The year was 1946, and war-weary soldiers were returning home after World War II and looking for work. Joe Dunlevy and his wife, Dorothy (Dot), settled in Goshen after serving their country. Being a handy guy, Joe opened a shop downtown and offered repairs and service on “just about anything,” including bicycles, according to Joe’s son, Brian. Fittingly, the shop was called Let Joe Fix It.
Time marched on, and Joe found himself repairing more and more bicycles. Eventually the business began specializing in — and selling — bicycles and skates, and the name was shortened to Joe Fix Its. It’s been a staple in the village of Goshen ever since; and to mark its 50th anniversary in 1996, Joe Fix Its opened a second location in Monroe. Brian bought the business from his dad in 1983, though Joe continued working there until he passed away in the early 1990s.
Brian Dunlevy rides a ‘high-wheeler’ near his Goshen shop.
The shops are not far from either end of the paved portion of the Heritage Trail, a former railroad bed that several residents (Brian included) successfully lobbied to convert to a recreational trail. Both shops rent bicycles by the day or half-day to ride along the trail: it’s the perfect test-ride before purchasing.
The unassuming exterior of the Goshen shop belies the professional experience that customers get inside.
“A customer coming into our store has a selection of some 800 bikes to choose from at any given time,” Brian says. “This helps us to pick the right bike for the kind of riding the person will be doing while making sure the fit is correct for their comfort. We encourage the customer to get on the bike and ride it around for a while, trying different bikes until they find the one that just feels right. This way we can be pretty sure that the customer will be leaving with a bike in the color and style of their choosing. The customer is also encouraged to bring the bike back for any adjustments or tweaking so that everything is operating properly. If it’s not, we want to know about it. Customer satisfaction is our goal.”
Even if it’s too cold and snowy for biking, the fun doesn’t stop at Joe Fix Its: The shop can sharpen your hockey and figure skates, or sell you new ones, and now offers ski and snowboard sharpening. The latest in hockey equipment and apparel is available there, too. For those who prefer a lazier form of entertainment, Joe Fix Its is also known for its Lionel trains, which it’s sold since 1948.
But really, the shop’s slogan, “Behind Bars Since 1946,” uncovers the passion held by Brian and his crew. They all love to ride, and they share that love with riders of all abilities.
“Our dedicated employees have been riding and supporting rides for years,” says Brian, who pedals between 2,000 and 4,000 miles a year.
Why has Joe Fix Its endured?
“The Hudson Valley is home to many good bike shops,” Brian says. “I believe our longevity is rooted in years of experience, and our enthusiasm and passion for what we do helps give us an edge and keeps our customers coming back.”
August 20 is the 30th annual Tour de Goshen, a fun series of rides (pick from 62 miles, 45 miles, 25 miles and 11 miles) for all kinds of cyclists. The Tour has helped many organizations over the years: it’s raised $250,000 for the Mental Health Association. Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center has also been a beneficiary. This year, the Tour benefits Inspire.
It’s not a race, so no prizes are awarded, but there are cool giveaways. Non-riders can buy lunch or a shirt and enjoy the festivities. www.joefixits.com
Joe Fix Its has ridden in, “wrenched” (doing all the tech support on the road), and supported the Tour De Force annual cycling event for 15 years. The 270-mile, four-day memorial bicycle ride from Boston to New York benefits the families of police officers lost on Sept. 11, 2001. This year, it’s held Sept. 9–12. www.tourdeforceny.com
Did you know?
This is the bicycle’s bicentennial year. In 1817, the Draisine, a two-wheeler made of wood, was patented by inventor Karl von Drais of Mannheim, Germany. It is believed to be the first bicycle, according to the New York Times.