By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Motorcycle shop crosses 30-year mark
LibertyCycle 002
John Jenkinson, left, and his father, Kenneth Jenkinson, hold the original Coastal Courier article that announced the opening of Liberty Cycle 30 years ago. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Everyone dreams of taking a passion or hobby and finding a way to make a living from it.

For Kenneth Jenkinson, doing that was a dream come true, and now he is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his shop, Liberty Cycle.

“I decided to open up a small store here and, amazingly, at the same location we are at now,” he said, holding up a frame that has the original Coastal Courier article that announced the opening of Liberty Cycle 30 years ago.

Jenkinson grew up in Liberty County, graduating from Bradwell Institute in 1974. He said his passion for motorcycles started at a relatively young age.

“I was probably 10, 11 years old,” he recalled. “I grew up a military brat. My dad, Walter Jenkinson, retired as the post command sergeant major in 1973. He was never into motorcycles. But I remember when he was in Vietnam, my brothers and I talked my mother into buying us a small motorcycle, and that was the start of that.”

Jenkinson said that once he finished high school, his parents allowed him to foster his love of motorcycles by sending him to the American Motorcycle Institute in Daytona Beach, Florida.

“That is where I got certified,” he said. “Then, I went right to work at a major dealer in Savannah for 10 years.”

Jenkinson said Savannah was home for a while, and it was where he met and married his wife, Patricia Jenkinson, and where they had their sons, John and Kenneth, and their daughter, Tiffany.

Jenkinson and his wife decided to open their own business.

“At that time, there was no motorcycle-service shop here in Liberty County,” Jenkinson said.

“I do remember riding with my father when I was very little,” Jenkinson’s son John said. “He would take me on his bike around Savannah, and it was fun — exhilarating and kind of scary, but fun. It’s probably the reason I love roller coasters so much.”

John Jenkinson said that for the longest time, while he was growing up, motorcycles were his dad’s main interest.

“Riding bikes, working and restoring them, and then he got into racing them. … These are literally just a fraction of the trophies he has. He has barrels of them,” Jenkinson said, pointing to a stack of trophies currently displayed at the shop.

“He started weaning himself away from racing around the time I was born,” he said, noting that it was around this same time that his parents started talking about opening a business.

“And that is what they did,” he said, adding that his mom was the one carrying him in her waist in the original photo the newspaper took. “They thought Hinesville was a perfect place, between Savannah and the military base, and business has been good for them.”

For a while the family lived in Savannah, and his parents made the daily commute to run the shop while he was in school and day care. Mom handled the day-to-day operations and finances, while Dad toiled with the bikes.

“We eventually moved here to Midway around 1992, and I would ride around on the four-wheelers with my brother, just having some fun in the woods,” John Jenkinson said, though he admitted that the motorcycle bug never bit him the way it did his dad.

Because of the brothers’ love of the all-terrain vehicles, the Jenkinsons’ shop became a Polaris dealership.

“Polaris has been good to us for quite a while,” John Jenkinson said. “And that has actually helped us stay open, selling their product.”
He said Liberty Cycle is not a motorcycle dealer but does sell used motorcycles, ATVs and power-sport products. It also services, maintains and repairs all major motorcycle brands.

“A few of our customers have some really cool classic bikes, and that is when Ken goes gaga over them because that brings him back to the days when he first found the passion,” John Jenkinson said. “Those being almost antiques, it is very hard to get parts for, but he especially takes a personal interest in those. He will try and get the correct and original parts for them and restore them as best as he can.”

John Jenkinson also admitted that he is not mechanically inclined.

“I took over where my mom left off,” he said, noting that his mom teaches at Liberty County High School, and he runs the day-to-day business affairs.

Father and son said they are truly grateful for the continued support they’ve received throughout the years.

“It’s been good over the years. … We are so thankful for the military here. … We depend so much on military business. … I can remember when it was the 24th Infantry; of course, now it’s the 3rd ID,” Kenneth Jenkinson said. “And we appreciate the local community. It’s kind of a niche-type business, especially with the off-road vehicles, the Polaris products and being able to provide good services. It’s all I’ve really ever done.”

Liberty Cycle is located at 1165 E. Oglethorpe Highway. It is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

This week, the shop is offering discounts to show appreciation to its customers. On Saturday, the shop will offer free refreshments and will sell raffle tickets for special prizes. The first 20 customers Saturday will receive a special door prize.

For more information call (912) 368-4441.

Sign up for our e-newsletters