Cycling, Vonne Cornett explained, can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. For some, it can be a recreational ride around the neighborhood.
For others, "it's a dad-gummed lifestyle!" Cornett said happily as she and her husband, Lynn, talked about their business, The Bike Peddler, at 1017 Austin Ave.
Vonne Cornett is the sole owner, but she is, for all practical purposes, partners with her husband. Lynn Cornette retired in 2005 from the Brownwood Fire Department and spends his days at the Peddler, working as the Peddler's bicycle mechanic and offering advice, along with Lynn, to customers or potential customers.
Lynn Cornett has ridden competitively and professionally, and a photo of Cornett on a bicycle has been on the cover of at least one cycling magazine.
Sleek, exotic racing and road bicycles, tough-looking mountain bikes and smaller BMX bikes, as well as an array of parts and accessories, beckon the visitor to the small but well-stocked business. All of the cycles have "feels" that suggest precision and quality.
Theirs is a "ma and pa shop," the Cornetts said, and there aren't many cycle shops like theirs left in Texas.
The building that houses the Bike Peddler housed several previous businesses. The Cornetts have owned the property since 1982, and they began the Bike Peddler in 1988. There hadn't been a true bicycle shop in Brownwood for years prior to the Peddler, the Cornetts said.
Vonne Cornett admitted she's strictly a "fair-weather recreational cyclist. I just like to ride around the neighborhood on a nice sunny day."
Lynn Cornett had been nothing more than a casual cyclist when he read in the Sunday paper one year about a 150-mile bike race in north Texas. Cornett believed he could compete, and he bought a used bike and started training.
Cornett completed the race, and cycling became a hobby that then turned into a livelihood.
People need to choose bicycles carefully, the Cornetts said. The most important factors in choosing a bicycle, Vonne Cornett said, are what kind of riding will you be doing and what is your budget? And then, what color do you like?
Vonne Cornett said she understands that a customer might not be able to afford the most expensive bike — but neither is the cheapest bike necessarily the best choice.
The appeal of cycling? It doesn't require a group effort all the time, the Cornetts said. "It can be a one-man band," Vonne Cornett said.
Or a dad-gummed lifestyle.