Original article by Brand Ambassador Nicole Victory: Nicole Victory Design.
AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKE SKILES, OWNER OF SUCK CREEK CYCLE IN CHATTANOOGA,TN AND FORMER BMX RACER FOR
Imagine my delight and surprise when I discovered that the owner of Suck Creek Cycle is none other than former Schwinn BMX racer, Mike Skiles! I had the pleasure of spending part of the afternoon with Mike and his mechanics as he shared memories from his racing days.
Starting out as BMX racer with his brothers back in the 70s, he has quite the cycling resume and a photo album full of his racing accomplishments.
In 1974 Mike participated in his first race at the age of 10. He won the race, and from that point on, he was hooked on racing.
He spent several years racing for “The Bike Shop” in Chattanooga. The owners would load up several kids in their van and travel to the races. “At the time I didn’t have any clue what a blessing it was for them to take the time to do that,” says Mike.
In 1981, when he was 15, Mike rode for the Schwinn Atlanta team. The team was provided with a Schwinn branded Winnebago and trailer, which they used to travel around to races. “To pull up to the races with this set up back in the 80s would be the equivalent of showing up in a semi-rig today,” says Mike. “That’s the impression that it made to people when we showed up.”
After his time with Schwinn, Mike spent the rest of his teenage years traveling the country and continuing to race with a career spanning 8 years. “It got me where I am now, I wouldn’t be in the bicycle business if I didn’t get my start racing BMX as a kid.” He credits the people he met through Schwinn for getting him into the mechanical side of the bike industry.
He spent several years working for bike shops in the area before opening his own shop in Dalton, GA in 1994, and finally opening up Suck Creek Cycle on the North Shore of Chattanooga in 1998.
The moment you walk into Suck Creek Cycle, you’re greeted by the shop cat, Bandit, who insists on saying hello to everyone with a chorus of meowing and a stuck out tongue. A bike shop with a cat! These are my kind of people. With not jazz, but funky jazz, wafting over the speakers, and a group of mechanics working on the intricacies of bike building, this is a laid back shop where you can trust your bike is in good hands.
During my afternoon at the shop, there was a steady stream of customers and cyclists looking for advice. True to the word on his sign “bikes and friendly advice,” he was happy to help out those who’d tried to cut corners by purchasing an incorrect part online or needing help with maintenance.
When I asked Mike if he still rides regularly, his answer sums things up quite nicely. “I won’t quit.”
Nicole is a curious, vivacious graphic and web designer who recently moved to Chattanooga, TN. As a designer, she loves the vintage styles and lines of a bygone era. She is an avid cyclist who spends her summers cruising around on a classic Schwinn her dad restored for her. Now it’s time for a new city and a new Schwinn! Nicole can’t wait to see what her new outdoor-oriented town has to offer. Chattanooga, known as “The Scenic City,” is a well-hidden gem in southeastern Tennessee twice awarded as Outside magazine’s coveted “Best Town Ever.” Because of its access to trails and urban cycling, Nicole now has every opportunity to explore Chattanooga’s booming social scene and natural wonders over the handlebars of her Schwinn Gateway.
Follow along on her journey here:
Her Blog: Nicole Victory