FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED BY ACTIVE CYCLISTS SINCE 1961
The Bent family has a long and storied tradition in the bicycle industry, dating back to the very early 1900s. During a time when bicycle mechanics Wilber and Orville Wright had a dream, Gordon Bent owned a large sporting goods/bicycle store in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Gordon was himself an accomplished mechanic and an astute businessman, and he bestowed these attributes to his nephew, Norman Bent. Norman eventually opened his own Schwinn bicycle store on Main Street, in Green Bay. Norman's son, Roland Bent, followed in his father's footsteps, and in 1945 Bent's Schwinn Cyclery opened in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In 1961 a move to warmer climes brought Bent's to Lakeland, Florida, and its current location, on South Florida Avenue. After working at the store with my dad for years (since I was 16), I bought the business in 1982, as Bent's Cycling and Fitness.
We were fortunate to have had Roland with us as a mentor, a tireless helper and friend, until his death in March of 2010, at the age of 94. A generation of Lakelanders will recall Mr. Bent riding his Schwinn Bicycle to work every day for 30+ years…many of whom, as youngsters, remember the excitement of waking one Christmas morn to a shiny new first bicycle from Bent's under the tree. Roland's greatest legacy to Lakeland, though, was his tireless championing, and eventual realization, of the bike trail around Lake Hollingsworth. His vision (at a time when most adults in America thought of the bicycle as nothing more than a child's toy) must be admired, and surely grows with every pedal stroke and footstep taken on this timeless treasure over the years.
Thanks to all our many customers and friends in Lakeland and beyond, Bent's Cycling and Fitness flourishes, and has truly evolved into an extended family business. Everyone on our team is an active cyclist, and it shows; from the depth of our practical hands-on knowledge, to the passion and enthusiasm evidenced by everyone here, every day. Each individual brings their own unique skills and abilities, and all are an integral and respected part of what team Bents is today. As accomplished cyclists we are well versed, and able to assist, in the less obvious details of our sport; critical minutia allowing you to enjoy a safer, more comfortable and rewarding cycling experience. Come and visit us today; you will find friendly and familiar faces, folks that are interested in your story.
In 2011, we celebrate our 50th anniversary, and yet, after all those years, we still love our bikes…they are all we think about. We work hard to assure that your high tech equipment is in perfect tune, and that you are well prepared for your next cycling adventure. Friendly, courteous, competent service you can count on, integrity you can trust, without the pressure. Thanks to all of you for your continued patronage and support. Let's go ride!
4th Generation Owner