Best Bike Mechanic: Dusty Henning
Steamboat Springs — Some people might say that bicycle mechanic Dusty Henning of Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare has unusual tastes in his personal bicycles, but when it comes to other peoples’ rides, he’s meticulous.
Henning’s drive for perfection, instilled in him by his seniors at Ski & Bike Kare, goes a long way to explaining his recognition as this year’s top bike mechanic in town.
“If something touches my rack, it doesn’t come off my rack until it’s right,” Henning says. “First and foremost is the safety of our customers. We put our names on every bike we work on and I pride myself in not having the bikes I work on come back. The performance in our shop reflects our leadership.”
Henning says receiving the award for “Best of the Boat” comes as a surprise.
“There’s so many good bike mechanics in this town, I wouldn’t think I’d get many votes,” he says.
Henning’s approach to cycling in his two-wheeled life away from the shop is a fascinating one. He grew up in Steamboat playing hockey and first worked at Ski & Bike Kare at the age of 14. His passion was always building his own BMX bikes.
“When I first got into it, it was just BMX, it’s all I cared about,” he says. “I built a bike out of (Ski & Bike Kare owner) Harry Martin’s junk drawer. I don’t remember buying a bike.”
And Henning still has an affinity for well-used cycles.
“If there’s an old bike that looks like it needs to be thrown away, that ‘s the bike I like to work on,” he says. “I enjoy the bikes no one wants to touch.”
Times change though, and more than the dirt-jumper he made out of old parts and the fixed-gear bike he customized, his current love is the classic Schwinn Le Tour road bike he inherited from his late grandfather, Kurt Schmidt.
Despite his passion for bicycles, hockey is probably a a bigger part of Henning’s life. He’s about to begin his ninth season as a professional hockey player playing defense for the Huron, MIchigan, Prowlers. It’s a new team and a new coaching staff for Henning. Last winter, he won a Federal Hockey League championship with the Wolves of Watertown, New York.
If he’s good at balancing on wheels, and balancing those of the bikes he tunes, he’s even more so on his skate blades.
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