Matt Bolenbaugh is the owner of All About Bikes, a new bike repair shop he started.
(The print version of this story carried the wrong byline. It was written by Gina Cornell.)
When Matt Bolenbaugh was 16 years old, the age most teens are getting their driver’s licenses and cars, he says he bought a “crummy” thrift store bike and pedaled it the 25 miles home. From that moment he was hooked on biking.
That bike became the springboard to propel him on the path and trajectory of bike mechanics and to now owning All About Bikes, the bike repair shop he started in his garage, he says. “It’s wonderful,” says Bolenbaugh of being on a bike. “There is infinite joy in cycling. There is no job, no outer world at that moment on the bike,” he says. At 36 he still feels that freedom when he rides that he first felt 20 years ago. “It’s no secret I am enthralled with bikes.”
Bolenbaugh started learning how to “wrench” (fix) bikes after a lucky find at a Wausau garage sale where he stumbled upon some high-quality bike tools and stands. The person selling the tools also happened to be a master bike mechanic in town. One conversation led to another and Bolenbaugh began a mentorship relationship with him. He took Bolenbaugh under his wing and helped him learn the trade, nurturing the passion he had for biking and fixing bikes. “This is my 15th season of working on bikes,” he says smiling.
“I knew pretty well early on from the first time I worked at Rib Mountain Cycles starting back in 2006, I knew this was going to be my lifetime career.”
Bolenbaugh’s love for biking, fixing and building bikes took him in and out of several bike shops in the Wausau area. “There are some personal things going on in my life where I felt like it might be a good time for a switch.”
He had bandied about the idea of starting a mobile bike repair and then with a stroke of luck, a friend told him about a store in southern Wisconsin that was closing and tossing out all their repair equipment. “They had massive amounts of tools and stands and they were just going to throw them into a dumpster,” he says. Bolenbaugh grabbed them up and began to fashion a bicycle repair shop in his garage in Wausau. “I felt like the stars aligned. Like it was meant to be.” Two years ago, Bolenbaugh opened All About Bikes and says he is busy and has all the work he wants all the time.
Bolenbaugh, a bike-polo, road and mountain bike athlete himself is happily watching this area become more and more renowned for its biking. “The Strava numbers [for biking around this area] have gone up quite a bit from 2020 to 2021… there was a big jump.” Bolenbaugh believes the area has done a phenomenal job creating a great environment for cycling. “There are more off the street paths and electronic bikes help a lot, too, which I am all for. If we can get more butts on bikes, then that’s great.”
More bikes mean more customers for Bolenbaugh. While he does offer bike pick-up with his van, Bolenbaugh is focused on working on bikes in his shop as well as holding one-on-one repair clinics or small-sized classes. “I am thinking of doing clinics and sharing the knowledge that I have,” he says. In the future, he would like to also expand his business to include rentals and high-end bicycle sales. At present Bolenbaugh offers tune-ups, repairs and custom-builds of wheels or complete bikes from the frame and fork on up.
Bolenbaugh has had specialty training with the brands Trek and Specialized but says he can repair almost any brand or make of bike. “I specialize in newer technology. I like trying to keep up with the newest trends and I like the continuous training and have helped quite a few people on retro rebuilds, like an old cruiser that somebody is fixing back up, where we tear it down to the frame and then build it back up with new parts.”
For more information on All About Bikes visit: allaboutbikeswausau.com or call: 715-216-7325.