The year was 1989, and Bill Click and Chris Betzner had both become big-time cycle enthusiasts. They both had bought their two-wheelers at the old Hive Bike Shop in town, and they knew the owner was looking to sell the place.
“The guy that owned the Hive at the time, his heart wasn’t in it,” Click said.
So he and Betzner started looking into the possibility of buying the store.
“We spent hours around my kitchen table figuring if we could manage it and how we would do it,” Click said. “We had to figure out how to finance everything, and that was pretty scary stuff for us. But we got her done.”
So they went for it. The only physical things they really bought from the owner were a cash register and some tools. The rest of the money paid for the old shop’s customer base.
“We knew the business was here, but it was still a leap of faith to go for it and give it a try,” Betzner said.
With their new business underway, they wanted a fresh start, so they chose a new name — Breakaway Bike Shop, a name based on a movie about the annual Little 500 bicycle race in Bloomington.
But running the business quickly became a struggle for Click after he was appointed the new Peru fire chief.
Between the shop and his duties as chief, Click said he was working 110 hours a week. It was getting too crazy for him, so in 1993, Betzner bought him out and took over full ownership with his wife.
That was the same year he hired Zac, who worked at the shop after school and on the weekends.
For 17 years, Betzner juggled his jobs as a firefighter and bike shop owner, but the double duty started wearing him thin when he was appointed fire chief, just as it had with Click.