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Front Page » June 29, 2006 » Business Focus » Hey Dude! It is a business!
Published 3,384 days ago

Hey Dude! It is a business!

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Nick Fister talks with Fuzzy Nance, owner of Bicycleworks, discuss various trails that can be ridden in Carbon County.

In Fuzzy Nance's bicycle shop hangs a map. It's underpinnings are that of a skilled cartographer, yet on top it is fun in the form of hand marked lines and symbols.

The map illustrates trails all over Carbon County, particularly those north of Price and along the bookcliffs.

That map helps the imagination take off. Places like Floating Rocks, Allan's Alley and Shh!!! are printed in large letters with a magic marker.

On the bottom is a legend, a legend of difficulty. It tells mountain bikers how hard the trails are. Fuzzy has assigned the difficulty symbols, symbols that could signify how he got to the point of opening the shop he has now had open about three weeks.

That's because bicycling of any kind is a way of life. It's not just something one does to get somewhere, but it's the getting there that counts.

When one who is not into bikes thinks of bicycling nowadays one thinks of Lance Armstrong, and the coming Tour de France that starts next week. It will be without him for the first time in many years.

Other famous bicyclers include Wilbur and Orvil Wright. Yes those guys who flew the first plane that actually took off were actually bicycle men who owned a shop in Ohio.

But Fuzzy is neither of these. The smooth roads for the Tour de France would be not much fun. And as for flying, the only thing he likes to fly down are steep cliffs with lots of rocks in the way.

Bicycleworks, his store, is a culmination of years of riding, loving riding, doing all kinds of riding and fixing bike after bike for other folks.

People in other businesses may understand the feeling that Fuzzy has for his bicycles, but few seem to have the fun he does at doing it.

Fuzzy's legends - Easy, almost anyone can do. Hard takes a little more skill while hardest is for those that are highly skilled. As for "Woah!" just look at the skull.

A man walks into his shop and walks around.

"Uh, I'm looking for some bearings for my kids bike," he says to Fuzzy. "What do you have."

"I won't sell you cheap bearings, but they'll last," says the owner of the store right up front.

The guy looks at the price and says he will be back.

Fuzzy knows he probably won't.

"Everyone that makes anything also make stuff that is not very good," he says. "People look at a name on something and it's a big name, so they assume it is good. Look at Ford. They built the Mustang, Then they built the Pinto."

That was a self explanatory comment.

Another guy walks in he doesn't even acknowledge Fuzzy is there. He looks at the kids bikes in the front window that sell for $229, gets an astounding look on his face, acts like he looks at a few more things and then walks out in a hurry.

"That's a box store shopper," says Fuzzy. "He saw the kids bikes and when he saw the price he started thinking about the $89.95 bike he could buy at a box store."

Finally a real biker comes in and Fuzzy spends almost 45 minutes talking with him about bikes, parts and other items. He actually buys something; a pump that Fuzzy says won't quit and can be dropped, run over and thrown over cliffs and yet will still work. It costs more than others, but it is for the serious cross country biker.

Fuzzy's knowledge about bikes shows as he talks. It's not just fluff about new models, but about older models, deals that should be made and those that shouldn't. In fact he tells the bike who has found a deal on another bike in another place to buy it.

The knowledge comes from experience; the experience one gets in the hard world of bicycling.

Fuzzy says his experience with bikes began as kid, as with most people. But a whim by his father who wanted him to get involved in something turned into a life long obsession.

"I lived in Hurricane and my dad looked at me and saw a little fat kid who was just sitting around," he says. "He talked me into getting into BMX racing and after that it just took off.'

His dads idea to get him exercise led to racing and more racing. Soon at the age of 12 Fuzzy found himself breaking so many parts that he got a job in a bike shop so he could trade his time for the things he needed.

Then as a teenager he started to get state rankings as he traveled around to BMX tracks all over the state. He was even ranking in the top 15 nationally at one point.

Fuzzy and his trail dog, Buster.

"I had this friend who's dad was a truck driver and he took us all over the place every weekend to race," explained Fuzzy. "Then when I was a senior in high school I made the decision to turn pro. That was a mistake."

For Fuzzy racing was fun; but in the pro ranks it takes a different mind set, one that he didn't have.

"You really do have to think differently," he said. "I was finding myself getting beat as a pro by other guys who I used to tromp regularly."

He got out of racing and just kind of hung around and started experimenting with bikes that could be used in the dirt, but to trail ride instead of jumping around a track. He put big tires on a cruiser; then he added some gears. He had created his own first mountain bike.

While at Hurricane High School he had played football and was good enough to be offered a scholarship to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

"That was where I was born, but there was no way I was going back there," he said. "I hated that place."

A short time later, on a fluke he got back into racing and went to a couple of national qualifying races. Surprisingly he came in first in both and found himself with a number one plate. But that wasn't what he wanted so he never went back to it after that.

Instead he ended up in Winnemucca, Nev. helping his dad run an equipment rental shop. That is also where he learned to snowboard in the mountains north of the town. Between his snow experience and his bike expertise he finally ended up in Salt Lake working for various bike shops there doing repairs. Then he ended up working at the University of Utah in a very interesting capacity.

"The parking Nazi's at the U needed someone to take care of their bikes and I did," he said. "Soon I was fooling around with bikes and buzzing them up campus from the presidents circle clear to the hospital. It taught me a lot about bikes and the sprinting from one end of the campus to the other got me it great shape."

That put him on the track to dual slalom and mountain cross racing. Something he loved.

"With that I had raced at high levels in every kind of off road bicycling there was," he said. And through all the lessons of bicycles and work he found that he developed a philosophy of the best and his shop reflects that. For the uneducated a wheel is a wheel; for Fuzzy it is a work of art. And he only intends to sell moving art.

Fuzzy Nance works on a bike in his shop, Bycycleworks on Main Street.

As the customers come in they are greeted by a display of dozens of bicycle tires hanging on the wall in front of them. Farther down are the bicycle wear with socks in strange colors and with odd sayings on them. In front of both are bikes; small bikes, larger bikes, bike trailers.

On the other wall hangs other kinds of items, handles, pumps, too many kinds of things to list. All are quality items, few of which can be bought in a department store.

As customers come and go the knowledge that Fuzzy possesses about bikes seems endless. But more important than that is his passion; particularly about this place.

"People come through here and only think about going to the San Rafael or to Moab," he says as he points to the map. "There are great bike trails here and more are popping up all the time. That's why PASS (Price Area Single track Society) is so important. We have a great tourist attraction right here in Price."

Fuzzy says the philosophy of PASS is to keep the tracks one single lane "no wider than someones rear end."

So as the wheel turns, Fuzzy is there to work on bikes, sell bikes and promote the area for bikes.

"When I build a bike for someone, I guarantee labor for a year, because I know unless they throw it off a cliff it will keep running," he said.

When asked prices for custom made bikes, he had the old reply that many who sell very good stuff do.

"If you have to ask, you won't want to pay it."

But he is always ready to get the new rider into the sport and help them along the way.

A better friend a stranded biker couldn't have.

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