Magazine article Addiction Professional

Wheels Keep Turning for This Bike Enthusiast

Magazine article Addiction Professional

Wheels Keep Turning for This Bike Enthusiast

Article excerpt

Owning a bicycle offered Brent Fuqua mobility when his self-admitted "foolishness" compromised his driving privileges. Tinkering with a bicycle gave him a chance to escape his thoughts during the challenges of newfound recovery. Seeing that diversion somehow grow into a thriving business gave Fuqua a sense of great responsibility and new direction in life.

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Now the 53-year-old has decided it is time to walk away, with his partner in the Minneapolis-based Recovery Bike Shop buying out his interest in the sales and repair business. But Fuqua's love for bikes stays strong. He says confidently, "The legacy of this thing won't go away anytime soon."

For the Recovery Bike Shop has always been greatly about being part of a community, even as it grew from an idea hatched in the garage of a sober home to an enterprise initially fueled by a recession and the emergence of online sales. Though its most community-focused endeavor was never blatantly advertised, people in Minneapolis came to learn that the Recovery Bike Shop was a place where a person of little means could go to receive a donated bike or free repairs.

The shop also became a vehicle for celebrating recovery, although Fuqua admits to being a reluctant symbol for that at the beginning.

"At first I kind of resented it," he says. "In the recovery world, your junkie stories get pretty old pretty fast. But later I realized that if this was how we were having a positive impact on people, then fine."

Coming home

The first steps toward what would become the Recovery Bike Shop were taken at Progress Valley Men's Center, the Minneapolis halfway house where Fuqua lived in the late 2000s after his second experience of primary treatment. He is now working toward building a career in the addiction treatment field, and at the time of an interview with Addiction Professional he was in discussions to join the Progress Valley staff.

"I can't think of any place I'd rather go but home," he says of Progress Valley. "They are family."

During his stay at the recovery residence, Fuqua began working on a classic Schwinn that he calls the bicycle equivalent of the '57 Chevy. Around half a dozen other bikes had been left in disrepair in a garage on the halfway house's property. A friend with a background as a mechanic started bringing tools to Fuqua, and soon neighbors were picking up on what was going on and were sending over their bikes as well. …

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