In Search of Pete's Bicycle Shop

Leonard Nimoy knows what's up.

They said it existed, but I knew otherwise. They needed proof, I found it. The truth is out there... this is my story.

The other day, my friend and I were looking up bicycle shops on, just to see what was out there. That's when I was visited by a ghost...

I'm not sure exactly where ReferLocal gets its information (more than likely Google Local search) but the first hit that turned up was... Pete's Bicycle Shop.

"Impossible!" I said. "He closed the shop years ago!" But there it was. Shocked as I was, I had to see it for myself, I had to know the truth. Had Pete's Bicycle Shop actually closed down? And if so, was it now back? Back from the dead?

What makes this case so compelling is that, as sure as I was that Pete's Bicycle Shop didn't exist anymore, I'd heard from several sources that it did. How could these people have been so misinformed? It had been at 1 W Broad Street in Hazleton for at least 20 years, and though I don't know how long it was there before we moved here in 1990, when a business is that old, you come to expect that it's still there, simply because it's always been there. I had to separate the fact from the fiction, but it wasn't going to be easy.

I remember driving past a few years ago and seeing that the place was empty, and yet, there is photographic proof that backs up the claim that it still exists. Take a look at this Google Street View of West Broad Street. That looks like a shop with bikes in the window, doesn't it? Sure does. What's going on here? Compelling, hard evidence? Time to dig a little deeper.

Never mind the fact that the date stamped on the image is from September 2009 and that Pete's could have closed since then; that's not good enough. The only way to solve this mystery was for me to get out there and see it with my own, two eyes.

In the days since Hurricane Sandy (which spared us most of her wrath, thankfully) the temperature has plunged into the 30s. As threats of a Nor'Easter in the next week loom over our heads, I can already feel the onset of cabin fever. Call it ennui, call it a stubborn refusal to accept that Winter is here, but for whatever reason, I bundled up, hopped on my bike and headed out on the road. I was on a mission.

The ride was comfortable, and though it was 38 degrees, I didn't feel so cold once I got going. I made straight for 309 and headed over the hill to Broad Street, taking the lane like a boss at every intersection. It was a smooth trip, and no one gave me any grief about temporarily being in their way.

My first stop was Jimmy's Quick Lunch for a damn fine hot dog with everything on it (minus onions.) As I walked in and removed my helmet, the owner just looked at me and asked, "Isn't it a bit cold for a bike ride?"
I was actually shocked at my own response when I heard myself saying that it wasn't that bad. Then again, I was bundled up quite snuggly, with two upper layers under a jacket and a scarf around my face. If anything, I was worried about overheating and sweating, as that can make it worse.

I finished my hot dog and was back on the job, making my way up Broad Street towards the building where Pete's Bicycle Shop would have been. As I rolled up to the building, however, I knew I was right all along.

There were no bikes in the windows, or anywhere inside, just a group of people sitting at tables. I decided to head in and see what was going on. What I found was a small headquarters for the Ransom Young campaign in Hazleton, certainly nothing that would resemble a bike shop, but I was skeptical.

I questioned a few of the volunteers, who assured me that Pete's closed down a few years ago, but who knows? Perhaps they were in on the conspiracy? It's only a few days until the election; maybe they'll clear out and return the shop to it's original condition now that they think they've thrown me off the case? Maybe the bikes are neatly tucked away somewhere, and I just need to look around a little more? Something is up, and now that I know local government is involved, this case just got a whole lot more complicated. Maybe this thing goes all the way to the White House?

As I stood outside, I knew there wasn't much more I could do. I decided to whip out my camera and take some photographic evidence of the new front. Unfortunately, a bright light appeared in the sky, and an alien sasquatch ran up and snatched the camera out of my hand. Before I could get it back, Elvis tripped me and tried to steal my bike while a group of Atlanteans zapped me with their crystal sphere, knocking me unconscious. Some time later, I came to and found my camera, but the magnetic interference of the Bermuda Triangle had erased the camera's memory card! There was nothing I could do... So close, yet so far away.

I can't say this case is closed, but I'm walking away, satisfied that I know the truth. I urge anyone who dares to take up this case, to dedicate their lives to finding proof that Pete's Bicycle Shop is gone, to tread very carefully. There's too much at stake, you don't want to end up like I did. I have the proof I need, but you'll just have to take my word for it until you see it for yourself.


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