Sutterville Bicycle Company celebrates four years in business and giving back to the community

Shop works in tandem with East Sacramento-based Boys 4 Bikes charity

By Joe Perfecto

Sutterville Bicycles owner Jeff Dzurinko addresses partygoers outside the shop.

For many local (and not-so-local) bicycle-riding residents, Jeff Dzurinko is a household name. The mechanic-cum-fabricator-cum-engineer-cum-philanthropist recently marked the third anniversary of his Hollywood Park success story, known as Sutterville Bicycle Company, by throwing a bash with 400 customers and associates. The Nov. 12 party—the fourth since the 2014 grand opening—took place in the small parking area outside his space that’s sandwiched between auto repair shops at 2365 Sutterville Bypass.

On display were a variety of rides from small to large, vintage to new, road to BMX, basic to exotic—many at discount prices. The vittles included veggie/meat kabobs, chicken, beans and cole slaw churned out by Swiss Buda chef/Sacramento Catering Co. owner Eric McFadden at the barbecue station; draft beverages tapped by nearby Two Rivers Cider and Fountainhead Brewing; and a variety of cookies and other sweets on offer at The Boys 4 Bikes charity bake sale booth. At the raffle table, two bucks bought a chance to win prizes ranging from bike bells and accessories, books, helmets and clothing to a new Retrospec Mantra V2 single-speed “fixie.” Providing the soundtrack was longtime local group dRAW PiNKY (whose lineup includes Dzurinko’s mother) followed by bassist/vocalist Emma Simpson, co-founder of Girls Rock Sacramento. In attendance were riders of all stripes—commuters, roadies, casual cruisers and members of a number of clubs, some clad in motorcycle-style leather jackets and vests—most arriving on two-wheeled vehicles spanning a wide gamut.

The festivities painted a faithful portrait of what’s characterized those three years of operation—and, in fact, Dzurinko’s entire career: Fun, fraternity and a profound fanaticism about all things bike. His professional involvement with the spoked wheel began years ago as a salesperson at Performance, where he advanced to assistant manager. A stint as a mechanic at East Sac Bike and another as service manager at City Bicycle Works followed. When the shop that is now Sutterville became available in late 2014 after just four months of operation, he snapped it up, gutted it and rebuilt the space, which he then proceeded to cram with hardware.

The shop’s nondescript façade of orange BICYCLES sign, weathered wooden-plank nameplate and 10-foot-wide glass door/window unit gives little indication of the scope of what awaits inside. Just beyond a perhaps 12-foot-long narrow entryway that’s lined by a wall on one side and two levels of packed bike racks on the other, the view opens up to reveal a space about 30 feet wide by 40 feet deep and what seems like 100 feet high, absolutely packed with all manner of parts, accessories and bikes, bikes and more bikes—on the ground, on the walls and hanging from the rafters. “We’re out of storage space,” Dzurinko said, which would only be news to the sight-impaired.

While many shops focus on sales of a few bike styles, and secondarily on repair, Sutterville specializes in service, repair, restorations and custom builds, and also has bikes to suit almost any need. In order to be able to service the wide variety of equipment on offer, as well as anything that might come through the door, running along the entirety of two shop walls are long glass cases full of thousands of components—cranks, gear clusters, derailleurs, hubs—for practically any application whether common or obscure, new or very very vintage.

“We do everything,” Dzurinko said. “I don’t want to limit myself to one type of bike because I love all different kinds of bicycles and styles of cycling.”

As cycling hardware evolves, it becomes increasingly difficult to find parts for once-popular systems, such as the famed 9-speed Shimano drivetrain—but this is among the many outdated systems the shop has in stock. “I save 9-speed parts because they’re becoming less and less abundant; I’ll actively continue to source more of them—I love 9-speed stuff,” Dzurinko said. “I don’t think any other shop has some of the stuff that we have.”

Beyond fixing whatever’s broken and tuning up what isn’t, the shop restores vintage rides, whether for sale or for customers. “Jeff mechanically restored my mom’s early ’50s Schwinn-built Henderson and buffed up the brightwork; it shines now and is quite rideable for the first time in 25 years,” said Steve Cimini, a member of the Sacramento Bike Hikers, the area’s oldest cycling club. “I bought a 1959 Schwinn Corvette from him that had been restored.” Probably the oldest bikes on site are from Dzurinko’s private collection: Two rare single-speeds built by the Iver Johnson Arms and Cycle Works in 1910-15. Even though they look a bit rough, they’re quite valuable. For the right price, however, Dzurinko will part with them, and they’ll look nearly new when they leave the building.

Another shop specialty, custom builds are designed to perfectly suit a rider and can involve anything from swapping out a few parts on a bike of standard configuration, to putting together from scratch a one-of-a-kind ride from a precisely chosen set of frame, fork, wheels, tires, handlebars, saddle and drivetrain. “Jeff’s done maintenance on all of our bikes and listened carefully to [my husband] Rick’s needs for ‘just transportation’ to do neighborhood errands, which resulted in him creating one of Rick’s favorite bikes,” said Becky Neal, another Bike Hiker member.

As Dzurinko’s work is legendary in the cycling community, he has a dedicated legion of loyal customers, many of whom have followed him from shop to shop. He receives much patronage from clubs such as the aforementioned Bike Hikers, who hold him in high regard—and the feeling is mutual. “I’m a Bike Hiker myself,” he said, “and I’m very fortunate to have some of those guys as my customers.”

“It’s neat to have people whose bikes you’ve worked on for years—you know the history of their bikes and their riding,” Dzurinko said. “We have put quite a few bikes on the street; sometimes riding around town I’ll recognize a customer’s bike and I’ll say, ‘Oh, I remember fixing that one’ or ‘I remember building that.’”

Among the reasons for such loyalty are the depth and breadth of his knowledge and experience, and an innate ability to take a pile of parts and sculpt them into a machine that works well and looks good. And in the event that a certain part just isn’t available, he’ll make one. Longtime customer John Hax put it simply: “He’s an artist.”

Two other qualities that are mentioned repeatedly in countless online reviews are speed and affordability. Although the shop can at times be swamped with equipment in dry dock, turnaround time can be surprisingly short. And Dzurinko’s downright cheap, for both service and supplies—often by a wide margin. “We’re one of the most reasonably-priced bike shops in town,” Dzurinko said. “[For example,] we sell inner tubes for $5 every day.” (The typical cost is about $8.)

What’s more, the shop incorporates a culture of giving. Beyond the moderate pricing, Dzurinko’s been known to throw in additional parts or labor for no extra cost, to make deliveries to customers in need (despite recently having his van go kaput) and even to open the shop on his day off under special circumstances. Dzurinko and crew (Andrew, Collin and Nicole) also find time, despite their often demanding shop schedule, to lend support to charity concerns such as the Boys 4 Bikes group, whose own story deserves telling.

In late 2014, just weeks after Sutterville opened its doors, a group of 10 East Sacramento middle school students decided to venture into the business world by offering baked goods to the throngs of visitors drawn by the neighborhood’s annual holiday home tour. Like some of their wares, the returns were sweet and plump, to the tune of a bit over $1,000. This raised the issue of what to do with all that holiday greenery, as the group had no preconceived plan. It was decided that the cash would be used to buy bikes for children in need—and Boys 4 Bikes was born.

One of the boys, Owen, was the son of one of Dzurinko’s customers, Mary Kelly, who asked for help in making it happen. Through his wholesalers Dzurinko got all the bikes he could for the available cash and the shop crew assembled them at no charge. To those he added some used rigs, for a total of 30 bikes that were then distributed through several organizations such as Stanford Youth Solutions.

In similar fashion the number of bikes rose to 40 in 2015, and to 50 last year. While Boys 4 Bikes will host yet another bake sale at this year’s holiday home tour, their earnings from their booth at the Sutterville party—combined with the raffle proceeds donated by Dzurinko—puts the group $1,000 to the good, a month ahead of schedule. Due to this windfall, and the group’s unwavering enthusiasm, Dzurinko is hoping to donate a record number of bikes this year. He expects to continue his association with the boys into the foreseeable future. “I’m really proud to work with Boys 4 Bikes,” he said. “Their excitement encourages me to keep with it.”

Dzurinko was also involved in relief efforts in the wake of the widespread devastation of the recent Santa Rosa fires. The Bike Hikers club approached him for help in getting new bikes to children in a Santa Rosa school district whose families had suffered severe losses. He immediately secured the bikes for the club at a sizable discount through a wholesaler, he and his crew quickly assembled them at no charge, and on Nov. 8 the club delivered them to what club member Becky Neal described as “very appreciative kids and their parents.”

In its review of a book authored by a particular one-time embodiment of pro cycling who unfortunately has since fallen from grace, the Cincinnati Enquirer said: “It’s not about the bike, or about the sport. It’s about the soul.” The book’s author himself once noted, “Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything.” Within the walls of Sutterville Bicycle Company are found the accoutrements typical for a shop of its kind, and quite a lot of stock that isn’t. But far more importantly, behind its small, dimly-lit entrance is something far greater—a nexus where soul, knowledge, community and positive attitude converge, where the bicycle is a work of art, a way of life.

And that spot in Hollywood Park is where Jeff Dzurinko and his staff want to be. “We’ve been growing every day for the past three years. I feel very fortunate to be in this community,” Dzurinko said. “I love the neighborhood; I’m really happy here.”

From all appearances, the community is happy he’s there as well.

The Sutterville Bicycle Company is located at 2356 Sutterville Bypass. Bike shop hours are: Monday, closed; Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.

On the web:
Sutterville Bicycle Company — www.suttervillebicycle.com
Boys 4 Bikes — paypal.me/Boys4Bikes

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