Biking is more than a business for Larry Myles, who owns Be Real Sports Cycling & Fitness at 4399 Springhill Drive.

It's a way of life.

"I ride 10 to 12 hours a week," he said.

Myles opened the store in April 2018.

But he's been riding bikes since he was grade school and he's been racing nearly 30 of his 56 years.

"Be Real dates to 1999 as a coaching and mentoring business," Myles said recently.

He worked for another bike shop for a while.

Then, as other bike shops in town closed, Myles saw an opening to start his own business.

"We scouted Owensboro and wanted to be in midtown," he said. "But Bill Jones had faith in us and talked us into coming here."

The location in front of Lake Forest is great, Myles said.

"We're up against the Greenbelt here," he said. "It's one of the safest places in the county to ride bikes."

The store does a Ride and Shine ride at 7 a.m. every Saturday with Great Harvest Bread.

"We offer two rides -- 42 miles and 25 miles," Myles said. "We encourage the shorter ride for most people. We start them out at about 13 to 15 mph. Then, they get hooked. There's a growing cycling community here."

His background is in chemical and mechanical engineering, he said.

"I worked for Big Rivers, AK Steel and others," Myles said. "But I wanted to be a pro bike racer."

When jobs started becoming scarce in his chosen field a few years ago, Myles decided to move to biking.

He's been working with bikes since 2014 -- including a time when he had a shop in his living room.

'I'm happier here'

"I'm happier here, but small businesses are very stressful," Myles said.

"Service is the biggest part of our business," he said.

Bikes today range up to $15,000.

But Myles said, "There's no sticker shock here. Ours range from $560 to $5,000. But we can order others."

He recently expanded to include a yoga studio and indoor cycling.

The indoor cycling involves a stationary bike hooked to a Zwift video screen, which shows a bike riding on a variety of courses including high mountains.

The bike adjusts to the terrain on the screen, making pedaling more difficult on a steep climb.

It gives a person a good work-out, Myles said.

"There's been a revolution in indoor training," he said. "We were blown away by this."

The indoor training costs $15 a month.

Myles is part of an eight-member biking team that does Cycle Cross racing across the United States and into Canada.

The courses involve both on- and off-road racing.

"You might have a barrier at the bottom of a hill," Myles said. "You have to get off and carry your bike up the hill and then get back on and start pedaling."

One of this year's races will be at Yellow Creek Park on Nov. 24, he said.

Myles son, Mark, wants to be a pro racer.

"He was fifth in the nation last year and he's about the same place so far this year," Myles said. "He rides 15 to 20 hours a week."

The farthest distance they travel to races is Ontario, Canada.

Myles still races in the Masters -- 50 and older -- series.

The store sponsors a mountain bike race at Ben Hawes Park every year, he said.

Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and "we're riding on Sunday," he said.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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