Business

Rattlesnake Lake Cycles sets up shop in North Bend From the Web to the streets

New bike shop owner and former racer Ric Howland plans to offer budget-friendly family bikes alongside top of the line Italian models at his North Bend location. In his hands, he holds a Bianchi men’s carbon-fiber racing bike. “It’s what they’re using for the pro racers,” Howland said. - Seth Truscott/ Snoqualmie Valley Record
New bike shop owner and former racer Ric Howland plans to offer budget-friendly family bikes alongside top of the line Italian models at his North Bend location. In his hands, he holds a Bianchi men’s carbon-fiber racing bike. “It’s what they’re using for the pro racers,” Howland said.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/ Snoqualmie Valley Record

An office career couldn’t quite cut it for six-year Valley resident Ric Howland.

A bike lover, racer and former national competitor, Howland started a bicycle business online four years ago. On April 1, he opened his first brick-and-mortar bike shop in North Bend.

Rattlesnake Lake Cycles is located at 410 Main Ave. S., North Bend. Howland is building his selection, balancing between high-end pro models and bicycles and gear for all ages that can fit into a family budget.

“I love working on bikes, selling bikes, talking to people about bikes,” Howland said. “To me, they’re really elegant. It’s the most efficient transfer of manpower to motion that you can get.”

One look at Howland, and you might not assume he’s a cyclist. For one thing, he went to state three times as a wrestler. Howland’s love affair with bicycles began in an offhand way. He got involved in marathons, then triathlons, and discovered he was a natural in the cycling portion. From there, he went on to bicycle “sprint” racing and other competitive track matches, racing on the national level.

“I’ve always worked on my own bikes,” he said. He’s managed bike shops in California and Washington.

After he stopped racing, he joined the Marine Corps, then got a “real job,” working in operations management for 15 years.

“It’s not a lot of interaction,” he said of his former line of work. “I’d rather create my own destiny than have somebody do it for me.

“What I really enjoy is working with people on bikes,” Howland said.

“Somebody will come in here, I don’t care if it’s a kid or some guy who wants a $5,000 road bike. We’ll sit and jab for a while, and I find out more about him and what he really needs, and get him the bike that he needs.

“I like being a good neighbor, getting people what they need, not necessarily what I have in stock or trying to bump them up to the

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