. Internationally experienced,
We're lifelong bike people, and a bit outside the box. Calling us
"cyclists" is a little too confining. We ride bikes on
trails, roads, bike paths. We ride to work, we ride to the
grocery, and we ride for fun. Come ride along! We specialize in expedition &
bikepacking gear, high-quality trail bikes and fatbikes, utility & commuter rigs, singlespeed MTB &
cycles, and used bikes of all kinds, along with unparalleled technical
and customer service. Join the Velorution!
What's New: 02.26.14 - Frostbike! Some
of you know that I took a little business trip up to Minneapolis this
last weekend. Nope, although I did have fun up there, it wasn't a
vacation - going to the upper midwest during one of the coldest,
wettest winters in recent memory isn't my idea of vay- cay time.
I went to visit our main supplier of bike stuff, an awesome company
called Quality Bicycle Products. QBP is the parent organization
of Surly, among other brands, and they also distribute the vast
majority of the parts and accessories you'll find in our shop.
Every February, QBP puts on a mini trade show called Frostbike, and
this year they invited me to come up for an all-expenses-paid trip to
their central nervous system (apparently we're the type of shop they
really dig, and wanted to show it!). I say QBP is awesome not,
however, because of the free trip, or even because of their
products. I've been working with QBP for over fifteen years, and
have watched as they've grown into a powerhouse of environmental
consciousness and bicycle advocacy. They also treat every one of
their hundreds of employees very, very well - all of which means that
everyone at Q is a true pleasure to deal with. If VC were a
distributor instead of a shop, we'd strive to be like QBP. But
enough mushy stuff - here's the lowdown on a few of the many cool
things I saw at the show. First off, Surly is releasing a brand-new fatbike model
(pictured above) called the Ice Cream Truck. The ICT differs
quite a lot from the current Pugsley or even the Moonlander. It's
made of 4130 chromoly steel, of course, but instead of having an offset
rear triangle to accommodate standard 135mm hubs, the ICT moves to a
symmetrical, 190mm rear end - the same as the 9:ZERO:7 bikes we already
stock. It also can run 5" tires front and rear with tons of
clearance, moves to a 44mm head tube and press-fit BB for stiffness,
and has much-updated geometry compared to the Pugs. As you may
know, I like the Pugs geometry, but I was told the ICT is similar to
the Krampus, and I like that idea even better. Think modern
trailbike - quick rear end, stable front end, playful - and you'll be
close. These should be available in June or July, we'll have
some, and if you want one you'd better let us know, so we can pre-order
you one. I imagine the first run will sell out almost
immediately. Okay, next in line...
also released a new version of the Karate Monkey, called the Ops.
This bike takes the venerable KM, adds a 44mm head tube, a new modular
dropout system, a Fox fork, and a 2x10 drivetrain. For those of
you not into full rigid single-speed, this bike is the ticket.
The new dropout system means upgrading to a rear thru-axle is easily
done, and converting back to SS is also possible. Finally, this
bike has a super- sweet paint job: Translucent orange, through which
the welds and heat marks are all visible. It looks awesome.
Once again, we will have these on the floor once available, probably
sometime in April.
for kicks, while there, I signed up for a friendly little tire changing
competition. After the first day, it was apparent that a few of
us were really close. We each did a couple rounds, knocking the
times down by a second or two at a time. With only a few minutes
left in the comp, the time stood at 2:05, with my best time only a
second slower. I took one last run at it, and all those years of
race wrenching kicked in, leading to a finishing - and winning - time
of 1 minute, 51 seconds. Next to me in the photo is Bobby, from a
local Minneapolis shop, who claimed second with his 2:05. I knew
I had won some tools from Pedro's. What I did NOT know was that
it was a full-on master mechanic's tool kit, complete with race box,
worth about $800. I was (and am) stoked! What?!
Thanks QBP, thanks Pedro's! We'd been needing a few replacement
tools for Cody's workbench...
Frostbike was a great time, full of new products, educational seminars,
and best of all, new people from small indie shops all around the
country. I made a point to sit down at a different table for
every meal, to meet someone new and see how other folks around the
States are running their shops. I hope to make it back next year.
said, I was ready to get back to Colorado. I flew into
Minneapolis in a blizzard. The day I left it was 7 degrees with a
couple feet of snow on the ground, and it was a humid cold. I've
often been happy to see the Rockies rising up to greet me on the way
back west, but flying over the Sangres on the way into Durango just
made me, as ever, happy to live here. Get out there and enjoy it!
02.10.14 - The ECR is here... our new favorite touring bike Surly's
latest creation is here at last. The ECR is a wicked- fun combo
of the Krampus and the Ogre, making it extremely well- suited to
touring in some of the roughest areas you can imagine. Desert
touring? Tundra touring? 4x4 road touring? No
problem. This bike, however, isn't just limited to bikepacking or
touring. If you've been wanting a Krampus, but aren't stoked on
1x10 drivetrains, the ECR is complete with a 2x setup. The Jones
Loop handlebars are pretty sweet too. I really kinda sorta mostly
want one of these. What's ECR stand for, by the way? Escape
Common Routine is Surly's preferred designation - I like my own
Everyday Crushing Rig. Make up your own acronym! Whatever
you call it, this is a sweet bike for just about anything short of
launching doubles or winning the Iron Horse. Check it out next
time you're in our neighborhood.
we'd like to officially welcome Cody Wilkins on board as our latest
Velorutionary. Cody first came in here two years ago, and we've
kept in touch since then. The timing finally worked out and he's
now one of the folks you'll see here on a regular basis! Come say
hi sometime soon.
come on out this Saturday, February 15, for the final fatbike race at
the Nordic Center! Should be a good time... we'll all be
there. And yes, this does mean we'll be closed Saturday the 15th
for the race (any time there's a fun race to do, I'd prefer we all do
it rather than leave someone sad and lonely in the shop). Back on
Monday, as usual!
02.03.14 - A nifty little fatbike video The Herald's new web TV channel, 4CornersTV.com, featured Joey, VC, and the Nordic Center's fatbike races recently. As Cody would say, el sweeto! Check it:
01.31.14 - I love Freudian slips, but not junk from the internet Couldn't
help but laugh when I saw an ad, complete with a wonderful Freudian
slip, for cheap Chinese carbon parts served up on a cycling news
website this morning. This ad just captures what is wrong with so
many bike industry practices on so many levels, in such an
unintentional way. I added the frame and comments for fun, and to
get the point across a bit better.
UP TO 15%"! Fifteen percent of what? Average rider's
weight? Average rider's downhill speed? Fifteen percent of
the time? One thing's for sure - I won't be the guniea pig to
find out what happens when you hit 16%. Yikes.
obvious that this is just a translation error, but it brings several
things to light, not least of which is the questionable quality of the
parts coming out of the B- or C-level factories on the Asian
continent. Sure, there have been huge quantities of
decent-quality bikes and parts coming out of Asia over the last 30
years. But every time someone walks in with some eBay purchase
that was "a good deal", I can't help but think of all the ways in which
no, it wasn't such a good deal. If a person buys parts direct
from some small supplier in Asia, s/he is likely buying something that
is low-quality at best and downright dangerous at worst.
Particularly when it comes to carbon fiber parts, it's extremely
difficult to tell the difference between good and bad. Beyond
quality issues, it's easy to forget that low price doesn't just
magically happen - one has to externalize real costs to get
there: Environmental, social, and cultural. That person is
outsourcing jobs. That person is helping create an America where
we don't know how, or have the capability to, actually make
anything. Finally, in a lovely place to live like Durango, that
person is contributing to the demise of many of the reasons we all live
here - a unique town with a unique culture, not some strip-mall,
obvious that the American bicycle industry isn't about to stop
importing products from Asia. But you can help turn the
tide of strip-mall-ification by choosing high-quality manufacturers
that actually makes the things they sell in the same place they are
based. Better yet, just let the pros at your local high-quality
bike shop do their work and help you out, and ask them for US- made or
locally-made products. If you're in the right shop, you shouldn't
feel pressured and you should feel like the shop folks have your best
interest in mind. Here at VC, we obviously need to sell things in
order to stay open. But if a product just isn't right for you, we
aren't going to recommend it to you, plain and simple. Can we
beat the internet on price all the time? No way. Can we
beat the pants off the internet on customer service, knowledge,
enjoyment of experience, and actually having the product in front of
you? Hell yes. Will we still be here, helping make Durango
a unique and sweet place to live, in twenty years? Probably so,
but long-term it will depend on how Americans regard small,
knowledgeable retail establishments compared to faceless, anonymous,
internet commodity brokers. We've got your back - so far you've
got ours. Let's keep it up!
01.28.14 - Roller Races tomorrow! That's
right, folks - the annual Snowdown Roller Races are back. They're
happening tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5:30pm at the Steaming Bean, down the
street from VC. We hang out at the Bean pretty often (Cody's
partner Erica runs the place, and I like the vibe), but tomorrow should
be a little less mellow and a lot louder. Head to head racing on
rollers, cheering spectators, beer, and cowbells - it's like Belgium
except inside and, well, the racers aren't actually going anywhere. Nevertheless, it's pretty fun, and who doesn't like to watch Garrett (left) turn himself inside out year after year?
never race, partially because I'm never in shape this time of year but
mostly because I suck at riding rollers. True story. BUT, I
will be helping out, as I have in the past, with the technical
details. Cody will be there slinging coffee and beer for the
Bean. As such, we'll be closed Wednesday the 29th at 5:00pm. Back on Thursday morning as usual!
Come on down to the Bean and enjoy the show. See you there!
01.20.14 - Getting out there, kids and all A
Durango-dad customer of ours sent us this photo of his new Pugs Special
Edition, kitted out with a ski-equipped trailer for his young
daughter. If you have kids and you want to fatbike in the snow,
well, what's stopping you? These guys are having a blast up in La
Plata Canyon! Hmmm, guess this could work for dogs as well...
Happy MLK Day!
01.10.14 - A whole bunch of goodness Yes,
it's been a while since I've posted, and I have a bunch of stuff to
share with you all. First up - come on out to the Nordic Center's
second fatbike race tomorrow! The race starts at 11am, so be
there early to register and do some pre-riding. Fifteen bucks
gets you in, and we're providing prizes for the top three men and
women. It will be awesome. Oh yeah, we'll be closed Saturday the 11th for the race.
for the good
stuff - photos! This awesome photo from the Peruvian Andes was
sent to us by good friend Kurt Sandiforth. Kurt started in Maine
one year ago, aiming to circumnavigate the globe on as little pavement
as possible. To that end, he's riding a Surly Pugsley through
some of the most beautiful areas I've ever seen. When faced with
two routes, he likes to take the less- traveled one; sound like someone
you know? I probably won't bail to join him.
also sent us this photo of his old riding gear vs. the new... we just
sent some new threads his way. He certainly got the life out of
his first VC shirt.
doing this trip the good old fashioned way - that is, no deep
pockets. He rides until he needs cash, then works to save back
up. I respect that! You can check out his travels here. And keep an eye here for more photos from his journey!
Back here at home, we have this sweet photo from Stony Pass, outside of
Silverton. Amy Schwarzbach, a customer that just found
herself on a shiny new 9:ZERO:7 fatbike, took this photo and sent it our way. Looks like she's already got
the idea... that's probably higher than I've been on my fatbike this
year. I'm jealous!
up today's post, we have this pretty new frame to show off. Our
customer Patrick had us procure this beautiful Independent Fabrication
29er frame. Based in New Hampshire, the IF folks sure know how to
build a nice custom frame. This is one bike that will fit Patrick
like no other - made with a keen eye for his measurements and
understated example of American craftsmanship features full custom
geometry, custom tube wall thicknesses, super-slick welds, a 44mm HT,
rocker adjustable dropouts with 142x12 thru-axle compatibility, and the
satisfaction that comes with knowing you're riding one of the best out
Hope to see some of you at the fatbike race tomorrow. Ciao!
01.04.13 - Thanks, everyone, for a wonderful 2013! We
know, we know, the new year's begun already. But 2013 stayed busy
up 'til the very last second, so better late than never. A huge
thank you to all our customers for making this last year awesome.
A special thank you goes out to our local, repeat customers - we really
like getting to know people and to me, personal relationships are what
local business boils down to. We're all just trying to get by in
this beautiful little slice of the world, and one of the things that
makes Durango different from most towns our size across the nation is
Durango's strong local small biz communtiy. I'm not claiming
business is all that makes a place unique - but so far, Durango has
resisted the "strip-mall-ification" of America better than most other
towns of 20,000 people, and that has a lot to do with local
business. We appreciate all of you who realize the impact your
dollars have, and understand the difference between shopping at local
businesses vs. corporate chains. Rest assured that we, in turn,
do our part to recycle those dollars back into Durango. Thanks
again, Durango - looking forward to a wonderful, busy, and fun-filled