Denver is, by all measures, a city built for cycling. The trail systems and infrastructure are excellent. The nearby Front Range is a mountain biker’s playground. Even the mile-high elevation contributes to the appeal, helping the city consistently rank among the Top 10 fittest destinations in the US.
Look closely enough, however, and there’s a new pattern emerging; one fueled as much by computers and caffeine as it is by quads and Clif Bars. As its population continues to surge, new neighborhoods and an influx of tech jobs are beginning to steer the Denver cycling demographic away from its traditionally sport-centric base.
And for Adam Williams, owner of SloHi Bike Co., it’s a development that brings with it a promising new sense of community.
“Denver is already a mountain biking and road biking town,” he tells me from his popular bike-and-coffee shop on West 29th Ave. “Honestly, there’s no reason not to be. But with a lot more tech startups, you’re seeing more average riders looking to commute and avoid the traffic congestion. There’s a lack of retailers catering to everyday cyclists – those who are new to cycling or who just want to ride to work.”
So he’s set out to change that. Sandwiched between two unique neighborhoods in Northwest Denver, SloHi combines an artisan-style cafe experience with expertly informed bike sales and service. The result is a community hub that’s every bit as interested in your family as it is in your Strava profile. Probably more so.
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“I wanted to create a place that was more community oriented,” says Adam. “A place where people could come in, get a coffee, peruse bikes, and not feel like they’re being sold something all the time.” And besides, as he attests from personal experience, “the family crowd is a really cool thing.”
Don’t get the wrong idea; you’ll still find performance bikes for sale at SloHi, and a team of knowledgeable mechanics ready to put those thousands of dollars to the best possible use. Alongside these, however, is an even more robust selection of electric, cargo, commuter, and hybrid bikes, paired up with a fleet of high-demand rentals so your visiting friends don’t have to miss out on the ride
“It’s a very inviting place,” says Adam, with a sincerity that has earned his shop an almost-unheard of 4.9 stars from Facebook, Yelp, and Google reviewers combined. “Whether you want to rent a bike, buy a bike, or just find out where to go, we’re happy to help.”
As if to drive that point home, he recounts the story of a gentleman who recently called SloHi for information on where to ride in Vail – a Colorado mountain town roughly 70 miles west of Denver. “I ran through different shops and group rides to look at,” Adam says with a chuckle. “It feels good that people look to us for answers like that.”
As well it should. After a lifetime spent working in the bike industry, SloHi Bike Co. is an embodiment of everything Adam believes his city’s cycling community has been lacking. And if the shop’s success is any indication, Denver couldn’t agree more.