Garry’s South County Cycle in Pawnee has been incorporated since 2015. Garry has a shop next to his house and started up the business in his retirement. But the love of motorcycles is nothing new. Garry White had a motorcycle before he ever had a car. Born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, Gary’s first bike was a Yamaha 125 that was street legal. He has loved motorcycles ever since! I’ve been working on motorcycles since I was a teen,” Garry said.
“I worked at the Pawnee School for 20 years,” Garry added. Doing important maintenance jobs kept Garry busy, he is now in what he called, his second retirement. After retiring from the school, he worked at the Hope School for two years, then went on to make his hobby a fulltime job going to work at a bike shop.
“I started out at B.J. Speed Shop in Taylorville. They were bought out by RTD,” he added. RTD had been a shop in Springfield and Garry worked both shops for the next ten years.
“Then I went to Iowa City for three years,” Garry said. But the lure of family and small-town life brought him back to Pawnee.
“I decided I have family and property here. I’m glad to be back in Pawnee. When I left Springfield and moved here, I never regretted it,” Garry said so he set up shop and supplements his retirement income with his business Garry’s South County Cycle. With a full shop, its easy to see that business is booming. Garry doesn’t advertise, he gets his clientele by word of mouth and partially through other members of the Springfield Milers BMW Club. Garry is President of the club and said several bike owners from the Pawnee area are members.
“The service I offer is metric machinery,” Garry said. “I got into Japanese bikes and once in a while I will do a Harley Davidson, but I concentrate on four-wheelers, and motorcycles.”
“I get a lot of farmers and hunters that bring in four-wheelers,” Garry added. Before working at the school, Garry drove a truck for Perry Broughtin Excavating Company and Dodd Gas.
Although the new trend he said is the side by side motorcycles, Garry said he is sticking to his four-wheelers and motorcycles. He doesn’t restrict the size though. “I get all sizes, big and small.”
One of the things Garry enjoys about the business is the variety of motorcycles that he sees. Part of the fun he said, “Is getting to ride everyone else’s machinery and seeing what it is all about!”
The other day, he was busy enough he called in his grandson Logan for reinforcement. Although he said the teen needs supervision, he is great help. Garry doesn’t employee anyone, besides occasional help from Logan, his is a one-man shop. Offering carburetor, motor repair, tires, brakes and the occasional rebuild, Garry pretty much does it all.
When asked how many of the motorcycles onsite were his, he said, several! His shop was full the day I interviewed, plus customers bikes were in the drive along with his own! When asked how long it takes to get to a job completed, Garry said it will depend on the job. “I don’t keep a lot of parts in stock, so I have to wait and that is the biggest hold up. During COVID-19, that has really slowed down, it has influenced the shipping of parts.”
Being retired, Garry said he has slowed down a bit. “I don’t put in a full day. I start around nine and quit around 4:30 or so and take a long lunch break.”
This is a job he loves, not a career he is doing because he must. “I like working on them. I always had a motorcycle, and even raced them on a track, you talk about expensive,” he laughed.
Garry said he raced all around Illinois and the St. Louis area back in the day. When asked what advice he had for those that want to get a motorcycle Garry said, “Start out small, don’t get a big, bad bike. Get a smaller one and learn to ride. There are also MSF riding classes and they are good.”
Garry’s parting word of advice to new motorcycle owners was, “Stay out of traffic.”
To reach Garry call 217-725-2648.