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Fun in the sun: Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle offers outdoor fun for all ages

By Staff | Jun 28, 2019

From right, Mac Kincaid, of Shepherdstown, watches as Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle employee Kenny Walker, of Harpers Ferry, looks at the treads on one of Kincaid’s sneakers. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — With the arrival of summer last week, thoughts of how to enjoy the summer weather may be in the minds of many local residents. While some enjoy gardening or taking long walks, Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle offers a couple of other options for outdoor fun.

The store, which is located at 115 West German Street, has offered its products to the community since 2007. And while last summer proved to be a slow time for the store, due to its heavy rain, this summer is promising to be busier, thanks to sunnier weather conditions.

“We’re on par to have our best year ever right now,” said store employee Kenny Walker, of Harpers Ferry. “We’re very dependent on the weather — last year was rainy. If you could pick the perfect weather, it would be this weather.”

Walker, who came to Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle last year, after working for 18 years in the biking industry, said he enjoys working with the store’s customers for a couple of reasons.

“When people come into a restaurant, they’re hungry and aren’t happy. When people come into a bike shop, they’re generally happy. They’re looking forward to doing fun things,” Walker said.

Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle sells new bikes for all ages, and rents out newer bike models for use on nearby bicycle routes, including the C&O Canal, Appalachian Trail and Route 9 towpath. Tabitha Johnston

According to Walker, while he enjoys serving local customers on a regular basis, he also gets to meet outdoor enthusiasts from around the world, who come into the shop.

“I get to meet a lot of new people,” Walker said. “There was a couple who came from New Zealand, and another one that came from South Africa. We get a lot of people from Canada. They don’t come here specifically for this town, they come for the C&O Canal or the Appalachian Trail. For whatever reason, a lot of them cross here.”

The store sells bicycles for all ages, biking equipment and kayaks. It also rents out bicycles, kayaks, canoes and river tubes, which can be used as part of package trips the store offers. Two bicycle mechanics are also employed at the store, according to Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle owner Eddie Sampson.

“The area itself offers a lot for paddlers and bikers and hikers,” Sampson said, of the success of his business. “We see a lot more people from the D.C. metro area, who come out to take advantage of the resources we have right here. One of the benefits of biking and paddling is mental stability. Everything has a different outlook once you have a bike or a paddle. You can clear your head.”

Sampson, who has been biking since he was in his early teens, said he first came to Shepherdstown to see some of his friends who were students at Shepherd University. But he quickly developed a love for the area, and when he was ready to do something new, opened a store where he could share his long-held passion for biking with others.

“It’s really the beginner bikers and people making lifestyle changes who keep me doing this,” Sampson said. “It’s not the people who race, it’s the people who totally turn their lives around. Dramatic weight loss, keeping it off.”