The Bicycle Hangar opened in March of 1980. We started with a dozen bikes and $500 in parts at 1803 Brooks. We filled the small 200 square feet space at 1801 Brooks with a workbench and bikes from Mcray and Conner, a small distributor from Spokane. The First bikes we carried were RoadAce built by Maruishi in Japan. Shortly after we opened Mt. St Helens blew and we were shut down for a couple of weeks while the whole area cleaned up.
A couple of years later we moved into the larger space next door at 1805 Brooks. We still sold only road bikes and a few kids bikes. It wasn’t until about 1986 or ’87 that mountain bikes began to come onto the market. We carried mountain bikes from Shogun, Takara, Sekai, Diamond Back, Mt Sport and a few others as Mountain bikes were often in short supply. GT moved into Mountain bikes about this time. GT soon became our main line of mountain bikes. In the late 80’s we stocked and sold a lot of BMX and Freeestyle bikes from GT, Haro, Hutch, and Redline also.
In 1990 we bought the old 93 Chrysler building right next door at 1801 Brooks. It is so appropriate that a bicycle shop would take over a car dealership. We moved in during the spring of 1990. Bicycles in Missoula and the US were booming. Mountain Bike Racing was taking off also. About 1993 we picked up Gary Fisher bikes. We carried GT and Fisher bikes almost exclusively through the rest of the 90’s. The CEO of GT Rich Long died in a motorcycle accident in 1996. This was the beginning of the end of GT which had been one of the biggest forces in both Mountain Biking and BMX for the previous ten to fifteen years.
We picked up Lemond Road bikes and Diamond Back Mountain bikes in the late 90’s. In 2004 we decided to remodel the 1801 Brooks building and put in Freemo’s Pizza buffet in the front of the building.
I have been really lucky through the years in finding some great employees. I have also been lucky enough through the years to have served some great customers. Thanks, Missoula.
Rick Kern Bicycle Hangar
Missoula and University of Montana
2009 is a very proud year for me. My third Missoula educated child will graduate from the University of Montana. All of my children: Dorey, Sager, and Peter attended grade school through college in Missoula.
The Kern Family and Missoula History
My Great Grandfather Frank Kern came to Missoula in the 1870s. He rode a steamboat up the Missouri River to Fort Benton. He walked from Fort Benton to Missoula. Frank became a Blacksmith and had a blacksmith shop next to the Missoula Mercantile on Front Street. This location was sold to the Elks and the Elks lodge was built there shortly after 1900. He died in the early 1900s and his son Clare P. Kern while still in high school went to work for the City of Missoula Fire Department to help support the family. Clare later became fire chief and served for over 50 years as a city of Missoula Fire Department employee. He holds the record for longest tenure as a City of Missoula employee.
Missoula Cycling and the Kern Family
Frank Kern’s brother Henry Rupert Kern (Great Great Uncle of Rick Kern) also came to Missoula in the 1880’s. He opened a Bicycle and Typewriter repair shop at 125 east Main named “Yankee Repair”. A footnote on the famous Black Army detachment that rode from Fort Missoula to St. Louis. When they returned to Missoula by train from St. Louis the first place they stopped was “Yankee Repair” the bicycle shop owned by H. R. Kern.