Wayfarer Bicycle was started by Richard Fitzgerald of Essex,Ct in 1972. A road rider since the 1940s, Richard
was riding expensive custom bicycles twenty years before the bike boom.The Wayfarer was one of the first pro shops in Ct.,
initially only selling frames/kits and later bicycles by Raleigh, Peugeot, and Motobecane. Around 1979 Richard decided to
sell the business. It was offered to one of his employees and neighbor, Bob Harrington. Bob and his wife Lesley purchased
the Wayfarer in 1980. Both half way through college with no business experience, they ran the store for one year themselves,
bringing their infant son James to work many days.With no employees and the Carter recession years in full swing, it was not
the best time to take over a business.
Times Change... After a while, the Wayfarer hired their first
employee, a native of California - Eric Larkin. Eric was an optic and laser engineer in the Navy. He offered to work for almost
nothing, the perfect employee. Eric is legendary in Ct.for introducing people to mountain biking years before the sport began.
In 1981 Eric took delivery of the first east coast Tom Ritchey mountain bike, serial #50 for $1800. Bob soon ordered his Ritchey,
and mountain biking had begun at the Wayfarer. One last note on Eric; in 1981 Eric firmly believed that everyone someday would
have a mountain bike, a home computer and a microwave, things he had at his home. Everyone thought he was from Mars. But when
Eric talks about the future today, you listen very carefully and perhaps buy stock.
In 1983 the Wayfarer ran the first mountain bike race on the east coast. It was called "The Tour de Bluff"and took
place at Bluff Point State Park in Groton, Ct. Seventy-five riders participated with Bicycling Magazine,The Boston Globe,
and The New York Times covering this historical event. The race series continued till 1989 when it grew to be 300 strong and
was determined by the state to be too large an event for the park. The Wayfarer went on to run a local benefit race called
"The Meadow Muffin" for the next five years. Wayfarer Bicycle also sponsored a junior racing team for ten years to
help upcoming young riders. Over the years some very good riders have come out of the program and have gone on to race for
Rockshox, Jamis, Giant, Discovery/Trek and Garmin. Check out our best known rider: Tom Danielson.
Today At Wayfarer Bicycle... The sport of bicycling has changed since 1972 and today there are many
popular styles of bikes. The Wayfarer offers a wide selection from kids bikes to road bikes to mountain bikes.We strive to
take the time with each customer and help them make the right choice.
As for Bob, Lesley, and James...
Lesley finished school at Connecticut College and today teaches 4th grade. Lesley only rides skinny
tire bikes with no STI shifters. A fitness nut, she runs, hikes and bikes when not with her dog, Bandit.
recentley graduated from law school after undergrad studies at Boston College. Today he is an attorney with the New London
law firm of Polito and Quinn. One of his long term hobbies is studying the Kennedy assasination, something he has researched
since he was 12 and someday we expect to see him interviewed on CNN.
What about Bob ? Rides cyclo
cross, 29" mountain bikes and his Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. A 3 season cycllist, he takes most of the summer off. If
you are a salesperson visiting the Wayfarer, you will probably never meet Bob.
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