Boulder, Colorado has long been a hotbed for cycling: it remains a challenge to swing a spoke ruler without hitting a PRO or two in the process. Boulder was one of the first towns I ever visited where the bike shop competition was fierce. It was akin to that of gas stations in Los Angeles. Literally, there were bike shops on almost every corner and the abundance of shops makes perfect sense. Boulder is a college town and there are countless students riding bikes to and fro, and with each student there is an opportunity to sell at least 2.3 bikes per students if you figure each college student will have at least 1 bike stolen during their pursuit of higher education. For each bike stolen, there are u-locks to be sold, flat tires to be fixed, and the steady stream of stolen seat/seat post and front wheel replacements. So naturally, Boulder would be a boomtown for bike shops. When the soup is good...
But Boulder is more than a college town selling $200 beaters. Boulder is home to PROs seeking elevation training, those who are in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle and, of course, those who seek as many powder days as possible. Boulder's cycling community has thrived over the years, and many great shops call it home. The famous Morgal Bismark put its stamp on the cycling world back in the late 80s and early 90s and served as a training center for those lucky enough to punch a time card.
One such employee was Sean Bragstad who spent his formative years in the Bay Area and was then drawn to the mountains. Sean and his partner Peter Chisholm spent a number of years working side-by-side at other Boulder institutions and both have a passion and viewpoint that is euro-road-centric. Not since Ernie's on San Vicente in Santa Monica has a shop embodied such a roadie feel before you even enter the front door. I remember the first time I heard about Vecchio's and I recall thinking it sounds like my kind of shop.
Vecchio's name is indicative of their approach to cycling: vecchio is Italian for "old man" or "old way". The shop has a profound respect for the history of the bicycle and their dedication to the sport is matched by their level of customer service. The shop, like a great Italian pasta sauce, is made up of Sean and Peter's life-long cycling experiences, which are collected, cooked and reduced leaving an essence that is the shop. If you are passionate about cycling, its history and high-end road machines this is the place. There is nothing extraneous inside Vecchio's that will take away from your experience. No "corporate concept" shop, no endless rows of $400 bikes. Just Peter, Sean, and the gear you and I seek. Simple.
The moment you walk into the shop you are greeted by cycling's history, old bikes, old posters, and showcases filled with the items you wish you had in your collection. The last shop that spoke to me like this was Wheelsmith in Palo Alto. Vecchio's amazing machines, parts, and accessories actually take a backseat to the memorabilia and "cycling stuff" that fills the belly of the shop. Once you're familiar with your surroundings, strike up a conversation with Sean and Peter and it may be a while before you even notice the bikes.
As I travel along my journey through cycling, it's rare that I come across a shop that speaks to me from both the future and the past. From one vantage point, Vecchio's represents the future of bicycle shops, catering to a select group of cyclists. Knowing that they can not compete in a commodity-driven market, a market where price is the single concern. Alternatively, Vecchio's chooses to focus on service, namely, providing their customers with an experience that no big box shop can offer: a service that passionate cyclists value. From the other perspective, Vecchio's resembles the shops I fell in love with back in the 80s and 90s; those that I would travel out of my way to see and experience. Like Vecchio's today, those shops were catering to the passionate cyclist and I received their beacon loud and clear.
Vecchio's provides a one-of-a-kind experience, and a passion that is equal to your own.
Pack your bags and get yourself to Boulder. When you get to Vecchio's, tell them BKW sent you.
1833 Pearl Street
Republic of Boulder, CO 80302