Saturday, September 16, 2006

Shop of the Week - Mick Mazza Cycles

I went up to Mick Mazza's this morning to get a new basket and chain for my bike. He sold me a rather stylish black basket and a good long chain that'll go around both wheels and the frame, and he gave me a block of chocolate. I'm going to start riding in to UTS, partly to get fitter, and partly because I'm sick of the 423 bus and the train (last week on the 423 I witnessed someone having a really good pick at a scab on the back of her neck...)

Inside the 423 bus, 8.45am on a Thursday

Mazza has been running cycle shops in Marrickville for more than 30 years. I'll never forget when I went into his shop about 6 years ago, when Sailor was a pup. She pooped on the floor and I was mortified, looking around desperately for something to clean it up with. Mick just picked it up with some paper towel & said "What can I do for you love?"

He was a champion amateur cyclist for many years and turned professional in the early 1970s before returning to amateur status because "I had me shop to look after, you know." Mazza wears big thick glasses and still has a champion's muscled legs. There's no question he can't answer, no bike he can't fix. His shop is filled with cheap bikes (rejuventated as well as new) and piles of parts.

Mazza's businesses have been in Illawarra Rd and Marrickville Rd, and he's lived in Calvert St for 55 years. He is one of Marrickville's best known citizens and often donates bikes to charity. I asked him how business had changed over the years:

"It's got harder and harder with department stores. KMart, BigW, ToysRUs. They've killed the bike shops, love. The wholesalers are selling bikes to the big retailers at half the price. They're doing the dirty on the bike shops."

Still, it took me nearly half an hour to get this much information out of him as we were constantly interrupted by customers and phone calls. The shop seemed to be doing great business. This morning the customers included a bunch of local toughs, a couple of Maori women, numerous teenaged boys, and a little blonde girl.

Mazza is friends with the boxer Jeff Fenech, aka "The Marrickville Mauler". He helped raise the money for Fenech to attend the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles by raffling bikes at local pubs. A wall of fame in the shop is covered in framed certificates and photos, and one of Fenech's boxing gloves.

Mick Mazza's Cycles
255 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville
9564 5468

See more photos from this series on my flickr account.


j said...

It would be my luck, as a public transport planner, to wander onto your blog for the first time and find you complaining about State Transit. Fortunately, I have nothing to do with them, so can echo all your rantings.

Great post. Wish there were more bike lanes here.

Cheers, J

Anonymous said...

just wondering if you happened to see if he had any retro/vintage bicycles for sale? thanks.

Meredith said...

I don't recall, but he does have second hand bikes and I guess the stock changes all the time, so it would be worth giving him a call or dropping in.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the 423 is a horrible bus to get. Weekday afternoons are the worse; on more than 1 occasion I have waited 50 minutes for a bus to come, then 2 of them came.

Anonymous said...

My bottom bracket bearing is wobbly, so a friend at work (Nick from Camwest) lent me a lock nut spanner, King St Cyclery sold me a crank puller, but when I needed an end-bearing tool on a Sunday afternoon, when I could only vaguely describe what I wanted, never having seen one before, it was Mick Mazza to the rescue - in his own toolkit he showed me what looked like the right tool, like a socket spanner inside out. He gave it to me for $5 cause it had grease on it, I offered to give it back after I used it, but he wouldn't hear of it. I managed to dismantle the bottom bearing, have refitted it ok for now, but will be back next weekend for 2 new ball-races from Mick. This is not the first time he's helped me with bike stuff, just the latest. So folks, if it is has 2 wheels (and no engine), ask Mick Mazza, in Marrickville Rd.

Patch Wrangler said...

Mick is a true classic.

I used see him out at 4am cycling round the 'hood. So I asked him why 4am? He replied in his fab terse growl. "Best time mate, no cars, 'swen I get up to go for a push, clock up a dozen clean k's..."

I love this guy, cos he loves bikes.

Anonymous said...

I had previously used Mick's bike repair services but will NEVER do so again. About two month's ago I was sitting in a restaurant along Marrickville Rd when I saw Mick walk past with a beer in his hand. There was also a homeless woman laying down on the bench outside of the restaurant. When Mick walked passed he poured beer in her ear and continued walking on. The poor woman was startled and very upset. How cruel and disrepectful. What kind of a person would do that!!!

Meredith Jones said...

Anonymous that is very very troubling, and bizarre.

Jerald said...

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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