Finally, a bike shop in Town Center
For years Town Center Magnate Tony Mansour mentioned a bike shop when describing the types of stores he hoped to see on his main street — Town Center Boulevard. With the recent opening of Town Center Bike & Tri, he’s got a doozy.
Located in a high-visibility storefront, which is actually three retail locations spanning 6,000 square feet in two Town Center facades, the store is perfectly situated to become ground zero for local bicycle enthusiasts of every ilk.
Erin and Wilson Gorrell were already avid bicycle racers when they took the plunge in 2009, opening Folsom Bike at the far side of Folsom Lake Crossing. The store, which includes a comfortable coffee shop with wi-fi connection and outdoor seating area, quickly became a destination for riders working the network of trails along the river and lake.
Both stores offer a full line of bikes and accessories for the serious and casual rider. Erin also competes in triathlons, so she added competitive swimming products to the El Dorado Hills store.
For those of you who haven’t ventured onto two wheels lately, the latest generation of bicycles will make you wonder why you waited so long. There are now shock absorbers on the seat posts, a technological innovation that sore-butted bikers rank up there with air conditioning and satellite TV.
The Gorrells also offer a full line of comfort seats, and encourage customers to borrow one for a few days to experience just how kind a bike seat can be to an important part of the human anatomy.
The Town Center store has only been open for two weeks, but is already attracting buzz. “Families are coming in and groups of serious riders are meeting up here before and after their rides,” said Erin.
Town Center has the perfect vibe, and Erin thinks she got the perfect spot — a corner location right on Town Center Boulevard with window graphics on two side and back that depict the diversity of the bikes inside. Attractive window displays in the front convey the variety of experiences available on two wheels, from hard core road racing to beach cruising in flip flops.
The store carries inexpensive bikes for kids, as well as the full gamut of on- and off-road bikes for adults, including sleek, featherweight models for time trials and stage racing, some of which go for as much as $19,000.
Erin hosts a time trial every other Tuesday night along the little-used South Canal bike trail off White Rock Road just past Sunrise Boulevard in Rancho Cordova. She dispatches riders in 30-second increments.
The course is five miles and back, with timed results posted on the website.
Most Tuesdays she gets more than 75 racers. Many train with high-tech power meters that measure how hard the rider is propelling the bike. Town Center Bike & Tri carries power meters, heart rate monitors and other accessories that serious racers employ in their training regimen.
The store sponsors local bike club Team Evolutions, led by El Dorado Hills physical therapist and fitness buff Mike Berreta. “We share the same vision to get people on bikes,” said Erin.
But most customers are far more casual, and Town Center Bike & Tri has bikes for all of them.
Besides shock absorbing frames and seats, many of the mountain bikes now come with larger wheels, providing greater stability and a smoother ride. More and better gears make it easier to get up those hills, and let you train smarter, said Erin. “Self-trimming” electronic shifting dials all those gears in quickly and easily.
Town Center Bike and Tri carries bikes from the leading names in the business: Giant, Pinerello, Cervelo, BMC, Trek and Felt, with a full line of beach cruisers by Phat.
Felt Bikes founder and owner Jim Felt was present on Saturday for the grand opening party, as was Olympic triathlete Michellie Jones, the 2006 Ironman champion.
Erin was particularly happy that Jones could make it. “She’s a role model for a generation of competitive women athletes,” she said. “Women are flocking to triathlons and bike races.”
As are men – a ever-growing number of races often fill up quickly.
Seemingly endless variations of triathlons and bike races have evolved, including various lengths of swim-bike-run triathlons, with duathlon options for the water averse. Triathlons come in distances to suit the athlete: sprint, half, Olympic, half ironman and full ironman, many within the same event.
Racing options for bikers include on- and off-road options, short courses, downhills, cross country and road races of various lengths, including the shorter, more spectator-friendly “criterium” races like the one the Gorell’s hosted in Town Center earlier this year.
“The sport is booming,” declared Erin. “Coming out of the recession a lot of people stuck close to home and reinvented their recreational lives.
“Bicycling is something that couples can do together, even entire families,” she continued. “It’s always great to spend time with your family and also get a workout.”
She describes cycling as a lifestyle sport. “It’s low impact, so you can keep biking for years.”
The Folsom store has a successful rental program. Rentals will be available in El Dorado Hills later this summer.
Her family rides to work whenever possible, and encourages their employees to follow suit. The store even includes an employee shower to freshen up. “The whole reason we work in a bike shop is because we love to ride,” she said.
Town Center Bike & Tri is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m to 7 p.m.. Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The El Dorado Hills store is located at 4420 Town Center Boulevard and can be reached at (916) 941-0900 or visit tcbikeandtri.com.