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.
LoDo Spokes owner Justin Spencer could likely tell you anything you want to know about bicycles. He's spent well over 15 years in the cycling industry and encountered all forms of the pedal-driven vehicle, even the kind Ben-Hur and Messala used in their famous bicycle race. But he won't try to sell you a new bike. Instead, he wants his customers to be happy with their current rides.
A look inside LoDo Spokes' brick storefront is like a glance into Mr. Spencer's bike-filled mind. In this space, Mr. Spencer and his team true wheels, change brake pads, and install new cables for brakes and gears. In most cases, they can tune up bikes the same day. In addition to possessing a dearth of bike knowledge, Mr. Spencer's and the crew are well versed in tuning up skis and snowboards, ensuring that all equipment is finely tune and ready to tackle the freshest powder of any season.
On historical Old South Gaylord Street, you can see the seasons change by looking at the leaves on the trees or the stock in Gary and Mark's shop, open since 1980. In winter months, the dual owners of Sports Plus deal in new and high-quality consignment skis, snowshoes, and hockey gear, whereas summer months bring out inline skating, cycling golf, and tennis gear. The shop also saddles up adults and children on hybrid, mountain, road, and fixed-gear cycles in makes such as Raleigh, Diamondback, and Sun. The sharp-eyed staffers also tune and repair, readying each used bike before a sale and keeping rides faster than the Flash’s treadmill with onsite tune-ups and flat fixes. Though not included with this Groupon, a menu of services helps sports enthusiasts evolve into stars; it includes ski repairs, skate sharpening, racket restringing, and more.
Ducking behind a rusty old car, the paintballer peers through the windshield as he preps his next move, knowing all too well that opponents lurk behind the barrels and old cars littering the rest of the 65-acre outdoor field. Meanwhile, at an indoor facility, players traverse an astroturfed airball field or weave their way around a scenario field's walk-in tanks and barricades. Elsewhere, the pro shop equips competitors with gear ranging from name-brand markers to bulletproof easels. In the coming months, American Paintball Coliseum plans on enthralling visitors anew by renovating its outdoor location into 14 different playing fields, adding a concession stand to its indoor facility, and adding a laser tag option to its fields.