Group Ride: the MCC & University Bicycles

The Mobile Cycle Club spent a good amount of time in Colorado earlier this summer. The Iron Horse Classic in Durango was initially the centerpiece for their stay and the good people of that small town did wonders at welcoming Ben and Ryan into the fold. However, with that elevated town behind them (it sits somewhere around 10,000 ft.) they headed toward nearby Boulder. The riding in and around Boulder, if you have not noticed the sheer number of professional athletes who keep close proximity, is ideal at nearly any time of the year. Every resident of this small mountain town has no problem sharing their town’s worst kept secret — that Boulder gets something close to 300 days of sunshine per year — a fact that was no more apparent than on our morning rides with University Bicycles.

Located at the far end of Pearl Street, the pedestrian street filled with ice cream shops and clothing boutiques, sits one of our Retail Partners — University Bicycles — which is where, at 6:30 am on a Friday morning in June we find ourselves searching for a shot of espresso. This is only slightly humorous because we have the largest mobile espresso machine this side of the Mississippi with us at this very moment. However, that grey beauty still takes time to set up and time is not in our favor.

As the sun rises it is quickly apparent that we will be shedding layers as we go. With the help of Josh Cook we have found the “Ubikes” crew and are at the start of their Friday morning ride. It is initially hard to tell if all the people on the ride are actual employees of the shop. But, as we would spend something close to two weeks in this town, we soon come to find out that a good majority of them are. What is even further enlightening is the fact that their founder, Doug Emerson, makes a point to attend these rides as often as possible. This is no simple feat, given the fact that he is not only running one of the most successful bike shops in Boulder but at the same time building the Boulder Valley Velodrome in nearby Erie, Colorado.

The ride itself is your usual out and up and over and back through town. There is that point that happens in every group ride where the pace becomes unusually fast for the usual amount of time (just enough to really hurt). Doubtless, a way to remind us newcomers that we are, in fact, newcomers to this ride. Nothing that we have not seen before. What sets it apart in this case are the people. I have personally seen this number of pleasant, happy employees one other time in my career in the bicycle industry and it is here in Portland at River City Bicycles. Both of these bike shops have made career employees, and model ones at that, en vogue, and in an industry that seemingly thrives on seasonal turnover these two shine as an example of what is possible.

The Nie Brothers – furies that they are – are perfect examples of this and they wooed us with their tales of steel bicycles, love and of course the chance encounter with local cycling celebrity Andy Hampsten. The Brothers packed shop and headed for Colorado after their love for bicycles proved to be too much for them to handle anywhere other than Colorado. They explained this much to us as we watched them expertly change a flat tire while the group rode off towards Jamestown. Then, new tube neatly in place they charged back to the group in no time at all — unknowingly dropping us at the same time (we were claiming altitude at this point.) But, of course, as it happens on all good rides, there was some regrouping at the top, a short jaunt to the next climb and then we did it all over again.

The MCC was then fired up right outside of University Bicycles and delicious La Colombe Coffee was served once again. As we sipped coffee it was then time to peruse the many, many eclectic collections that have gathered in the shop. 90’s mountain bike memorabilia by way of clippings in the bathrooms. Helmets, jerseys and anything related to cycling’s history can and was included in the shop as it grew over the years, but the two main attractions remain the Motorola and 7-11 bicycles of local hero’s Davis Phinney and Andy Hampsten. If you are in Boulder, do make sure to stop by and say hello. If you are in Boulder during August’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge the word on the street is that the Mobile Cycle Club will be back parked next to University Cycles to watch the Worlds best cyclists take on Colorado.

Previously in Rides: Group Ride: The MCC & Bike Effect.

The Mobile Cycle Club is currently traversing the country attending any and all bicycle related events that they can find. If you have a great group ride, Lunch Ride or anything else that they should check out — contact them Also, take a look at the continually updated schedule of the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club to see if Hennie will be in your neighborhood.