New bike shop in town
December 16, 2003
It’s not true that Frank Mitchell of Moontime Cyclery has been in the bicycle business since the invention of the wheel.
But if you buy a bike from him, he says he’ll stand by it until something better than the wheel comes along.
“I spent 15 years working for other people and making them money,” says Mitchell. “Now it’s time for me to run my own shop.”
Mitchell has been doing this since the Earth began to cool. He started working in a bike shop right after high school. Like most folks in most industries, he tried a few times to get out, but it kept pulling him back in like a tracking beam in a science fiction movie.
“There’s no substitute for loving what you do,” he says.
Mitchell worked in shops all over the Vail Valley and other parts of the country for several years, learning everything he could, filing away the good ideas.
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“I’ve taken what works at different places and incorporated it here,” he says.
That’s why Mitchell isn’t pretentious – and won’t allow it in his shop or his house.
“When you walk in the first thing you see is the service area,” said Mitchell. “If you want to sit down at the counter and watch the mechanic work on your bike, you can do that.”
The shop recycles everything that can be recycled, even the cleaner. Moontime Cyclery, for example, has Colorado’s only ultrasonic parts cleaner. No solvents, Earth-friendly, everything biodegradable. The mechanics heat all the parts up to about 130 degrees, then vibrate and sandblast everything clean. The solutions are safe to run down the drain.
Moontime Cyclery is a small shop. Three people work there right now, with room to grow.
“Everyone knows what they’re doing. I can’t have someone tell a customer that they can’t do something, or that a part can’t be ordered,” Mitchell says.
“If we say we can do something, we do it. If we say we can’t do something, we usually stick by that.”
Mitchell was chasing rainbows when the bike shop owner for whom he worked before called saying he was ready to retire and that Mitchell should come on back and take over. That didn’t work out, but the idea of Mitchell running his own shop wouldn’t leave him alone. He nailed down a business loan and opened his doors.
There is no shortage of ways to find enlightenment in this world, but there’s nothing like a woman who fits.
“I don’t think there’s a bike shop in this valley that women can walk into and be treated fairly,” says Mitchell. “They walk in here and they can walk out with something that works for them.”
Moontime Cyclery can accommodate all price points on any bike, and Mitchell says any price point is pointless if the bike doesn’t fit.
“The fit is the thing,” says Mitchell. “It doesn’t matter if you spend $5,000 for a bike. If it doesn’t fit it’ll never be right.”
Fitting women for bicycles is worth rising to the challenge.
“Some women can be very difficult to fit for a bike,” says Mitchell. “We have women come in here all the time telling us they can’t get comfortable. That’s because they went somewhere and bought something from someone who just wanted to get their money and get them out the door.”
If the right fit means a pricey bike, Mitchell will be honest about it. If it means a $100 Huffy, he’ll be honest about that, too. Eventually, you’ll be back to have that bike fixed or buy another.
“We don’t have a predisposition toward anything,” says Mitchell. “If someone brings me a Huffy, I’ll work on that as well as any titanium bike.”