Two-wheeled Tradition Rolls On -Fall 2019
by: Brian Bushard
photography by: Nicole Harnishfeger
Jasper Young was 12 years old when he first put on a Young’s Bicycle Shop shirt and hat, and started working for his father. Seventeen years later, he’s standing behind the front counter at the bike shop on Broad Street, renting out bikes to island visitors.
“Iwouldn’t work anywhere else on Nantucket,” he said. But that wasn’t always his philosophy. A bachelor’s degree in early education from Bucknell University, in Pennsylvania, brought him to school systems in Sacramento, Calif. and Portland, Ore., where he worked for three years. But there was something missing. He decided he wanted to join his dad at the shop.
“I see my dad working here and enjoying it,” he said. “But a lot of what you’re doing is mentoring younger kids working at the shop, and interacting with customers. It’s a lot like education.”
His father, Harvey Young, was also 12 when he started working at the family bike shop. It was 1969. The shop got its start 38 years earlier at his grandfather Harvey A. Young’s house on India Street. Harvey’s family, as well as islanders who knew and associated the Young name with cycling, had been asking him when he would start working at the shop ever since he was in elementary school.
Then, in his early 20s, he left the island. He only came back in 1993, after 20 years of what he called his “Jack London and John Steinbeck Pacific Northwest school-of-hardknocks,” and took on the role of manager of the shop.
One friend asked him if he loved bikes. “I said, ‘well, yeah, I like bikes, but what I really love is doing hospitality on Nantucket with bikes’.”
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