August 29, 2009

Photo tour: A Walk through University Bikes, Boulder, Colorado.

Photo tour: A Walk through the number one bike shop in the number one bike town in the US of A.

Quite possibly the best bike shop on planet earth, U Bikes has received every bike dollar me and my staff and friends and ex-girlfriends have spent in the last 10 years. Why? They don’t advertise, they don’t buy my love (though it is for sale). They walk their…er, bike their talk. They’re craftsmen of the bicycle, the

most efficient, perfect invention known to humankind

and they’ve always supported me and elephant back with amazing, quick service, great, patient advice and great deals. But most importantly, they love the bicycle. They’re not in the bike business: this is their spiritual path, I’m telling you, their craft; it’s just what they do. U Bikes has been around forever, and they’re a great part of the reason Boulder has such a strong bike culture (we’re consistently named number one bike-friendly small city in entire country, though if you ask me that award should wait until there’s a bike path on every major thoroughfare, would be a helluvalot less car/bike accidents). And U Bikes is, in some way, probably the bike business inspiration—the reason there’s so many other great racing and mountain biking and ordinary bike shops in a town with almost as many successful bike shops as yoga studios or cafes.

The other day, I was in to get something small fixed (for free, since I bought my Masi there), and my ladypal was getting her basket fixed—by Our Founder Doug Emerson himself, who happened to be in. Waiting while Dough battled the recalitrant bike basket, I wandered about the store, with the help of an employee or two (they’re everywhere, Doug must employ half the young men and women in Boulder), snapping poorly lit, flashless, oft shaky iPhotos. While these photos aren’t worthy of their subject, they’ll give you a hint. Check it out yourself if you’re in town—it’s a collection that reflects a life in bikes. Wooden bikes. Kerosene lamps. Skirt guards. Posters the size of Shaquille O’Neal. Race bikes, that’ve been in the races. An electric bike from back-in-the-day. Pins from old-timey bike conventions.

So, without further…here’s a photo tour of founder Doug’s unbelieveable, should-be-a-internationally-renowned-bicycle-museum-based-in-Boulder-soon bicycle collection. I literally captured about 1/5th of what he’s got in there—I didn’t even begin to capture the paraphernalia, jerseys, posters, pins, and bicycles themselves.

Click the photos to see ’em big:

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