Happy Birthday Dharma Wheels Cyclery 2017

April 2nd, 2017

It’s time to celebrate – and not just for the fact that I’ve crafted a post for the first time since Thanksgiving. But its my shops birthday. Actually its not my shops birthday. Here is the story buckaroos….when I got to Park City to start my dental office at Kimball Junction before it was a total shitshow urban meltdown- I was kind of fresh off the “bike shop” train because I had just worked 8 years in a very cool, mom and pop, every kind of bike you can think of walks in the door, several 50 something mechanics, best service in Ann Arbor place that was founded in 1932.

And in case you think it was weird that I eventually put a dental office in my bike shop bike shop in my dental offfce, let me remind you that Campus Bike and Toy was a toy store and hardware store before getting into bicycles.
Anyway, when I began my S Corp for the dental side of things I was also wrenching for a local shop in town and freelancing my services to race teams and individuals. As my book of bike business grew I thought about building out a shop into the building I had purchased for Silver Creek Dental. Many reading this post know Troy Rarick and I asked him what he thought about my idea.
“Do it….Do something radical.” was exactly 100% what he said.

Just like any adventure – you have doubt, you wonder if its going to work, you run the numbers and are as honest with yourself about things. You do the best you can and give it 100%.
Thank goodness it worked.
The shop opened up in 2005 and many new patients had us work on their bikes before they let us work on their teeth. Its true.
In 2011, we acquired the Santa Clara property and signed the documents on April 1st. I’ve always liked April 1st for the cycling industry (Ibis was founded, WTB, many many others) but actually don’t care for April fools jokes.
So here I sit with dozen years behind us at Dharma Wheels and my how things change. When I started the shop, I never thought I’d have a computer in the work bench area – now I can’t imagine a work station without it. QBP catalog – the bible – the anchor – would never go away…..and now its not available in print form. Getting cycling culture from the internet – never in a million years – but its happening and this blog is a small bit of proof. For the better, SW Utah is building trails and a cycling culture. Up north, bigger corporations attempting to swallow up market-share and attention of customers. It will be its own post, but at the North American Handbuilt Bike Show in Salt Lake, I talked to many fellow shop owners as well as framebuilders and industry people about “the industry” and where its going.
That will be an ongoing commentary, and just one of the challenges of small business – adapting to change. But as Tommy Hurl always says, “I don’t fear change – I fear things staying the same.”
So raise your glasses and sing – “Selling what Dr Jon likes since 2005″

And a big thanks to my business partner/accountant/auto mechanic/interior decorator/legal advisor/chef/parole officer – the Kimstress.

Opening day 2016

November 27th, 2016

Well dear friends and comrades, it is my great pleasure to make sure that you know that ski season is upon us.

In the north of the great state of Utah, winter has come late this year. It has made for excellent fall riding, but a longing for the snow on which to enjoy the “vintersphorts” on.

Here is a pic from Ed from last month where snow was only to be seen up high.

Down “low” in the Salt Lake valley, there was cyclocross

Before I forget for another week, let me give the biggest of props to those who participated in the “largest shot-ski” event in the country which spanned the entirety of the main street of Park City.


In all the corporate mongering thats been going on, its nice to see a little local flavor here and there.
I’m preparing for when Vail asks if they can buy Dharma Wheels…..really the answer is simple.

While we’re on it, lets talk about shops…because they used to be the backbone of the bicycle industry. What is the backbone now you ask? That is for me to not know, and for all to speculate.
The fact remains that sadly, shops have been going under.
And here is another one by Bama.
Here at Dharma HQ, we embrace change….because we realize the simple truths…

Thank goodness I paid off my student loan in 2004.
My kind hearted life partner, Mrs. Dr. Evil and I were talking just today about the long journey it took to get the brands we have stickered on our front door(s) and shop trailer. And speaking of awesome brands, here is Ibis founder Scot Nicol who recently won the Grinduro.

Speaking of things that I can trace to 1989, which was when I first began the mountain biking….there was the distributor QBP……which actually started out of Steve’s Dads’ hardware store in MN. They recently have put the mighty print catalog to bed in favor of the electronic one but have created a retrospective.
QBP link HERE.
The “QBP Catalog” was the JCPenny catalog of the bike industry….you would order up the parts for the cutomers before they could just buy it on Amazon and then, borrow the catalog on a Friday night to make up your Christmas list of dreams for parts that you could never afford working at a bike shop.
Ahh, old times.

Thats cool, just remember, 1993 was only 10 years ago.

Alrighty, back to the serious stuff, it was wonderful to see the Ibis folks on some SW Utah trails the past couple of weeks.

Thanksgiving and cycling make me think of two things mostly….the Flight of the Pigs and the Appetite Seminar

Well, and the more I think about it, Scot also does a “steeps of San Fransisco” bike ride around the same time as Steve’s Hairnet ride

And with that we’ll close it out and I’ll get back to what I was doing.

Mud Season Post

October 23rd, 2016

This time of year in Park City is affectionately known as mud season….named for the lack of trail dryness that the cold weather and rain/snow showers bring. Its true, the days are hit and miss, and the uppers stuff becomes unridable…..but there are some excellent conditions that appear as well.

There has been some snow up high.

Personally, this time of year is OUTSTANDING for southern Utah…and here is a pic taken by the Mooseknuckler himself on the Kentucky Lucky Chicken trail.

So the summer season in Park City wraps up and come August, everybody is counting down the days until ski season.

September is “bike show season”. With Eurobike in Germany and of course Interbike in Fabulous Las Vegas.
From both shows, the highlight bike is the Moots Baxter.

This is actually a kind of bike that we’ve been doing for people for years……utilizing custom geometry. Its a bike that you can run my favorite 35 C width tires on….or 29″ tires as well. Suspension fork?…..you could do it. Drop bar?…..its possible. Fast enough to ride on the pavement, comfortable enough for singletrack.
People have asked by models like this haven’t come out in the past…..there really just isn’t that much demand…..bike fabricators don’t just put out there the stuff that they like….they put out there the stuff that sells.
Speaking of interbike, let me encourage you to help Steve keep Underbike alive and musically significant with Planes Mistaken for Stars. Go HERE. Also the animal on the cover of their album looks like one of my cats.


After the Interbike showdown…..Outerbike and the Red Bull Rampage always fall into line.

Cyclocross season is technically upon us, and I say it every year….I love cyclocross – its the only racing that I’m any good at here in Utah since there is little climbing and no velodrome. But I’d rather ride in the warm desert air than slug it out between mountain showers like these studs.

Has it really been that long?

July 17th, 2016

Last blog entry……28Jan? can that be right? I guess it it. Its been busy it always is but thats how it goes.
Let me explain….

The first part of the year is always busy with the highly intelligent people who make custom bike orders early, because they know that is takes 10 weeks to get a bike welded up…..then perhaps another few to allow for the parts to be “in stock” at the various distributors.
Take a look at this (Carl) Strong fat bike frame with custom painted front fork.

Nice, right?
Anyway, I was out of town for Feb and March doing some community dentistry for an underserved population in the rurals of northern California.
And then it was the end of ski season and the wait was on for the trails to dry out.

I know, I missed a lot of stuff….like the Winter Carnival of Steamboat

And the Hurricane and Fruita Fat Tire Festivals

Shit, I even missed the Squealer, which is a mega bummer since Jim and Kim had the final Flight of the Pigs this past fall.

Oh well, they live in Utah now, so I’m sure they have some cool cycling things in the works for these here parts.
May and June are BIG TIME sales months….and sales were good. Ibis led the charge, followed by Turner, and then Kona.
For small shops, you have better sold through your inventory before the 4th, because just around the corner, the larger retailers that loose money on bikes blow their inventory out.
Anyway, now that the sales season is over, I’ve got another dentistry adventure planned, so it’ll be another little while before I write again.
Thanks again to our loyal customers who support us, and just know this, in the past – and in the future, when a larger entity comes knocking with a purchase offer for my shop….the answer is simply……no.

Read the news HERE.
And enjoy my favorite part of the Park City Follies…..the Valiens!

Things Bicycle Companies Do Well

January 28th, 2016

Lets begin by talking about Kona – the best little big or big little bike company in the biz.

Bicycle sales will be going customer direct…in fact they already are….backcountry.com, wrenchscience, etc are all in your homes via the interwebs. Thats fine….innovate, adapt and overcome. Bike shops need to be prepared to focus on service before sales and thats always been our focus at Dharma Wheels – lucky us.

So Kona bikes loves bike shops…in fact, they have the class and professionalism to ask us if they are okay opening up competing shops in Park City and St. George Santa Clara. Of course, because we love bike shops, we said “absolutely!” lets work together to grow the brand in the area.

Kona has opened up a shop of their very own in the beautiful state of Washington, where I have been to take part in their product launch programs. They are also offering online channels to get the rider the correct parts. Does this hurt shops? Only shitty ones. Both dealers and customers can use the site and when done correctly, shops can still make money. Check it out. Konaparts.com

Okay, so Kona makes good choices, supports riders and shops and in general, has the best vibe in the industry…..check out their best selling bikes, the process line.

Kona Presents the Inaugural Process Challenge from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

In local news, Sundance is in town. Guess how I know?

I’m glad there is snow this year. I hear there is a lot of snow out East.

Its been warm and beautiful down south….and look, there are even some new features on the trails. Photo credit Lukas.

Let me share with you a photo from Chris King, whos parts I’ve been selling for 25 years.
When you own a fabrication shop, you can make ANYTHNIG……..A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Need a hinge….make it…..need a hasp…..make it…….need a tool…..make it.
Anyway, being a wheelbuilder, I love their fixtures.

Alright, well, if you’re in Park City, you should go to the unofficial Bikedance Event……and though Sundance is cool, its not as cool as if the Boss offers you a brewski

The New Year Post

January 13th, 2016

Well, its time for the New Year’s Post.
Lets start with a happy bicycle picture.

I secretly love christmas holiday cards that are sent to the shop. They hit me right in the feel goods. This is one from one of our distributors. As a traditional shop, I strive to support our supply chain even though I see more and more people bringing in their parts for us to install. And more and more, the parts are spec’d correctly.
Lets move on to a beautiful pic sent in by Zeke in IA that goes to show that there are no bad days, only under clothed riders.

Here is a picture of the reclusive Ibis snow fat bike.

This was sent in from the Oregon coast by Stanly Beaver and Nick Fucking Sande.

Its true, fat bikes are fun.
Lets get to some riding photos. Here is St. George, Utah.

And the road to the Pine Valley Mountain….also in beautiful St George.

In case you missed it….

Thats right.

And Stein Eriksen also merged with the universe.

Stein was my favorite skier. As many younger people did in Park City, I met Stein skiing. He loved skiing. He LOVED skiing. In the most basic way that surfers, motorcyclists bikers, cyclists or mountain climbers love their sport.
Stein was fast, he’d have crowds following him down the slopes and man……he was fast.
For those of you who read this but don’t know me well, I raced for Stein Eriksen Sport, the family’s sport shop. It was a 100% class operation. Didn’t matter so much if you finished first – though we did have some fast people…..but anyway, the Ericksen family provided support, money and motivation to us all and I’m forever grateful.
The sport of skiing grew because Stein was such a great ambassador. Always motivated, always competitive, always fun – that was Stein. He was able to get people to be excited about skiing just by being around him. Guess what, thats what the best bike people do.
Anyway, the ski industry was lucky to have Stein, Park City was lucky to have Stein and the stories that have been circulating around are living proof of a life well lived.
You may or may not know that Stein was a gymnast and much of his freeskiing was derived from gymnastics.

A group was talking about cosmetic dentistry and plastics and somebody asked Stein “hey, have you had any work done?” he replied “why would I have any work done, I’m Norwegian?”

Winning isn’t everything, but if your at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, take a look at the trophy case….you will then understand the meaning of achievement.

Next time your out there in the snow, take a turn for Stein.

XMess Blog

December 22nd, 2015

So much to share during the time of the holidaze. Its always a busy time….Lets start from the first thing I can remember top.

The day after Thanksgiving marked the 20th annual…and final Flight of the Pigs in Phoenix. It was a great time to be had. Jim and Kim Wilcox have hosted this event for people who are cyclists for 20 years and partially due to their move to Utah, the event has come to a close. Jim sent a fare well email stating that rather than pass the event along, that perhaps people would create their own ride. The FOTP’s was something special, something that was all day….and something 100% about the bicycle. One phrase – Thanks You!
Here is the final 20 year sterling silver stem cap made by Hoss Rogers jewelry.

And big thanks to my buddy Lance Runyan from my racing days at Stein Sport for turning me on to the Flight. Love you buddy!
For whatever reason, the Christmas season is always a busy time for the custom bike market.

Sometimes its a shame how nice shiny high end bits are hidden away in a BB shell.

But so it goes.
This was sent in by Paul Price, who you’ll see is a master at the art of deception.

In local news, the 2016 Tour Of Utah course has been announced.

Speaking of Utah, here is the Bob Trailer of Lucas, who was out there building new SW Utah trail.

Let me end with this custom Moots Frosthammer we just finished up.

Merry XMess to you all.

Images and Experiences

November 13th, 2015

Co-Owner Mrs. Dr. Evil and I were sitting around, drinking cheap beer and whisky and talking about how shops have changed. 25 years ago, shops were the hub (pardon the pun) of the industry. They were the link between rider and company. Today its the internet. People used to call us crazy to sell bikes sight unseen – and now its the norm to say “I heard on Pink Bike that this linkage is RAD!” and to plunk down $8K for a bike.
Thats fine. Part of owning a small business – whether its a bike shop or a dental office – is adapting to change and staying relevant. Dharma wheels started out as a service shop with one brand – Moots. I know, back then we didn’t even have Surly….or Chris King…..can you imagine?
Anyway, in beginning to look at the last year of business, we’re seeing more consulting and trip organizing that goes along with our regular and specialized service.
Well, its Fall in Park City and perfect in Southern Utah….lets look at some peoples experiences….
Lets start with Zeke, in the beloved Evil kit that I cherish so. In the great Midwest, its cross season.

Speaking of bicycle people, I’d like to show you Wick in his natural environment.

Lets get into inspiring ride photos. We’ll start with Park City.
And Eric Porter doing what he does best…..on Tidal Wave.


And another view of the Wasatch back.

Lets move on to Southern Utah and Guac.

And here is a favorite view of mine which is St. George from Owens.

Here are some excellent Halloween pics that people sent in.



And the obligatory Homie Fall Fest photo as well.

Thats a lot of bicycle action for one sitting, I better sit back in my camper and relax.

Can You Believe These Pictures

October 15th, 2015

We are the kind of shop that people who ride bikes shop at. It shows in the pictures that flood my inbox every week and more importantly the stories and experiences that people have on the bicycle and equipment we outfit them with.
Lets just get right down to it.
This is fall at Deer Valley. And the new trail, Tidal Wave. And its awesome!

Big thanks to Doug G for the pic.
Matt M sent this one in of PCMR.

Isn’t that just beautiful….make you want to get out there, huh?
And in Park City, you never know who you’ll see on the trail.

Lets keep it in Utah, but move to a Moab photo.

Recently, Outerbike was held. Its the premiere place to demo a bike, from one of the companies that we represent, or to just try something new. They have excellent food, beer, bands, nightlife, excellent ridining….and great people……with great hair.
In the high desert of SW Utah is Gooseberry Mesa, where Otto M (famous Park City Bar Owner from times ago) took this picture.

Another So. Utah pic, this one of Stucki Spring road….and the backside of Stucki Springs trail. By Cim C……owner of Gro Races. Cross registration and Frog Hollow registration are open people…..and those events are cool my friends.

Here is another picture of Gooseberry Mesa (the point) sent in from a Hurricane resident.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but Diamond Simon got hitched.

Here are Cheever and Gene O toasting MN or some shit like that.

I was sent a picture of former Surly employee Nick Fucking Sande riding in the sand.

Check out the Wednesday…..its nice in the sand, snow….or God forbid…..the trail.
This is the obligatory Whistler photo…sent in by KC.

And lastly, Paul had this contribution of his most recent Soulcraft.

Sean at Soulcraft makes a rather fine bike…We’ve sold them for years and I actually own one from the 90′s. Remember the 90′s?

And so thats that. In shop news, customs are happening and bikes are about 8 weeks out right now. Enve wheels are 30 days out (for us, 60 not for us). Look for shock and fork service specials in the new year….as soon as we catch up with current orders. Ride and Smile!

Interbike

September 27th, 2015

Its the end of summer. Its busy. Here is what is going on.
As you can tell by the title, Interbike is in the books- the annual trade show and gathering has come in and gone like a shower in the desert. It was a chance to look at the state of the industry, and the state of retail. And that is good, because retail, my friends, is dead.
That is why we are small, agile, adaptive….and focus on service….because lets face it, you can buy your parts for less than I pay on Amazon or Backcountry.
Woah, and if that bums you out, check out THIS.
Welp, as I said before, stay flexible my friends.
In good news, there is THIS from UDOT south.
But lets get to the big dance.
By the way, my favorite part of Interbike is the fact that some people go in costume.


Impressive, right?
So, first and foremost, the brains behind Interbike (Read Pat Hus) had registration available at Dirt Demo….meaning that we didn’t have to register at Mandalay Bay or drive to and from Bootleg Canyon just to get the show started. Great idea.
At the show, attendance was moderate……both by vendors and attendees. Many young mechanics come to the show to get free stuff and to shop for their next bike. That cool, they’ll grow out of it – or not.
At dirt demo, the only bicycle I rode was the Turner RFX. Its beautiful, it rides great, and it will help you shred if you are fast.


Another part of Interbike was the Ride 2 Recovery….which went from Bootleg Canyon to Lake Mead….the course formally known as the Hangover Ride.
While I prefer riding from downtown Vegas, this is also a great route – 12 miles down, 12 miles up.

Its super fun, and worth it…because of people like Chris.

Fancy handcycle, wouldn’t you say?
Well, after seeing friends and colleagues at the show, it was time to depart and get back to work.
Here is a great shot from Adam. He’s riding the backside of Bowhunter in upper Deer Valley.

And here is another great costume….”Radical RicK”