Otsuka earns bones with Stix and Stones
July 3, 2003
Jake Otsuka’s mobile bicycle repair business, Stix and Stones, is for those use their bikes frequently enough to break them, but are too busy to take it to a shop.
He picks up customers’ bikes from their homes, repairs them in a bedroom in his house he converted to a shop, and delivers them repaired within two days.
“I hate to be without my bike for longer than that, so I try get it done,” Otsuka said.
He offers complete bicycle service, like tune-ups and overhauls, or “anything and everything that a bicycle needs to start working again,” he said.
“I guess it’s my passion,” he said. “I’m a mechanic by nature. I just love working on bikes and waxing skis and snowboards.”
Otsuka is capable of fixing anything that a traditional bike shop can, but with the advantage of convenience, he says. Often shops close early, making it difficult for those who work to get their gear fixed, he said.
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Instead of hauling a bike into a shop, a customer can call Otsuka to set up an appointment. He usually picks bikes up between 6 and 8 p.m., because people are most likely to be home between those times, he said.
Otsuka fixes simple things, like a chain or a flat tire, at the customer’s house.
To determine his prices, he averaged what the local bike shops charge, he said. A basic tune up is $50, and an overhaul is $100.
Otsuka is an avid snowboarder and mountain biker himself and tries to ride four days a week in the summer and two in the winter.
He likes the change in terrain Truckee has to offer compared where he came from near San Francisco.
“It’s more technical,” he said. “You don’t have the views in the Bay area that you do here.”
While going to school at Saint Mary’s College in the Bay area, a neighbor got him involved with both snowboarding and mountain biking.
Four years later he began working at a ski shop during the winter, and bike shop during the summer. The experience eventually landed him a management position at a bike shop.
After his wife, Marie, got a teaching job at Truckee Elementary, the couple moved to Truckee. He began the business starting June 1, and works as a copier sales representative as well.
“I’ve always wanted to run my own business,” Otsuka said. Stix and Stones will be his first shot at it.
During the winter, Otsuka will repair skis and snowboards. Both summer and winter sports influenced the business’ name. “Stix” refers to skis’ notorious nickname, and “stones” to the original wheel.