Sean Gilligan is no stranger to the world of cycling. He's indulged a passion for biking his entire life, riding both recreationally and competitively and passing many an afternoon in local bike shops. It was in these shops that Sean first grew dissatisfied with a pattern of cookie-cutter-like service and cluttered storefronts that felt impersonal, like an attic full of someone else's stuff. To rectify this, Sean opened Estelle Bicycles, an intimate shop that stocks high-end bikes from BMC, BH, and Marin and offers friendly, personalized service.
Instead of immediately whisking away mangled bikes to the service department, technicians examine roadsters with their owners and rattle off options for repairs. Clients can modify the service level, resting assured that they won't return to a behemoth bill at pickup. The mechanics administer similar care to patrons shopping for a new ride by using the 3-D Retul fitting system. During fittings, the experts affix LEDs to pedaling customers, which transmit signals to a computer that maps out the rider's activity in 3-D. Staffers then pore over the movement patterns before guiding visitors to the ideal cycle.
At The Denver Fly Shop, masters of fly-fishing's elusive art lead classroom instruction, field sessions, and guided trips with a proficient grasp on the sport's intricate ins and outs. Through classroom sessions, the crew teaches students how to tie essential knots and how to mimic the movement of insects. They also offer in-depth knowledge on locations where fish have been known to hangout and mingle with delinquent trout-school dropouts. Their casting lessons familiarize anglers with their gear during two-hour sessions that take place indoors during winter months and on the banks of Smith Lake in Washington Park when spring sets in. Once their intro lessons are complete, students can put their newfound proficiencies to the test during guided fishing trips to some of Colorado’s most abundant waterways.
There is also a comprehensive fly-fishing shop with over 3000 different fly patterns to complement fly fishers' ventures beyond their intro lessons. Guided tours are also offered to explore the area.
At age 19, Kendra Rostvedt set out to sell snowboard gear out of a storage closet. She opened her first bona fide retail shop in 1998, operating under the ethos that boardsports should remain accessible to anybody who wants to try them. Today, the walls of Thrifty Stick Boardshop are lined with longboards, snowboards, and skateboard decks. Skaters can peruse seasonal apparel from more than 50 brands—including Gnu, Volcom, and DC—or bring in equipment to the repair shop, where technicians tune up skis with hot wax and fasten wheels to busted hoverboards so they won't be completely useless.
At Mojo Wheels, people soup up their steel stallions with high-performance mountain-bike equipment and garb themselves with protective gear and clothing in brands such as Fox, Hadley, and Atomlab. Alert oncoming sherpas or feral theater ushers to your approach with the Blackburn Light Voyageur 2.0 ($16.99) or replace worn brakes with a fresh set of BrakeAuth Disc Brake Pads ($18.99–$29.99). The on-site staff also services sickly cycles—building wheels, assembling custom bikes, and mentoring suspensions. Mojo Wheels sponsors a 60-person racing team that competes in races across the continent.
Game-Set-Match, Inc. caters to tennis players with speedy racket-stringing services alongside a sizable inventory of court-friendly apparel, equipment, and accessories. United States Racquet Stringers Association–certified stringers thread frames with a wide assortment of single-filament, multifilament, and blended strings. Every racket revitalization is finished within 24 hours, letting players return to lobbing volleys, aces, and misdirected pigeons in no time. Meanwhile, the tennis center's shelves abound with gear from brand names such as Babolat, Dunlop, and Adidas. Stock courtside armories or a canine birthday party with an armful of Wilson Grand Slam tennis balls ($7.99 for a three-pack), or don a Nike hat or visor to block the sun's angry glare from your serving motion ($15–$20). Court connoisseurs can also apply this Groupon toward a higher-value item, cutting the cost of a durable Prince EX03 tennis racket ($199.99) or a fashionable Whak Sak tennis backpack ($79.99).
Are you ready to shred the gnar? How about your gear? Shake off the summer's accumulated pollen and aphids because today's Groupon polishes you up for the slopes and keeps you slippery all winter: $45 gets you a ski or snowboard Overhaul Tune, plus two hot waxes with finish at Confluence Kayaks. The Overhaul—the veritable Cadillac of snow-sports tune-ups—normally retails at $49 and includes: