After more than three decades in the pharmaceutical industry, Mark Hitz opted to take the road less traveled.
Hitz became a small business owner with the opening of Mad Duck Cyclery Roanoke. But his isn’t just any business. It’s his passion.
“When you ride, it connects you back to your childhood a little bit,” said Hitz, who cycles about 100 miles a week when he is not running the bike shop.
Mad Duck is not a place for beginning cyclists, he said. Nor does his shop offer one-size-fits-all bikes. He calls his storefront along Byron Nelson Boulevard “a boutique bike shop without the attitude.”
Bikes here are custom-made to fit the rider and the rider’s purpose, whether that is mountain biking or road biking, long-distance cycling or racing.
“Saddle height, crank length—every single little aspect of the bike that fits them is going to be taken care of,” said Carlos Uranga, who works at the shop alongside Hitz and is just as passionate about traveling on two wheels.
A bike’s fit is crucial not only for a comfortable ride but also for efficiency, the two said.
“You’re gonna enjoy your ride more … and the likelihood of you continuing to ride goes up significantly if you get the right bike,” Hitz said.
Mad Duck offers a wide range of technology, from wireless shifting for gears to taillights with radar capabilities. A variety of components also collect data about performance.
The Roanoke shop works in tandem with another Mad Duck Cyclery in Grapevine, though they are separately owned.
Hitz said the best part of his job is connecting with the cycling community and sharing the joys of the sport on and off the road.
“It’s not just physically healthy … there’s a lot of mental health that goes along with exercise and riding bikes,” he said.
Mad Duck Cyclery Roanoke
295 W. Byron Nelson Blvd., Ste. 220, Roanoke
Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun.-Mon. closed