Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop celebrates 50 years
Duane Strawser attributes much of cycling’s popularity in western Nevada County to the nearby trails in Downieville.
That, along with the annual Nevada City Classic race, helped establish a cycling savvy community — made clear in that many locals were long interested in the famed Tour de France well before it became more widespread across America.
While some things have changed in the cycling community, Strawser, co-owner of Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop with his wife, Connie Strawser, said he’s excited to still be around, serving the community and bolstering the sport and activity of cycling.
“It’s lasted because of our customer-base,” said Strawser.
The shop is now celebrating its 50-year anniversary.
Since the opening of Tour of Nevada City, and by the time the Strawser’s bought the place in 1996, there’s been many changes to cycling as a sport — the technology, for one thing, said Strawser.
Road bikes are now commonly made from carbon and are much lighter, and high-tech advances have changed how they fucntion, such as shifting gears becoming increasingly more electronic. Many bikes themselves are often electric these days, which is allowing older individuals to stay with the sport longer or get back in the saddle with electronic horsepower capable of helping to push them up hills.
In recent years, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association reached into Nevada County, sparking an interest in cycling among teenagers in the area. Over the past couple decades, a mountain bike club cropped up at Nevada Union High School and for the first time a middle school cycling league has begun in Nevada County, said Strawser.
The influx of young people means Tour of Nevada City must accommodate a range of customers with different interests.
This can be difficult, Strawser said, as the products his store offers varies greatly, including shoes, tires, flashers, lights, helmets, gloves and pumps to name a few.
Most important, though, Strawser said the bike shop has been able to stay around because everyone in the store is listening to customers, understanding the changing dynamics of the sport and using “every inch of space efficiently.”
“You definitely have to do your homework,” said Strawser.
CONTINUING THE TRADITION
In general, the co-owner said it’s the little things that have helped Tour of Nevada City stay in business for 50 year, keeping customer service as a key priority.
Open five minutes early, said Strawser, and close five minutes late.
“Customers are not interrupting your work; they are the reason you have work,” he said.
Strawser also pays homage to the previous owners Stan and Marilyn Miller, who first allowed their teenage son, Ron Miller, and his friend, Jim Rogers, to open up the shop in a vacant space the Millers owned on Coyote Street.
It was a move that not only got a bunch of bicycles, parts and tools out of the family’s living room, it also launched a local business now celebrating its golden anniversary in Nevada City. Ron Miller and Jim Rogers, friends and former racers, have both since died, but their legacy continues through the Tour of Nevada City Bike Shop and the local cycling community they helped establish.
Like Miller and Rogers, Strawser is a former pro racer who continues to ride and compete, while also serving as a member of the Nevada City Council and as race director of the Nevada City Bicycle Classic race, which will celebrate its own 60th anniversary in June 2020.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4219.
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