Greenville, South Carolina chiropractor Dr. Dave Mruz is a man who is passionate about bikes and his garage is a testament to that. Hanging on “J” hooks are bikes whose past owners include Alexi Grewal, Axel Merckx, and Chris Huber.
Dr Mruz’s introduction to cycling came directly from the Coors Light cycling team, which had discovered his name through a directory of chiropractors who practice applied kinesiology. Soon he was working on the team when they were racing in the Southeast.
“I knew nothing about cycling. I didn’t even think there was something called professional cycling,” said Dr. Mruz.
Soon he was bitten by the cycling bug, attending the local pro races such as the Michelin Classic to work on the Coors Light riders.
While Dr. Mruz’s first ride was a wake-up call to how hard cycling could be, he soon graduated from riding to racing – he was hooked.
“The bikes were really cool and I had no idea there was tactics or team support. Once I got that there was strategy, I was totally hooked. It was like chess on wheels.”
Standing at 6’7” an off the shelf bike wouldn’t work for the doctor so custom bikes were his only option. As he became more involved in cycling he became fascinated with bikes and kept an ongoing search on Ebay for larger framed bikes. Along the way he struck gold with some amazing finds.
One such find is Alexi Grewal’s Softride bike. The frame is a platform for a carbon fiber banana shaped beam from which the saddle is attached. The reasoning behind the design is that the beam would absorb road shock. While this is the case, when the brakes are applied the beam squats and then releases like a catapult. This is obviously a bad thing for the rider.
“It’s just a bad design,” said Dr. Mruz. “You can carve corners on it like nobody’s business on it and it’s stiff because of the small frame triangle, but it doesn’t climb well at all – not that I do.”
Another bike in the collection is Axel Merckx’s Caloi badged Merckx. Axel Merckx is as tall as Mruz and his bike makes a nice addition to the stable. When Axel’s bike was made it can be safely assumed that Eddy was looking over the shoulder of the builder making sure every weld was perfect.
Chris Huber’s Coors Light Serotta bike was one that the Doctor received due to his affiliation with the team. Again, this is a larger framed bike to accommodate the tall Coors Light rider.
One piece of cycling history of special interest here in Greenville, George Hincapie’s GT road bike. Hincapie gave the bike to Chuck Hodge who then gave it to Dr Mruz.
“It was trashed when I got it.”
That’s fairly typical after a professional cyclist is done racing on it for a season. In this case the frame was constructed from steel, which become “soft” after time due to the amount of stress a pro applies to the frame. Regardless, having a bike that Hincapie rode and autographed is a keeper, no matter what the condition.
The fork on the GT bike was ruined so Hincapie was riding the GT with a different fork. Dr. Mruz, wanting to keep the bike looking correct for that era, got an original GT fork and sent it to the bike company to be painted the authentic team colors. GT was reluctant to repaint the new fork with the team colors so Hincapie had to intervene on Mruz’s behalf.
According to Dr. Dave each bike has its own personality.
“The GT makes the rear end very tight, very stiff. When you stomp on it, it goes.”
The Serotta holds a special place for the doctor.
“They are my favorite bikes. The bottom bracket is so stiff and the curved chainstay adds to the stiff ride. It rides wonderfully well.”
Bike frames aren’t the only piece of cycling memorabilia in his possession. He has quill style Cinelli stems, a pair of Scott Drop In bars and Silica frame pumps with Campagnolo heads. If you are looking for a one-off piece of cycling technology Doctor Dave might have it in his garage.