“I feel like I am growing my bike family:” How Elevation Cycles supports their customers and the community
With four locations in the Denver Metro area, Elevation Cycles aims to serve the bike community around the capital and all around the state. And, as a Business Member of Bicycle Colorado, they are proud to support our work to make Colorado a better place to ride. We recently spoke with Nadine Stein, General Manager at the Highlands Ranch location, and her friend and Elevation customer, Mary Gonnerman, about growing confidence as a bicyclist and how Elevation Cycles helps support all kinds of riders in the community.
A few years ago, Mary Gonnerman walked into Elevation Cycles to get a bike. She had just been through cancer treatment that left her feeling weak and with balance issues, and wanted to gain back strength and confidence. “I trusted [the employees’] judgment because I didn’t know anything about bikes or what I should get, or size or gearing or anything. So when I went in, I told them ‘I’m new to this’ and where I wanted to be riding, and Ryan [store manager at the time] recommended a specific bike which worked great for what I needed.”
Nadine Stein, General Manager at the shop’s Highlands Ranch location, says listening to customers is a central part of the Elevation Cycles ethos. Elevation Cycles team members know that working at a bike shop is about helping customers to connect to the bikes—that it’s about the people first. Nadine observes that in the age of online shopping, “what sets you apart and what really makes you a valuable part of your community is being able to provide more than just a physical thing.”
At Elevation Cycles, it is about supporting a person once they have bought a product, too.
For Mary, that meant guidance when she “upgraded” to different bikes that fit her developing riding style and frequency, and friendly encouragement and challenges on social rides—pre-pandemic—led by Elevation Cycles staff.
Elevation Cycles is a part of the community
Nadine calls the social rides “nurturing rides.” Participants include new riders, families and people riding all sorts of bikes including eBikes. Elevation Cycles staff and more experienced bicyclists in the groups help each other learn how to shift gears confidently, names of bike parts and basic bike maintenance. Nadine explains that some participants move from the social rides to local cycling clubs and racing teams. “And so it progresses. We’re building that cycling community as well.”
Nadine says a number of residents of the nearby Windcrest Senior Living Community are customers of Elevation Cycles, too. Elevation Cycles also helps get bikes to people by partnering with Project reCYCLE as a collection point for old bikes destined for donation.
Bicycle Colorado’s Learn to Ride program is hosted in several different locations in the Denver metro area, including the parking lot of Elevation Cycles-Highlands Ranch. Though the program is on hold during the pandemic, Nadine is deeply fond of Learn to Ride and gets excited seeing young people and adults learning to ride bikes for the first time. “That joy, you recognize it instantly. It’s like, yes, another rider. Welcome to my world.”
Getting the most out of your local bike shop experience
As somebody who was an inexperienced adult rider just a few years ago, Mary’s advice to build confidence as a bicyclist is to ask questions, learn some basic bike maintenance like how to change a flat tire and to get together with people who are more experienced and ride with them. Mary’s ride partner is often Nadine, store manager turned dear friend. Mary says, “Nadine and I have ridden together enough that she knows better what I can do then I know what I can do. She pushes me and encourages me.”
Nadine suggests before entering a bike shop that you think first about where you see yourself riding, and make sure to communicate that to the person receiving you in the bike shop. “If you can tell them, ‘I want to ride the High Line Canal’ or ‘I’m never going to ride on a dirt surface’ or ‘I want to commute,” Nadine says, that will help give bike shop employees an idea of what bike would be ideal for your needs. She notes that the bike won’t be your only expense—you may want to buy a helmet and some tools or accessories that will help your ride be safer and more comfortable.
Mary is grateful that she chose to re-discover bicycling through Elevation Cycles. “I just felt so supported and encouraged by their excitement and their knowledge. It’s a great group of people, a great circle of friends, a bike family.”