Barbara Lawlor, Gilpin County. Boulder has long been a mecca for mountain bikers. Happy Trails in Nederland gives mountain visitors a bike rental and repair haven. The Tin Shed set up shop a few years ago, threw in Salto, and bicyclists began to realize that Ned was the place to head to and head from for the whole mountain experience.
This spring another dot on the mountain bike trail appeared in mid-Gilpin County, to add to the chain of biking venues on the Peak to Peak. 92Fifty at first appears to be one of the smallest shops in the world. Located in the carwash building, it is larger than it looks from the exterior.
Owner Jonathan Davis says he can’t imagine a better location to set up shop in the business of promoting the sport he loves. Davis has spent the last 18 years in Gilpin County while he raced professionally and created High Point Deck Lighting.
When Davis was eight years old he raced BMX bikes and continued to compete in high school. In his mid-30s, Davis blew out his knee while skiing. Part of his rehab training was riding a bike and muscle memory kicked in.
“Riding that bike saved my life. I was in my mid-30s and had put on 75 pounds. My wife convinced me to train and run a marathon. Then the light business sponsored a bike team and was soon racing and winning.”
In 2012 Davis won the US-24-Hour National Championship mixed duo with Sonya Looney for Team HSB. “Bicycles are a fun way to change your life,” says Davis.
But he always wanted to own a bike shop; he always wanted to share his passion with others. When a friend of his in Dory Lakes said there was some space available at the car wash in mid-Gilpin, Davis was ready to move on it. He sold his lighting business and went to work, buying high-end inventory, repair tools, an organic espresso machine and some barbecues for the deck.
In January, he had a quiet opening and eased into becoming a destination shop. He is open from 1-7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and on Saturday from 12-7. Davis says that travelers will come to the shop as well as local residents who need bike repairs.
“It’s amazing how much more business we are doing than we expected,” he says. Part of his inventory is race team cycling kits. Keeping the customers happy makes for a quasi-co-op feel to the business. He says that the shop is small and supportive and he and his employees give unique, slow personal service. “We end up coaching people, providing knowledge. This is a lifestyle business.” He says he and his manager Kyle Taylor, who also races professionally, have been in the cycling business for a long time and know how to cater to locals and pros alike.
Being located near the gateway to Golden Gate State Park, the mountain bike activity is heavier than that for road bikes and he has stocked the shop with everything a mountain biker could need for a fun day on the park trails.
“Don’t Waste Your Life” is the shop slogan which can be found on shorts and shirts and other retail items.
Davis’s son Tanner, soon to be a freshman at Gilpin High School, is fast following in his dad’s footsteps. At the age of 11 he rode 132 miles in a 24-hour solo. He is now rallying his school sports buddies to use the bike shop as a hangout.
Davis plans to build a pump track around the building, a skills course on one and a half acres. A pump track is a continuous circuit of dirt rollers, berms, and jumps that loops back on itself, allowing one to ride it continuously. He hopes to build a biking community in Gilpin County and says if people have old bikes they don’t use, he will take them, fix them up and give them away to kids who need them.
After about six months of being in business, Davis says he has a long way to go to reach his goals, but “the business has taken off better than we thought it would. 92fifty may close over the winter holidays until May, but if the community demand is there, Davis will consider options.
His inventory includes Pivot , Newproof, Felt stock bikes; nutritional and energy supplies; tires, shirts, six one six gloves, Smith helmets. In the future he will have a Web store.
Each Saturday morning at 9, there will be a shop ride for kids, pros, and senior citizens, a two-hour get-together for any level rider.
Davis also runs a performance studio in Dory Lakes and three-day educational High Altitude Training Camps, including the bunk beds for sleeping. Recently three novice ladies from North Caroline went on the camp trip and loved it.
“I like to introduce people to the sport and help them enjoy it by making them feel more confident, safer. The idea of getting hurt is intimidating and teaching basic skills will help people have an enjoyable experience.”