|History of Kegel's Bikes|
In 1889, a bicycle with a back-pedal brake was patented by Daniel Stover and William Hance of Freeport, Ill. (No. 418,142) for the Stover Bicycle Man'fg Co. - Freeport, IL. The brake would later be known as the safety brake and became a standard feature on most brands of bikes. "The Coaster Brake"
In 1909, Joseph Kegel purchased a bicycle Shop owned by Michael Redlinger which had been in business since 1897.
In 1910, Kegel's started selling Harley-Davidson motorcycles. This was the first Harley-Davidson dealership in the country.
In 1923, Joseph Kegel sold the Bicycle and Motorcycle business in Freeport to his brother Julius Kegel. Joseph Kegel then moved to Rockford and opened Rockford Cycle Sales on Madison Street. (Currently Joseph's grandsons, Mark and Karl Kegel, run the Kegel Motorcycle Co.)
1946 Joe's two sons Harold and Robert bought in as equal partners. In April of 1947 Joe died of a heart attack and their mother Margaret inherited Joe's shares where she remained an equal partner until her death in 1956. In 1948 the brothers opened a second location exclusively for bicycles.
In 1953 the brothers decided that since Harold liked the bicycle business and Robert enjoyed motorcycles that they should divide the business. In 1954 Rockford Cycles Sales became Kegel Motorcycle Co. and Kegel's Bicycle Store. Harold moved the bicycle store to 219 East State Street (currently Runners Image), and eventually expanded to 223 East State.
During the gas crisis of the 1970's, Kegel's started selling Motobecane and Puch mopeds, as well as pool tables (I am not sure of the connection). This was along with the Schwinn, Raleigh, Vista brands of bicycles.
There was a new sport of Bicycle Motocross sweeping the country, and Harold was instrumental in working with the Rockford Park District and the Rockford Jaycee's to build the first BMX track in the Midwest at Searles Park.
In 1975, Harold opened a second and current location at 2605 Charles Street, and a few years later closed the original State Street location. At this time, they started selling an upstart brand of bicycles from Waterloo, Wisconsin called Trek Bicycles. Kegel's was one of, if not the first, Trek dealer in the country.
In 1979, Larry O'Brien, the store manager, and Harold hired Robb Sinks, a BMX kid who spent a lot of time in the store.
In 1985 Harold retired and sold the store to Gregg Shosie, who owned Shosie's Cyclery in Loves Park, IL. Gregg owned both bicycle stores until he retired in 1997 when he sold the Kegel's location to long time store manager Robb Sinks.
Robb Sinks, and the staff at Kegel's Bicycle Store, continues to carry on the traditions of outstanding customer service and quality products begun by the Kegel family almost 100 years ago.