What will Pro Challenge mean for bike shops?

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Colorado Springs bicycle shop owners don’t expect famous cyclists to shop in their stores when the USA Pro Cycling Challenge rolls into town Aug.22, but they hope locals will get even more jazzed about pedaling.

“Colorado Springs has a pretty huge enthusiast base,” said Cody Fults, acting manager of Ted’s Bicycles near Fillmore Street and Hancock Avenue. “And during events like this all the enthusiasts tend to become even more enthusiastic.”

Bike shop employees and owners say this is a busy time of year and they’re swamped already.

“It’s hard to tell what’s peak season and what’s peak season plus,” said Kay Leggett, who owns Criterium Bicycles on Corporate Center Drive along the Santa Fe Trail.

But customers are talking about going to the race.

Leggett said many of her customers are looking forward to the kids ride and are bringing their children’s bikes in for tune-ups and repairs. She said her staff, which includes former professional cyclists and big-time enthusiasts, will be on hand and in the shop during the race Monday.

Not the staff at Old Town Bike Shop on south Tejon Street.

The shop will close at 1 p.m. on Monday so staff can go watch the event, said manager Tim Halfpop. He said he doesn’t expect much business during the event itself so the staff will take advantage of the down time and enjoy the scene.

Patrick White and Cary Carter, who work at CS West Bikes across from Bancroft Park on Colorado Avenue in Old Colorado City and right along the race route, said they expect the day of the race to be mayhem. They don’t foresee strong sales that day, though they said they’re ready for a lot of foot traffic and have stocked up on tubes and cold drinks for the event.

“They’re for the spectators,” White said. “I think the riders are going to be pretty self-sufficient. They probably have their own mechanics.”

But he said he expects most of the people who will watch the race to arrive by bike. And inevitably, people will get flat tires and need to replace tubes.

“I think most people are going to be getting around town on their bikes that day just because it’s going to be so hard to drive,” White said.

Kyle Reiter, a sales representative at Colorado Springs Bike Shop, which is also on the raceway near the intersection of Colorado Avenue and 8th Street, said his shop has some regular customers who come in often. He expects that some of them will probably opt to make the bike shop their base for watching the race.

Most of the shops received spectator guides and maps in this week and have been answering more and more questions from curious customers about the race.

White at CS West said he’s seen more foreigners in town recently and that a few guys from France were asking him about the event.

Shop owners say events like the Pro Challenge have a tendency to get people to pull their bikes out of their garages. And in a town like Colorado Springs, where the majority of biking enthusiasts are mountain bikers, shop workers say there may be a rush of interest in road bikes.

Halfpop said he’s noticed stronger than usual bike sales, especially of road bikes, in the last couple weeks.

But it’s hard to say for sure whether the race is influencing customer interest or if it’s just a really strong bike season, he said.