Friday, March 21, 2014

Roll Model: Marty Mannering

Mannering and Irish Rover at the Iron Column by Phil Proctor on the Eastside Trail
Schmidt and Mannering at the Saint Patrick's Day Parade
Paul Mannering and his father in Piedmont Park
A Sturmey-Archer internal gear hub nut that went missing between Shannon and Hartsfield-Jackson Airports became the link from High Nelly Irish Vintage Bicycles to Houndstooth Road. Limerick entrepreneur Marty Mannering and his son Paul were en route to meet with investors in Atlanta. In their luggage were two Irish Rovers, one a vintage bike they had restored as a prototype and the other a first in production model based upon it. Their web search for a spare led them to Decatur where they found a kindred spirit in Jae Schmidt, whose inventory of European city bikes supplied the small but all important part.

One senses that Marty Mannering never met a stranger. This veteran of RTÉ Dragons’ Den also negotiated the lease for a pioneering segment of the Great Southern Trail and leads e-bike tours of the Irish countryside. Now he was the guest, riding with Schmidt and others from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition in our Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday. Tuesday he and Paul joined the Decatur group of Georgia Rides to the Capitol. Their return itinerary became an impromptu tour of Sweet Auburn, the Eastside BeltLine Trail and Piedmont Park led by another Roll Model, Amber Raley.

Back home, Mannering looks forward to the May 30 release of Jimmy’s Hall, a film set in the 1930’s for which his restoration business provided a fleet of HighNelly bicycles. Such traditional Irish bikes were a mainstay of daily life then. As the sole bicycle manufacturer in Ireland today, he draws from a proud heritage while looking to a future of renewable resources.

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