May.
“I would like to see the youth get more into cycling, possibly have more kids into racing and maybe even get more kids on bikes going to school,” Knott said. “I think that would cut more traffic. So hopefully in the future, more kids will be using bikes instead of buses or cars to get to school, and people going to work.”