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For the love of the ride

Mick Therriault checks the chain tension on Bob Dumoulin's Harley at Bob's Cycle Shop. (Photo by Erik Eisele) (click for larger version)
June 24, 2009
BERLIN — Tucked in on Labossiere Street below Mount Forist is a small garage with an oil-stained floor. It might have room for one car, but this isn't a garage for cars. Instead, for the last 50 years, people have brought their motorcycles. It is Bob's Cycle Shop.

Bob's Cycle Shop isn't run by Bob. It isn't owned by Bob.

"Bob was my dad," Mick Therriault said. It was Bob's shop first, but Mick has been working in it for the last 35 years.

"I was born and brought up in this," he said as he checked the chain tension on the 2000 Harley Davidson Road King in front of him. "There's not a whole lot I can't do."

Bob Dumoulin waits as Mr. Therriault goes over his Harley. "I wouldn't let anyone else touch my bike besides Mick," he said. He's brought every motorcycle he's ever owned to Bob's Cycle Shop, where Mr. Therriault is the owner, manager, mechanic and only employee.

He's there about 25 hours a week, from early April to late November on a good year, less if the winter is long.

"It's still a hobby," he said. His hands move quickly around the guts of the Harley.

The walls are lined with tools, each hung on a nail, no two touching. In one corner are new motorcycle tires, and in another is a photo of his mother and father from the early 1950s. They are sitting on a bike, Mr. Therriault's dad in front, his mom behind. His dad is good looking, wearing a leather jacket, his short hair combed like James Dean. His mom looks like she just put the children on the bus; the epitome of domesticity.

"They both loved to ride," Mr. Therriault said, looking at the picture.

Their son shares their passion for bikes.

"My wife says she's a summer widow," he said. He works from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. as a maintenance person at the hospital, and then he opens his shop from 3:15 to 9:30 p.m.

And whenever he can, he's on his bike. He rides a Honda Goldwing.

"I always said I'd never own one of those things," he said, but after 13 sport bikes he knew it was time for a comfortable ride.

He and his wife are planning a nine day trip to Nova Scotia. They have a trailer for the bike and the equipment to be out in any weather. His wife rides as a passenger, and they will stop where they feel like it.

Then he'll be back into his shop, fixing a dozen bikes a week after work.

Most of Mr. Therriault's customers are locals, he said, and they keep coming back. He doesn't need more business or more money; he just enjoys the work. He'll work into the fall, fixing ATVs come November. People have asked him to work on snowmobiles as well, but he doesn't.

Instead he takes the winter to get ready for the next riding season.

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