Saturday, July 14 2012 @ 11:45 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
As many of you know, Jill DiMauro will be leaving Maryland later this summer. Jill is moving to upstate New York so that she can be near her partner, who is moving to Canada for a year -- she must leave the U.S. for 365 days before reapplying for residency status. Because U.S. immigration law does not recognize same-sex marriage, Jill cannot sponsor her partner’s status.
Proteus has a long and interesting history. The shop moved to its current location -- a former auto repair shop (we think) -- on Route 1 at Erie Street in College Park in the 1970s. In the early days, the shop built custom bikes and bicycle frames, including special orders for racers. Jill purchased the shop in 2003, bringing an enormous passion for everyday bicycling and long-distance riders. Jill specializes in bike fitting, the art and science of helping riders achieve the most comfortable and efficient riding position. A former community planner, she has also made Proteus a second home and friendly hangout for many bike enthusiasts from all over the region.
The new owners are Laurie Lemieux and Ben Bassett. They purchased the shop in May, under a transition plan that will stretch through the end of July. Jill will continue managing the shop and doing pro-fits through July 31.
Laurie is a women’s health nurse practitioner and was most recently employed as a professor of nursing at Catholic University. She earned her masters degree from the University of Maryland and her doctor of nursing practice degree from Johns Hopkins University. She will be transitioning to full-time at the shop throughout this summer as she winds down her teaching duties. She occasionally contributes to this forum under the username “mllwhnp”. (Disclosure: we have been married for 29 years!)
Laurie is a regular on Proteus shop rides and Thursday potlucks. She rides an Orbea road bike on weekends and uses her Bianchi cyclocross bike for commuting. She is currently working as Jill’s apprentice, doing pro-fits and working on bike and accessory orders. She shares Jill’s passion for excellent bike selection and proper fitting -- one of her goals for the shop is that a certified bike fitter would be at the shop on every shift, as well as by appointment. She is especially interested in helping newer riders of all ages and abilities improve their fitness, avoid injury, and get riding every day!
Many DC area cyclists have ridden with Ben at one time or another. He regularly rides in local century (or longer) road rides and mountain bike events. He has been known to take 50+ mile rides on his unicycle, cargo bike, or vintage Wizard of Oz bike (and not get dropped)! If you haven’t met him on a ride or at the shop, he is one of the friendliest and most unassuming cyclists you will even meet. His knowledge of bikes and parts is encyclopedic.
Shop repair manager Anthony Reiss and mechanic John Huntzinger will continue to work full time at the shop. Anthony is a former BMX rider and touring enthusiast who has taken self-supported cross-country rides. He has done every imaginable type of repair and bike build, as well as some that were previously unimagined. Johnny joined the shop’s staff about three years ago -- he builds bikes, does repairs, and helps Anthony and Ben with customer service.
Of course, Proteus would not be able to thrive without its loyal volunteers. The extended Proteus family have made this transition possible, and will continue to be the backbone of the shop. Everyone is trying to make the best of a crazy legal situation, but we are very excited that Proteus will be in good hands for the future. Jill is leaving the shop in secure financial shape, and has recently signed a long-term lease for the shop’s physical space. Laurie and Ben have made arrangements to continue the shop’s relationships with Bianchi, Kona, Jamis, and Felt (and maybe Orbea) bike makers, as well as with accessory suppliers Endura and Louis Garneau and others. The shop will operate with nearly no debt, and will continue to make a priority of supporting the local bike community.
We are planning to have going away party for Jill in late July. We don’t have a final date and time yet, but it will probably be on a weekend evening after the shop closes at 6pm. All are welcome to drop by and give Jill our thanks and best wishes.
PS. The shop’s website hasn’t been updated yet, but in the meantime, the best way to keep up with what’s going on at Proteus is to visit the Facebook page: <a href="http://www.facebook.com/proteusbicycles">www.facebook.com/proteusbicycles</a> .