Longtime locals J. Michael Brown, Travis Young, and father-and-daughter James and Summer Colt, have now channeled their passion for the sport into a new business venture. Life Cycles represents the quartet’s allegiance to cycling; it also stands as this sports-loving town’s only cycling-specific shop.
Life Cycles opened in the expansive space adjacent to Elks Park in Telluride last week, unveiling a fleet of Specialized mountain and road bikes as well as cycling accessories. The entire back section of the space is devoted to Life Cycles’ service department, managed by none other than bike mechanic extraordinaire Young, and a state-of-the-art Body Geometry bike fitting area. The end result is a cycling enthusiast’s dream.
“Cycling is a huge part of all of our lives; it’s not something we do just as work. We live and eat bikes,” Young says of Life Cycles’ birth.
The four owners say they opted for a bike-specific shop, instead of the more traditional seasonal bike/ski shop, to help fill a void in Telluride’s sports landscape. Brown has been a player in the local sports store scene for close to thirty years (he co-founded both Olympic Sports, now Telluride Sports, as well as Paragon), and says that local bike enthusiasts have long lamented Telluride’s lack of a bike-specific shop.
“With the large number of dedicated cyclists in this town, an actual bike shop has always been the one thing missing,” he says. After leaving the helm at Paragon Sports three years ago, Brown admits he missed being a part of the local biking business. He and fellow cyclist Colt began brainstorming business ideas last summer, and the Life Cycles concept soon emerged.
According to Brown, building this new bike shop hinged on one very important player: The Specialized brand. A self-proclaimed Specialized “addict,” Brown says bringing in this much-touted bike line was a crucial component of Life Cycles’ creation.
Life Cycles carries Specialized’s full line of bikes, from basic $140 kids’ bikes to a state-of-the-art electronic-shifting road bike with a price tag of nearly $10,000. Although the company prides itself on providing the cycling world’s preeminent bikes (Specialized is known as the leader in suspension design, as well as rider-tested bike development), the store is not focused on the highest-end bikes alone.
“It’s not just about high performance; we want to be where you come for your kid’s first bike or just needing a bike to get around town on,” Young says. “We’re committed to getting people on bicycles, regardless of their level or needs.”
Enlisting the mechanical expertise of local bike tinkering guru Young was also a key component of Life Cycle’s creation.
Young, who has been working on bikes in Telluride for much of the last 15 years, opened his own bike shop – Trav’s Bike Shed – last summer. When the opportunity to join forces with Brown and Colt emerged this spring, Young pounced. His new workspace is a roomy, meticulously ordered bike surgery hub that fills the back third of the Oak Street space (which had previously been occupied by Slopestyle). The back room is also home to the community’s only Body Geometry bike-fitting system: Developed by Dr. Andy Pruitt of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, BG FIT (Body Geometry Fit Integration Technology) is a comprehensive fit philosophy created to help cyclists ride faster, longer and in greater comfort, while reducing the chance of injury.
Rounding out Life Cycles’ executive group is local cycling ambassador James Colt. Colt offers an atypical perspective to this new cycling business: After suffering a traumatic brain injury in a climbing accident in 2006 on the Ophir Wall, Colt was left with debilitating weakness on one side of his body. That hasn’t stopped this avid outdoorsman from pursuing his sports interests, specifically cycling. Colt rides almost daily during the summer, on a specially designed bike, and has ridden in the arduous Mountains to the Desert charity bike ride twice since his injury. His influence at Life Cycles is evident in the store’s commitment to providing cycling opportunities for disabled riders, with the coming of for-rent and for-sale hand cycles. Summer Colt, who has taken charge of daily operations at the shop, will oversee a number of the company’s coming initiatives, such as organized group rides, indoor spinning classes, bike tuning clinics and more.
“It’s really about being ambassadors for the sport,” Brown says of the company’s focus as Telluride’s only cycling-specific store. Life Cycles’ involvement in the local cycling community will extend further, with the impending establishment of the Life Cycles Bike Team (which is looking for team members of both genders, and all ages). The store will also coordinate with the San Miguel Bicycling Alliance and the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program to support cycling initiatives across the region, and is in the process of starting up a kid's bike trade-in program, which would work as a clearinghouse for kid's bikes in Telluride. That way, Brown explains, kids of all ages can bring in bikes that they want to find buyers for, and once those bikes have been checked for safety, Life Cycles will find buyers for their bikes as well as look for used or new bikes, in trade. “We look at the youth movement in bikes as crucial to not only our success, but the health and well being of the younger generation,” Brown says.
To celebrate its opening Life Cycles will host an Open House party tomorrow (Friday March 11) starting at 4 p.m., with food, refreshments, and free schwag giveaways. The first 20 customers to buy a new bike from the shop will receive a free, extended service package, as well as a variety of discounts on bike-related accessories.
Life Cycles is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours during bike season. The shop can be reached at 728-3668.