If location and name mean anything in the bike business, Epicenter Cycling is golden. The new shop sprung up in a prominent corner of the rustic Aptos shopping mall. If you’re headed up to Forest of Nisene Marks or over to the Post Office jump park, you can’t miss Epicenter Cycling.
Plus it’s practically within hucking distance of the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the last “Big One” along the San Andreas Fault.
So yes, there’s a lot of shall we say karma at Epicenter Cycling. And more is on the way.
The owner, Shawn Wilson, has big ideas. Among them: Turn the seedy vacant lot between the shop and the jump park into a pump track. You know, like the one Mark Weir put together in Marin County…only better.
“We want it to be a showcase for this community and the cycling world,” Wilson said. He knows he’s got a bit of an uphill go, what with planning department muster and zoning changes, neither of which have encountered something called a pump track before. But he does have allies within County officialdom, Wilson said, and is confident that code alterations can be made.
Epicenter is for all cycling comers, from family to road to mountain bikes of all stripes. Its main line is Trek, which Wilson, a former manager for Summit Bicycles in Los Gatos, is pretty high on. Trek is in a great position to leverage the current carbon rage in bike design. It’s been working with carbon since the beginning and knows the technology inside out. (Remember the carbon Y bikes of the mid-’90s? I had a Y-33 which, despite being noisy and using by today’s standards primitive single-pivot technology, was a real ripper to ride.)
Plus Trek builds all its carbon bikes in the U.S., the only major company which can make that claim. In fact, outside of Trek and a handful of boutique builders like Sherwood Gibson’s Ventana east of Sacto, nearly all bike frames are made abroad, with the majority of carbon in Taiwan. To be fair, Taiwan made a huge and early commitment to carbon and has the capability to build just about any bike configuration to spec, at a price cheap enough to be competitive with anything domestic. All the more reason to tip the hat to Trek, though, for sticking with its original “Made in USA” promise. (I also bought one of Trek’s first touring frames back in the late 1970s, which I still have. The Y-33 got stolen in Portland, the cycling capital of the universe and no slouch in the theft department either. But we digress…)
Epicenter boasts a full repair shop, lots of bling and goodies, and an impressive warranty. For any bike you buy, you get free lifetime routine maintenance — cables, derailleurs, brakes and so on. (Not, understandably, bigger stuff like bottom brackets and hubs.) Just bring it in and the wrenches will bring it back to spec. Combined with Trek’s lifetime frame warranty, “You’re pretty much guaranteed to stay rolling as long as you own the bike,” Wilson said.
We wish Shawn and the gang the best of luck. And when that pump track opens, watch out. The whole town of Aptos will be shimmering and shaking all over again, but in entirely welcome ways.