A beloved institution in the region’s biking community has ushered in new ownership.

Cardinal Bicycle, which opened its doors in 1977, changed hands at the beginning of the year after its founder, Scott Leweke, decided to retire.

The sizeable bike shop, which spans about 8,000 square feet at 2901 Orange Ave., was sold to a local team that aims to carry on the store’s legacy.

“We’re really lucky,” said new co-owner Whit Ellerman. “It’s not often that you can buy a business that has such a solid base underneath it and such a positive history in its community.

“Scott worked for 42 years to create that, and we see it as our goal to maintain that strong tradition he built.”

Cardinal Bicycle was purchased by Ellerman — an avid cyclist with a stake in other local destinations such as River and Rail Restaurant — and Stratton Delany, who for the past decade has run Starlight Bikes.

The Starlight shop at 1502 Grandin Road now operates under the Cardinal name.

The new combined enterprise kept on all the staff from both shops.

“That was very important to us,” Ellerman said. “The staff is a big part of maintaining that quality experience for customers.”

By combining forces, Ellerman said, the two locations will be in a better position to support the region’s growing interest in biking and expand their own efforts to make the sport more accessible to people of all skill levels.

The new owners did a light makeover to the sales floor and updated the look of the store’s website. But no fundamental changes to its operations or approach to service were made, Ellerman said.

“The nice thing is that the business didn’t need that,” he said.

In a Facebook post last winter announcing the sale, Leweke said he was glad to be passing the baton to a local team.

“I look forward to this next chapter of the Cardinal Bicycle story, and what it holds for cycling in Roanoke,” he wrote, noting that he was grateful to all who’ve supported the store over the years.

“Thank you all for a lifetime of memories … it’s been a great ride!”

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