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The Speak Easy Spoke Easy

By Jackson Martin, Writer

Jackson Martin, Writer

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At a time when the small town of Campbellsville, Kentucky, is undergoing a rapid period of growth, one small shop on the corner of Main Street in particular has caught the attention of a fair number of people: The Spoke Easy Bike Shop, owned by Scott Hess.

A relatively small building at only 900 square feet, The Spoke Easy radiates warmth when you walk in. You can tell someone has put a lot of care into revamping the old building originally built in the mid-20th century.  Everything from the original air conditioner and heater to the wall made of doors gives off an authentic rustic vibe.

Hess is charming, charismatic and incredibly sociable.  He opened The Spoke Easy in October and it’s apparent that he loves running the store and the effect is not lost on his customers.

“I grew up in Somerset and went to college in Lexington, but I moved to Campbellsville for a job about eight years ago,” said Hess.  “I got into cycling when I was young, a family friend introduced me to mountain biking and it made me feel amazing and I just never stopped.”

Now, onto the shop.  There’s a big difference between buying from a specialized shop and buying from the internet or a large retailer, and Hess seemed to agree.  “The biggest difference is service.  When you walk into a bike shop, you can talk to someone and ask questions and test things out and get help.  When you walk into Walmart or look online, you can’t really do any of that.”

“Another big thing is warranty.  When you buy from me you get an instant warranty that I will help you manage, as working on bikes is pretty much half my job.”

Hess is very passionate about community involvement.  “I would love to organize community bike rides, of all skill levels, and start mountain biking clubs at the high school and college level.  I’d also like to implement more bike lanes and pedestrian travel, but that’s a whole other topic of discussion,” he told me.

And what about the bike lanes?  Surely, as passionate about cycling as he is, he has a lot to say about the obvious lack of bike lanes in Campbellsville and even elsewhere in Kentucky.

Well, as it turns out, he did.  “Bike lanes are a really tough issue,” he said. “Obviously, we want more pedestrian bike lanes and awareness but at the same time there’s only so much space on the roads.  As a member of the Trailtime Board, we are working to implement these pedestrian plans.  As of right now, we plan on bringing in more sidewalks and lanes to the schools, but we have no idea what kind of time frame we’re looking at.  Kentucky has always been infamously not very friendly towards bikes.”

Something you may not know is that Hess plans on moving premises in the summer or fall.  This move will expand the building size by nearly six times and will allow for expansion, which Hess has already planned for to some extent.

Much to my chagrin, he assured me that they would not expand into skating or anything of the sorts, they will, however, expand into things like hiking and backpacking.

“We are going to have a much bigger premises and plan to use that to expand into things like hiking, backpacking and other outdoors stuff.  Like I said, I love mountain biking, and hiking just kind of goes hand in hand.”

When asked if he had anything else that he wanted people to know about himself, the shop or otherwise, he had this to say: “Cycling is something we would really like to bring to Campbellsville.  We would love to promote a cycling culture; it’s healthy.  We want these kind of ideas to punctuate what our town is about, and deter the idea that we’re just another agricultural place.”

The Spoke Easy is located at 225 East Main Street, Campbellsville, Kentucky.  Go ahead and give the place a visit; you won’t regret it.

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The Speak Easy Spoke Easy