Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Chat With Longmont's Long Mont Velo Bike Shop [Part 2]

As with part one of this chat, part two is also lengthy. In it we talk about a variety of things, including crashing on bicycles and plans for Long Mont Velo... as well as why they chose to split "Longmont" into "Long Mont." If you missed part 1, you can find it by clicking here. Then feel free to continue on here, or you can start reading from part two, if you are so inclined.

G.E.: Paul, I know you've had a few bike related accidents, but you continue to ride. Do you think bike accidents should keep people from getting back out and riding, assuming that they aren't physically injured/incapable of doing so?

Paul:  I guess my comment to that would be if you fall off a horse, you get right back on it.

Trudee: You're the worst example, Paul.

Paul: But, it's... it's just part of your life. Everybody asks me... It's not an uncommon question... people ask me that question, but... Why live your life in a bubble? I would rather be killed in an accident than lay around in misery.

Trudee: Are you talking about your injuries from commuting or from racing?

Paul: Well, my most horrible ones are from... well... I guess it was really a mixture. It was really a mixture of both. Frankly, I don't think it really matters. You could go right out here and trip and fall on the concrete and break your head open. I just don't believe in living your life in a bubble.
Trudee: I think there's a tipping point, too. In my second year, I crashed a lot, and I think part of it was inexperience and inexperience riding in a group, you know?

Paul: That's a lot of it.

Trudee: I wasn't a very strong rider.

Paul: Not knowing how to descend.

Trudee: Yeah.

Paul: Hitting your brakes into a corner where there's a lot of gravel.

Trudee: Yeah.

Paul: Do you remember that? That was out at Sunshine [Canyon].

Trudee: Yeah. I slid down Sunshine.

G.E.: Oh my gosh!

Trudee: One time I was riding by myself and I hit a bump, and I just went flying.

Paul: Yeah, it happens.

Trudee: I just didn't have a good handle on... Two times I crashed riding with a group, but I didn't hit a wheel. The guy in front of me hit the one in front of him and then...

G.E.: It dominoed?

Trudee: Yeah.

Paul: [laughing] And you rode over the guys back... twice.

Trudee: I trusted the guy I was behind, I just didn't trust the one up ahead, and so now I've learned to accommodate for that.

Paul: [To Sam] Did you have to answer all these question?

Sam: No.

Paul: I think you need to get in on these questions.

G.E.: Feel free to speak, Sam.

Paul: I want to hear your stuff too, Sam.

Sam: I... one time... I used to work off of 17th and Hover and I was commuting back and forth from way out from where we lived. And, at Hover right there, there's no bike lane, so I was riding the sidewalk on the opposite side. A dude pulls up - it was right there at that Safeway parking lot - he pulls up and stops. And I'm like, okay, we see each other. I keep going and he pulls up and, bam! I hit him. Just head over heels onto his hood, and I'm like sitting on the ground and he calls out, "Are you okay?" and I say, "Yeah, I'm alright," and so he just took off.

Trudee: [gasps] He just left?

Sam: Luckily it was a Saturn and it was made of plastic, so...

Trudee: But still...

Paul: Yeah, but your head isn't made of plastic.

Sam: I was wearing my helmet. I just crunched under and onto his hood. He was like... in two seconds he was out of there.

Paul: Yeah, because he didn't want you to... That's basically hit and run.

Sam: Yeah.

Paul: [Looks at G.E. for her stories of injury]

G.E.: I really don't fall over. I mean, when I've been out... Really, this is why I don't use clip pedals because the only time it happens is when I'm using them. I'm naturally klutzy anyway so when I'm clipped in, I forget that I'm clipped in and then I'm like mahhhh. But, one time I was out.... I was riding to Boulder and I hit that first signal where you come off the Diagonal [highway]... what is it? I think it's 30th? I was trying to turn around, so I crossed and then turned to come back this direction and as I was turning it was like the bike started teetering and I was like, 'I know there's nothing I can do," and so I just fell over. This guy was turning in the opposite direction and he yells out his window, "Are you alright?"

Paul: [laughing]

G.E.: I was like, 'Yeah, I'm alright,' but you know, my whole side was scraped up and bruised.

Paul: Yeah. Your ego is bruised.

G.E.: I just kept saying, 'I'm fine,' and I just wanted to keep going. Okay, Paul, enough about me. One of your more recent injuries kept you off the bike for awhile. How did you deal with not riding and did it make riding again more enjoyable?

Paul: Um, I was chomping at the bit the day after. I was pretty insane that week.

Trudee: He doesn't deal with that very well.

G.E.: So, has it made it more enjoyable now to ride, or is it just...

Paul: Yeah, yeah. It's just getting back to my normal routine again.

Trudee: Yeah, but for him it's like a mental release. It is. He gets stir crazy.

Paul: Yeah.

Trudee: Yeah. Even after a day or two of not riding it's like his skin is crawling.

Paul: It literally feels like my skin is crawling.

G.E.: So what are you going to do when you can't ride when you're running the new shop full time?

Paul: Um.

G.E.: You're going to find a way to ride, one way or another? 

Paul: I'll find a way... I'll find a way. Even if it's on a trainer.

G.E.: Let's see... Have your bike mishaps taught you anything about yourself or riding that you might not have learned otherwise?

Paul: That I'm not immortal.

G.E.: [laughing] You didn't know that?

Trudee: You thought you were.

Paul: [laughing] I sold my soul to the devil years ago. I think it's been refunded.

G.E.: [laughs] Do either of you have a favorite local ride or area to ride, or do you have a favorite organized ride or race?

Trudee: My favorite ride around Longmont is up Nelson and down St. Vrain. It is easy to get to from our house and it's challenging. I swear, there is always a headwind up Nelson! Otherwise, all of the mountains I have conquered with Paul are my favorites, and we have so many more on our bucket list.

Paul: My favorite local area is Boulder County in general - and I have ridden in a lot of places. My favorite climb is Flagstaff...

Trudee: Which is why we got married there!

Paul: My favorite daily route is to Jamestown. It's a quick up and back from our house - two hours, easy [G.E.'s note: Paul's definition of "easy" is certainly not my definition]. My favorite non local ride would be Palomar Mountain or Mount Baldy, both in southern California. Many people have suffered on those hills... a lot of suffering.

Trudee: [laughs] Me.

Paul: Yes, I meant that. These spots are my favorite because of the suffering on those hills - the relentless climbs. My favorite organized ride is RAC (The Ride Across California).

Trudee: Paul volunteered for 10 years in San Diego and will have to skip this year because we are opening the bike shop. Great, now we're both sniffling [thinking about missing the ride].

Paul: It is an annual, week long ride - 600 miles - from Arizona to the San Diego coast that's sponsored by a San Diego YMCA for sixth graders. Of course they have to train for it.

Trudee: Paul was the sole mechanic for about 120 riders every year and they camp along the way.

G.E.: Sounds... fun... and a little torturous. [laughs] Okay, so, Paul, I know you've done so in the past, but today, if you could go completely car free and realistically get where you needed to via bike, walking, or public transportation, would you do it?

Paul: Yeah, I would. I'd have to invest in some real, appropriate cold weather clothing. I think I'm pretty warm up to above 20-25 degrees [Fahrenheit], but after that it's like, "Uh, no man, I'm not..."

G.E.: I feel like that's kind of my threshold too, I think. It's when I get cranky about being out because your face, and your like...

Paul: [nods] Even the balaclavas and stuff... it just cuts right through ya. But, if it's sunny out... if it's cloudy and 25...

G.E.: It's different than 25 and sunny.

Paul: Exactly. Yeah.

Trudee: But, you're going to ride to the bike shop every day, right?

Paul: I will ride to the bike shop every day. I hardly even drive anymore.

G.E.: Trudee, what about you? 

Trudee: Can I do transportation?

G.E.: Would you, if you could realistically make it happen?

Trudee: Yeah. Yeah, I think I could. The only thing is like friends and family... and the real thing, I worry about a solution for the dogs.

G.E.: You need my solution! The bike trailer. 

Trudee: Can you do it?

G.E.: I don't know. We haven't actually tried. Sam fixed it so I can haul... I don't think I can take both of them because it's too much weight and there's not enough room, but I think I could take one at a time. 

Paul: I gotta tell you, I had a bike trailer for my dog because she was old and she had a lot of health issues...the trailer was 60 pounds and she was an 82 pound Pit Bull, and I had an old Specialized, steel frame, with down tube shifters. There was a lot of steep, short hills, and it put a lot of strain on... because... well, I had it hooked up to the skewers so it came through, but it bent the shit out of it.

G.E.: I know. Part of me is like, I need one of the box bikes...where I can just have them in the front and see what they're doing.

Trudee: Yeah.

Paul: I'm actually going to try to get them.

G.E.: [squeals with delight] Are you really?! Yay!!

Paul: Yeah. I'm looking at... there's a company in Denmark that I have all of their information, so I'm going to try. You can actually put a whole human up front and ride.

G.E.: I like the ones that you can change the configuration. You could have kids, or you could have groceries, or whatever. 

Paul: Yeah, yeah. This one you can buy the accessories or change things. I think next year we'll probably try and do that.

Trudee: That's my goal. Next year.

G.E.: That would be awesome! I want one badly! I think versus the trailer, in some ways it would be easier because... even without the dogs, the trailer is a lot and it's always that jerky motion of back and forth with the trailer.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah. I just... I wouldn't use a bike that you love to pull the trailer or that you can't replace.

Trudee: But, then I worry about, what if the dogs see a squirrel or something?

Paul: Well, you can have closure over the box.

G.E.: If you could have any bike in the world... dream bike... what would it be?

Trudee: I love my bike.

Paul: I would say that the frame I just ordered...

Trudee: My dream bike is a bike I can ride with my dogs.

Paul: I bought a Specialissima.

Sam: Oh, really? So, are you gonna build it up?

Paul: Yeah.

G.E.: I think I'm okay being slow.

Paul: I think that's where I get mentally.... like, if I had to ride a cruiser, I think I should be going like 25 miles per hour and not 3 miles per hour.

G.E.: Wait, I thought you were going to do cruiser rides at the shop. How are you ever going to do that? 
Trudee: But, I have to say, he is doing better with the women [the women's group ride]. He'll say he's going to sweep the back and then a few seconds later he's right next to me so I have to tell him to go back.

Paul: Well, you know, I ride up and then I go back. It'll be okay. I just have to ride a lot beforehand.

G.E.: You two recently got married. You're still starting relatively new cohabitation together and you've decided to open the bike shop. How did that come about and have you both lost your minds? 

Paul: [laughs] Yeah.

Trudee: My theory in life is go big or go home.

Paul: My theory in life is... uh... oh my god. [laughs]

Trudee: Whenever Paul is stressed or we bite off more than we can chew, I'm like go big or go home.

Paul: I think... when we moved out here... I had intentions of doing custom built frames, but that didn't pan out. When I was injured and going nuts... it started out like, well, let's just see where it goes and it just ended up going forward.

Trudee: But, the nice thing is that it's ours. You know, we didn't borrow money from friends or family, so it's ours together. And, we're complementary to each other.

Paul: And... there was a point where Trudee had a stern talking to with me because I was just mentally...

Trudee: He got stressed and so he just didn't do anything.

Paul: I just shut down. Mentally, I just shut down. We had signed a lease at that point, we had bought the bikes, and I was just like, I don't know if I can do this. Frankly, I still don't know if I can do it, but... I mean, really, I'm just winging this. But, what's interesting is that I didn't realize how well connected we are in the community. People may not know me personally, or they may or may not know my name, but they've heard of what we're doing. We haven't spent tons on advertising or anything, but it's nice to know that people are already looking forward to us opening up.

G.E.: It's nice that the word of mouth advertising has been a little more organic.

Paul: Yeah. My whole thing about this shop is, yeah, I want to make money to stay open, but we're not looking to get rich off of it. But, I'm really trying to drive the community to the heart of cycling, and if you're not into cycling, come in. Let's just talk and be part of the community as opposed to, 'Oh, what can I sell you.'  I... I'm just not a high pressure salesperson. If you wanna buy something, great! If you don't, eh [shrugs].

Trudee: But, yeah, it is growing organically. Erin, she rides with the ladies, she's... her kid is getting the dollar thing.

G.E.: What's 'the dollar thing?'

Paul: Oh yeah. So we're hooked up with the Boulder Valley... St. Vrain Valley School District. It's called a Trip Tracker. So, a kid commutes to school, walks, or takes the bus to school, they get a dollar for that journey.  Then, they can go to a participating vendor, or retail store and exchange the dollar for goods, and then they reimburse the retailer for fifty percent of it. You know, it's a loss, but I'd rather encourage people to bike or walk, and there's a limit per purchase. So, like, Ziggi's on 11th is part of it, and I think they have a $10 limit. But, I think it encourages kids, and it's elementary and junior high school kids, but not the high school. We're doing Pink Pedals too... Lauren Greenfield, she's a big advocate, and we're going to do a little bit with Bicycle Longmont. Oh, and Pati and Annette [two local friends/cyclists] want to do something for the homeless. They started a program where they're trying to find bikes, make sure that they're rideable and safe, and then they give them to the homeless people. They wanted to be able to give - I think it's through H.O.P.E.?

G.E.: That would make sense because they do a lot of outreach in the community. [Note: I have confirmed since that the program is in fact through H.O.P.E.]

Paul: So, basically what I'm going to do is donate time to inspect the bikes.

Trudee: The challenge for us is to be able to grow in the community and still be profitable.

Paul: Yeah. There's going to be a point where we have to say no. But, you know, Len's going to be working at the shop, and we have a part time kid we're going to hire, and we'll need to hire a mechanic. We're going to have to play it by ear. I think... from the response so far, I'm going to have to have somebody.

G.E.: And, I'm around... virtually all day, so if you just need someone to watch the place for a bit, I am available.

Paul: You know, I had friends in San Diego. Friends that weren't as genuine as the friends I have here. I don't think I've ever had...[trails off]

Trudee: I volunteer Sam for everything. If Paul gets something heavy, I'm like, "Oh, Sam can help with that."

G.E.: He will too.

Trudee: [Points at Sam] Not Trudee... Sam. [laughs]

G.E.: Seriously. I mean, he's not home during the week, but I am if you just need a body there to watch things or whatever while you run out.  

Paul: But, it's things like that. Back in San Diego I would never... Oh yeah, right, like someone's going to.... like you're just doing it to be nice...right. But, I honestly believe that I could actually, really count on a lot of people. Which is funny. It's just weird.

G.E.: But that's nice.

Paul: It is. But, I think it kind of goes back to the whole community thing. People, at least generally, are decent here. I have that distrust, but I'm learning.

G.E.: I understand that. I think I have a bit of city mentality still attached to me. I get paranoid about things not being locked or someone looking at me funny...or... I have a major paranoia about doors sometimes. 

Sam: Yeah. I'll lock the doors and she'll go back to check and make sure they're locked.

G.E.: I do! He'll lock it and I have to go back because I don't trust that he actually locked it properly - or at all.

Trudee: Yeah, Paul will say, "People just say that they'll help you, but they don't really mean it." And I'll say, "Yeah, they do mean it." So, he's learning.

G.E.: I get it. That's why I keep saying it. Whatever you need. If I am capable of doing it, I'm there. Okay, so how will your shop be different or similar to other local options?

Trudee: We want to be different. We don't want to be an elite, snobby, men's oriented bike shop.

Paul: Yeah, but I think what irritates me, even now when I go into bike shops, and I'm not gonna name... I mean, Cenna's is really great. I know him, but there's other shops I'll go into and I don't really feel like they want to help you. They are just there. I think when someone comes into your bike shop, you have to know what they ultimately want to do. Even if it's just that they're looking for a light.

Trudee: But, there's some people who want help fast, and some who just want to browse. To be open...[trails off]

G.E.: Well, we're probably the worst because we'll go into bike shops and know very well that we're there for no good reason other than to just look through stuff. 

Trudee: But, that's okay, you know? For me, you know, we want to have fifty percent of the floor for women. Women's bikes, women's apparel. We don't want to just have minimal selection.

Paul: You know, we're going to have to expand as we go with that, but we've got a good selection of every size range for women and men. There is a point though where you say I'd like to have this in the shop, but I don't know if we can afford it right now.

Trudee: And, we don't know what's going to sell yet.

Paul: But, we want to try to... you know, it may not work, but we want to try to do cruiser night, and...

Trudee: Yoga on Mondays.

Paul: We've already got somebody arranged. I don't think... I don't know if anyone else really does that. And, we're going to do a movie night.

Trudee: Bike movies!

Paul: We're probably going to lose our asses on it, but it's just part of it. We want to establish that though - that relationship so people feel comfortable to come and talk to you.

Trudee: We want to do some game nights. We have no idea what we're doing with this, but...

Paul: We're going to have a book library. Coffee.

Trudee: Kind of make it a hang out. Just casual, friendly.

Paul: I want people to come by, and want to come by - not just to buy stuff, but to come by and just talk.

Trudee: And, our art.

Paul: Yeah, the art... Yeah, [looks at G.E.] Where are you with that art anyway?

G.E.: Uh, we can talk about that later [laughing]

Paul: Where are you on that?

Sam: It's changed.

G.E.: We'll get into that later [knows she's been slacking severely when it comes to painting lately]. What services will you be offering at the shop?

Paul: Tune-ups, very full-service. Full retail. Bike fix...

Trudee: Road, mountain, cross, BMX

Paul: The mountain bikes... I mean, I'm not a huge mountain biker...

G.E.: That's why you have Sam around.

Paul: [looks at Sam] Yeah, I'm thinking maybe you can help me when we get going because... I mean, we ordered mountain bikes, but it's just - you now, what would you want to bring into a shop? But, maybe we can talk a little bit.

Sam: Yeah.

Paul: I mean, I'll need a little - some guidance with that. But, you know, I established with Dirt Labs, so you need a fork overhaul? Now I can...

G.E.: Send 'em that way?

Sam: I heard they're going to open here [in Longmont].

Paul: Yeah, yeah. So, he said, you know, just remove the fork, do what you need to with the bike, send the fork over to us and we'll have it done the next day and get it back to you.

Trudee: And, we're going to do The Pros Closet trade-in.

Paul: Yeah, we're hooked up with them.

Trudee: And then, hopefully...

G.E.: That's a really great program, actually.

Trudee: And hopefully for our own kids bikes we can do some kind of trade up.

Sam: The Pros Closet is really interesting... their whole business plan. I've watched them grow from that [trails off]... I've been buying stuff from them forever - they actually know me by name now. There's always some stupid part that I need and they have it.

G.E.: [laughs] Yeah, I'll go in to pick up something for Sam and they're like, "Oh, it's Sam, okay."

Sam: Right.

G.E.: I always know, whatever it was, it was the cheapest thing. Sam's a thrifty guy. 

Paul: [to Sam] Did you get that frame from them?

Sam: The one that I'm riding right now? Yeah.

Trudee: I sold one of my bikes with them because I didn't know what to do with it, and...

Paul: Yeah, she had a really nice Merckx. Really nice. If it had just been a little bit bigger I would've kept it for myself.

Trudee: Yeah, it was just too big for me.

Sam: I'm always like, if it had been a little bit smaller... All the bikes we've had.

Paul: Yeah, that Merckx was a nice bike.

G.E.: Speaking of ... which brands do you plan to carry?

Paul: Well, Bianchi is the primary, or main tier. Then we have KHS and Free Agent. For clothing, we're looking at Panache, SheBeest, Pearl Izumi, Louis Garneau - they are the main clothing. Blackburn, Giro helmets, Bell helmets...and then Topeak.

Trudee: And, again, we're trying to figure out the market.

Paul: Shimano will be the main [for components]. Eventually... I mean, if we get big enough, I'll probably carry some Reynolds wheels.

Trudee:  It's a tough market though because there are so many brands! There's a million brands and everyone... sometimes, you know... I have a Giordona kit that I like and then I have another one that I hate.

G.E.: Right.

Trudee: So, it makes it hard. And then, you know, I want to have Brooks saddles, but then Paul said in the shop he worked in they didn't sell very often.

G.E.: Well, and I think that's the thing... even with selling women's clothing... if you don't have the people coming in to buy it, then...

Trudee: It's such a catch-22.

G.E.: And then women are like, 'But, I can't buy it anywhere...'

Trudee: Right. So we decided a lot of the stuff we're going to carry and kind of sit on, but just to kind of help us figure it out. And then, for women and commuters to carry stuff...

G.E.: Like panniers and baskets...

Paul: Yep, we have panniers. We're going to try this company, it's called Koki & Vaude from Germany, and we're going to get the little saddle bags from Koki. Then Vaude would be like hydration packs... and then, we're thinking about winter.

G.E.: But you have a little time to prepare for winter sales, right?

Trudee: Well, and the goal is to be flexible, too, right? So, we can learn, and grow... and adjust.

Paul: And then some of the companies are just really tough to deal with. Some, I've sent multiple applications and then they just don't respond.

G.E.: That's got to be frustrating.

Trudee: It's a tough part of the industry.

Paul: I spend... just hours contacting these people...

Trudee: And, they're just flaky and don't respond.

Paul: It just pisses me off to the point where I feel like, you know, I don't need you. But then I'll think, well, you know, I have to carry things that people want.

G.E.: You'd think companies would want to get their product out there, but...

Trudee: Right.

Paul: You know, and then there's like SheBeest... they've revamped their whole line. To me, call me what you want, but I think it's one of the best looking lines out there. Just the way they've designed it. It's just pretty.

Trudee: We don't think we're wrong with going with SheBeest because there are shops back in San Diego that are going with them too.

At this point, Paul gets up to grab a drink and asks if anyone needs anything. Admittedly, I've had them sitting for quite awhile now. He asks Trudee if she'd like some tea and asks both me and Sam if there's anything we need. He runs down a list of things we might want and after we've refused everything makes a joke about marijuana. He laughs, and I laugh, responding that I keep forgetting that it's legal here in Colorado now.

Sam: [smiles] It's legal... only when driving, right? [Sarcastically] Everyone... get in your car and light it up. [Note: We see a lot of this - people getting in their cars and smoking. You can smell it emanating from vehicles which is quite disturbing. And, just as a personal disclaimer, while I did support the passage of legalization and don't have a problem with people smoking, I do not personally use and it absolutely scares me senseless to see people driving impaired - in whatever form that comes.]

Trudee: Isn't that terrifying? That's what I didn't like about it is the whole driving impairment idea.

Sam: Constantly. I'm going to work and...

Trudee: You can smell it.

Paul: Yeah, I'll go riding by and it's like, oh, yeah, there's someone smoking out.

G.E.: Okay, I suppose we should get this back on topic, but it is upsetting to see people that are clearly under the influence - especially when I'm on a bike. I know we've kind of talked about this, but what type of rider will the shop be aimed at bringing in?

Paul: I mean, yeah, all types of riders - road, mountain, BMX, commuter. Personally, I'd rather be the women's cycling shop, and new - beginner - riders.

G.E.: You've kind of touched on this also, but just to be clear... If someone were to happen into the shop looking for a brand that you don't have a relationship with will you be open to local suggestions? 

Paul: Absolutely.

Trudee: And that's the hard part of opening is that we have to figure out that balance.

Paul: And, you know, if I don't carry it, I will absolutely send someone right to the shop that does carry it. I don't have a problem with that.

Trudee: But, we also want to figure out what people want, what the community wants and what works.

Paul: You, you just can't carry everything.

G.E.: No, I wouldn't expect that anyone would think that. 

Paul: Sometimes though people just don't know that there's these smaller companies out there and they may very well make a better or more usable product than something that is better known. Sometimes people are willing to spend a little more, to, you know...  But, if it's something I can't get or I don't carry, I don't have a problem telling someone to go to another spot. If it's something I can get, and you may just have to wait a little bit, I can order it, or I can direct someone to that other location.

G.E.:  What about other stuff in the shop? Anything other than bikes or accessories that you plan to carry?

Trudee: Yes! We have knickknacks that will be available.

G.E.: Knickknacks?

Trudee: Have you heard this story?

G.E.: No. 

Trudee: Paul says, "We are not a knickknack store, Trudee!"

Paul: Yep. That's pretty much what I said... but, then I kind of warmed up to it.

Trudee: Because I have more of the female perspective...

Paul: Well, in the beginning you weren't really offering your perspective, so when you said "knickknacks," I thought, knickknacks?

G.E.: So, when you say knickknacks you mean small things for bikes, or...

Paul: Bike related type...

G.E.: So, stuff for the house?

Paul: Yeah... coffee cups, little bags... like, little entry rugs...

Trudee: And then I got little gift bags with bikes stamped on those. Little cards so you can grab a [present]...

Paul: But, that's the whole thing... from a woman's perspective... I would've... if I was going to buy something for Sam, I'd just give him the derailleur - just hand it to him in the box. But that's a guy... I really just didn't think about it. But, some women - or men - will come in and think, 'Oh this is cute, let me get it for so-and-so's birthday.' And, then it's like this nice little gift. It's a little different perspective.

G.E.: That's cool. I like that.

Trudee: And then the art...

Paul: The art.

G.E.: I think that's so awesome that you're going to put up art - support local artists.

Paul: [Points off to a corner of the room] Did you see that...

Trudee: Oh, my sister-in-law, she made this for me... and she's doing a bunch. I sent her a picture of my bike, and she... [hands G.E. the glass art].

G.E.: Oh wow... that is so cool!
Glass Art interpretation of Trudee's road bike
Trudee: So, she's going to do glass art. And, she's a teacher, so it's an outlet for her. And then, someone had a little bike charm, so we'll have that - like little jewelry. We're going to get some other art from some other [clears throat and stares at G.E.] local artists.

Paul: Do you know Stephanie Hol[trails off]... she lives just down the...what's that art community... that was just out?

G.E.: Oh! The East Boulder County Artists.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah, so she's part of that and she's going to put it out to other people that may have interest. It doesn't necessarily have to be bike related, but I'd like to see... you know.

Trudee: But, even for you [looks at G.E.]... just the happy places that we ride.

Paul: Like those pictures you...

Trudee: Yeah, Paul loved them [Note: I was asked to take some photos of Longs Peak for the shop]. We like the red barn one.

G.E.: [laughs] I keep telling people, 'I'm not a photographer... stop asking me to take photos ...' having a camera does not make a person a photographer.

Paul: You did a good job.

Trudee: Yeah. It goes with the theme... why we're here... something that makes you happy when you're riding.

G.E.: So, where can locals or visitors find the shop?

Trudee: We're at the corner of 11th and Francis Street. We wanted it to be in a bike friendly location. Downtown and the mall are too hard to park and run in, or bring your bike by.

G.E.: I'm just happy it's so close to me.... selfish one that I am. [smiles] And the name of the shop?

Trudee: Long Mont Velo Bike Shop

G.E.: Why did you separate "Longmont" into "Long" "Mont?" Why make it two words?

Paul: Well, you know... Velo is French for bicycle. And, Longmont is named after Longs Peak, [Which was named by Major Long - Supposedly the first to spot the mountain peak on a U.S. expedition through the Rocky Mountains]... and "mont" is French for mountain. So, we just thought we'd make it a little more French and separate Longmont into Long Mont.

G.E.: So, the million dollar question: When will you be open?

Trudee: Well...

Paul: I don't know... late, late May. 

Trudee: You think? By May 21?

Paul: Gonna try.

G.E.: So, in time for summer?

Paul: It will be before June. It will... It will be before June.

Trudee: You sure?

Paul: Mm hmm.

Trudee: In our lease we said April 15.

Paul: No, in March - March 15. But, there have been delays with everything. It's nothing to do with us... it's just... It's what stresses me out. There's a lot tied up in this.

Trudee: We're vested now... and we're late.

G.E.: How about shop hours?

Trudee: Well, we have them on the website, but we may try out being open 7 days a week this summer since we're getting such a late start... we'll see. But, we don't want to go crazy and end up divorced either.

G.E.: No, Definitely not. That would be bad.  

Trudee: So, Monday, and Wednesday-Saturday we'll open 10a-6p, Sunday 11a-4p, and we'll be closed on Tuesdays.
Toward the end of our chat, Trudee pulled out a bunch of catalogs for us to peruse. Everything from different clothing and bike accessories to the knickknacks we'd been talking about earlier in the afternoon were on display. These two are really excited to start this new adventure, and it's more than apparent that they want to have items that represent the community and what we - as locals - would like to see in the shop.

I also got a clear picture that they want this to be a hang out and that they want anyone to feel comfortable to come in and ask questions. Having seen the exterior of the shop space in person, it isn't the largest retail location, but they have big plans, hopes and dreams, and they are ready to listen to thoughts from customers. A bit surprisingly to me, they even have the intention of carrying plus sizes in cycling clothing - something that is so rare to find in any bike shop. I have high hopes for these two and Long Mont Velo. I hope the community continues to support them and that it's all that they've planned and more. If you're local or traveling through the area, stop in and see them. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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