Laurie Lemieux, a long-time Greenbelter and avid cyclist, recently bought Proteus Bicycles on Route 1 (with Proteus employee Ben Bassett) and you can meet Laurie and cycling husband Jeff tomorrow at the Farmers Market. They’ll be conducting a bike clinic, giving out tips for beginners, maps of PG county trails, and instruction in changing flat tires and adjusting bikes to fit the rider’s body. They’ll also assess bikes and recommend repairs.
Laurie and Jeff moved to Old Greenbelt in 1986 and have been active in the community ever since; Jeff serves on the city’s Advisory Planning Board, for example. Bike shop ownership is a second career for Laurie, whose first career was as a women’s health nurse-practitioner and professor at Catholic University’s School of Nursing. Local all the way, Laurie studied at the University of Maryland and at Johns Hopkins. Laurie and Jeff are long-time customers of Proteus.
Proteus Sold due to U.S. Marriage Laws
Jill DiMauro, who’s been the owner and heart of Proteus since 2003, reported “with enormous heartache” her decision to sell the shop in order to keep her family together. When I read that news I thought – huh? Well, the problem is that owner Jill ‘s marriage to a noncitizen of the same gender isn’t recognized by the U.S. government, so her spouse isn’t able to stay in this country. They’re moving to neighboring towns on either side of the U.S.-Canada border. A sad but perfect example of why change is needed at the federal level, not just among the more enlightened states (go, Maryland!)
When I moved to Greenbelt I was inspired to get my old bike working again and chose Proteus, among all the bike shops in College Park, because I knew it had been there for decades, and I just liked the funky look of it. Then I met Jill and was instantly sold on the place. A bike shop owned by a woman? A woman in her 50s? Love it! (And you can’t tell from the photo above but Laurie’s of the same generation of cycling women, and the mother of grown kids. Looks like cycling keeps you fit and young-looking.)
Jill has created at Proteus a bike shop with a mission – to “reach out and improve our community, the environment and people’s lives.” To fulfill that lofty goal she and her team have created a community of like-minded cyclists through their group rides and incredibly, through weekly free potluck dinners. They’re every Thursday evening starting at 7:00.
New owners Laurie and Ben intend to continue the mission, the community, the potlucks and the funky storefront. The change in ownership will be finalized at the end of this month, and everyone is welcome to stop by at their going away party for Jill on July 21st at 6 p.m.
To follow what’s going on at Proteus, you can “like” them on Facebook.
Because of the heat, rides in July start early – at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, leaving from the store and ending by 10. They’re roughly 20-mile rides at a social/relaxed pace, where no one is dropped or left behind. Greenbelt riders can meet Laurie and Jeff at the New Deal Cafe at 7:30am and ride to the shop from there. Typical routes are in the Beltsville farms, the Anacostia Tributary trails, or Greenbelt National Park. Sometimes the riders go out for breakfast afterwards.