Defiance Cyclery helps solidify growing New Castle biking culture
New Castle was already becoming a go-to destination for mountain biking and had long been a popular launch point for some of the best road biking in western Colorado when the town got a new bike shop two years ago.
The proprietor, Troy Tritschler, is anything but new to the scene, though.
After operating his bike repair and servicing business in his basement in Glenwood Springs for a couple of years under the name Defiance Cyclery, and then out of his garage in New Castle since 2003, Tritschler took the leap of faith to open his first retail store on Main Street as the COVID-19 pandemic still had a grip on the economy in March 2021.
“It was our 20-year anniversary, but it was the first time that we actually had our own dedicated brick-and mortar-space,” Tritschler said on Tuesday as the weather began to warm and a steady flow of customers rolled through the shop.
That “leap” was spurred by an unexpected boom in outdoor recreation that emerged during the pandemic, when people sought refuge in the fresh air.
Bicycling, backcountry skiing and water sports such as paddle boarding and kayaking took off in popularity, and Tritschler saw an opportunity to service the growing demand.
His Defiance Cyclery shop at 303 B W. Main St. in New Castle sells and services mountain and road bikes, as well as backcountry skis, boots and bindings and several varieties of paddle boards.
Tritschler’s oldest son, Skyler, works with him in the store, making it a true family affair. His younger son, Bryce, graduated from Coal Ridge High School last year and is headed to Australia for college, and wife Grace has had her interior decorating business, Design With Grace, for more that 20 years, as well.
Originally from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Tritschler lived for a few years in Denver as a kid and after making several road trips back and forth while running a backpacking shop in Cape Girardeau he decided to make the move to Colorado for good.
He was in Durango for a while, then Boulder before working at the former Ajax Bikes in Aspen for a stint, and eventually landing at the former BSR bike and skate shop in downtown Glenwood Springs in the mid-1990s.
“I quickly figured out that the Aspen thing was going to be difficult, and even though the pay was a little higher I didn’t want to have to drive 40, 50 miles to get to and from work every day,” Tritschler said.
After seven years as a bike mechanic at BSR, he took a break in 2001 to be a stay-at-home dad when Skyler was born.
“But some of my customers would come and knock on my door or call me and say, ‘Hey, will you do this, or can you work on that.’ And so I started my bike mechanic business out of our condo there in Glenwood Springs as a concierge pickup and delivery service,” Tritschler said. “It worked really well and people loved it, and so I did that for like a decade.”
In 2006, he decided he needed a winter job to supplement the family income as the boys got older, so he went to work at Summit Canyon Mountaineering in the ski shop.
He worked there for 13 years, while also operating his bike mechanic business on the side, then turned his attention to opening up shop in New Castle.
Although things got waylaid initially when the pandemic hit, the timing ended up being perfect as people turned to the outdoors and the relatively new New Castle trail system north of town began to be discovered.
“Having Defiance Cyclery downtown has solidified New Castle as a mountain biking town,” said Adam Cornely, who chairs the New Castle Trails group. “It has been great having a knowledgeable, longtime local in town to help provide trail information to first time visitors of New Castle. It is also great being able to ride downtown and pickup miscellaneous parts and maintenance items as needs arise.
“Bottom line, legit trail towns need a bike shop, and now we have one.”
Tritschler enjoys the small-town vibe in New Castle, where on a normally quiet Tuesday this week when the temperature happened to top 50 degrees for the first time in a while, his was one of the more popular stores in town.
New Castle Police Chief Chuck Burrows and one of his officers, Chris Contreras, even stopped by for a short visit.
“One of the big reasons I did this is that I had been the commuter guy forever,” Tritschler said. “I lived in the town, but I didn’t have anything to do with New Castle because I was always going somewhere else for work.
“So one of the big motivations behind doing this is I really wanted to be more engaged in the community. Between that and being able to work with my son, those are probably the two biggest rewards of doing this down here.”
He said he always envisioned having his own shop where people could come in, pull up a chair and just hang out and visit for a while. That’s the extra reward, he said.
Among his services is custom fitting people to a road bike that works best for their needs.
A piece of equipment in the back of the shop, called a size cycle, is one of only a few of its kind in Colorado, and perhaps the only one on the Western Slope, he said.
“The guy who designed that and who I trained under (Paraic McGlynn) fits Tour de France athletes for the Trek-Segafredo team,” Tritschler said.
“One of the things I pride myself on here is that we’re focused more on service,” he said. “We’ll service anything you bring in the door that’s within our capabilities, and a lot of people want to try to keep some of that older stuff running.
“I mean, I went 20 years without buying a new bicycle.”
In addition to bike servicing, Defiance Cyclery offers ski tuning and boot fitting services, and during the summer has a robust paddle board rental and sales service, as nearby Grass Valley Reservoir at Harvey Gap State Park is a popular destination.
Tritschler, who will be 60 this year, said he’s also looking to hire another mechanic so he can step away from the repair stand and focus on growing the business while getting out and enjoying the outdoors himself a bit more.
“I don’t ride as much as I would like to, and every year I keep saying this is a year I’m gonna ride more. So we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Post Independent interim Managing Editor and senior reporter John Stroud can be reached at email@example.com or at 970-384-9160.
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