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Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

David Hall: Wheels in Motion

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David Hall, 37, is all about wheels; custom bicycle wheels, that is – and to date he says he has built more than 13,000 of them. If author Malcolm Gladwell is to be believed in his book, “Outliers,” that 10,000 hours of practice puts a person head and shoulders above anybody in a given pursuit, then this would most certainly be Hall.

His obsession with cycling came early on – and he raced as a pro for 25 years.

“I was sitting there with my dad, watching Greg LeMond win the 1989 Tour de France.” After the race, Hall got up and headed outside. “My dad asked me where I was going, and I told him I was going to ride my bike –‘That’s what I am going to do now.’”

That was the turning point. “I was racing within a year, and I ended up getting a job at a bike shop.”

After decades of racing as well as working for others in the cycling industry, Hall opened his own shop in The Market Common area the day after last Thanksgiving, The Myrtle Beach Bicycle Fix [www.themyrtlebeachbicyclefix.com] – in large part because of his wife, Liza Hall. “I kept saying it’s not the right time, and my wife said, ‘you know, it’s never going to be the right time – just do it.’” One night, the Halls were walking to dinner near King Street Grille and saw a “For Rent” sign in a shop window. “I thought, what the heck, I’ll call – and the rent was around a third of what I thought it would be. I could cover that in tune-ups alone. I give credit to my wife for pushing me in the right direction.”

The Myrtle Beach Bicycle Fix carries beach cruisers and commuting bikes from Sun Bicycles. Hall asserts that retail bike sales is not the primary thrust of the enterprise. “My main business plan centers around everything else involved with bicycling – service, coaching, accessory sales and custom, hand-built wheel sets.”

A component of this business is called the Fit Studio. “That’s where I put the customer on a bike,” he says. “We have an interview about the type of riding they are doing and any medical issues like shoulder or hip pain. I maximize their positioning on their bike and give them the most comfortable and efficient ride possible.”

So far, Hall has seen his share of service work, tune-ups and custom wheel orders, which typically come in through his Web site ( http://themyrtlebeachbicyclefix.com).

He is seeing an increase in walk-ins and referrals, and expects bicycle rentals to beef up during summer.

Hall is also a sponsor of the Coastal Carolina Off-Road Race Series – or CCORS, a six-race series that runs from February to May. “We’re going to have a race here on April 7 in Myrtle Beach – the first big mountain bike race we have had here,” he says. The event will take place at the Horry County Bike and Run Park – aka “The Hulk.” “We have about a six-mile trail there. The Waccamaw Trail Blazers [Mountain Biking Club] have done a lot to make that happen.”

Although cycling is always included for fun, Hall admits that this is more of a lifestyle. The Halls enjoy backpacking or hitting up the beach. He also enjoys HO scale model trains and painting. They became Myrtle Beach residents when Hall’s wife secured a career promotion with Wells Fargo a couple of years ago, but they had vacationed here previously.

“We are starting to really get to know Myrtle Beach a little better,” he says. “The list of places to go never ends here.” They can be spotted at the Bowery and next door at Duffy’s Tavern. “I am really starting to enjoy it here. At first I was pretty hesitant, like – oh, Myrtle Beach? But it’s growing on me. I’m starting to get comfortable.”

Know of a local with an interesting job or career that should be given the Working 4 A Living treatment? Contact Roger Yale at rgyale@gmail.com.

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