Longtime Colorado Backcountry Biker opens a storefront in Fruita | PostIndependent.com

Longtime Colorado Backcountry Biker opens a storefront in Fruita

Fruita resident Dave Brown (left) receives tire maintenance from Eric Diehl (right) and Tony Uriguen (middle) of Colorado Backcountry Biker in the tune-up area of the new shop.
Caitlin Row / crow@gjfreepress.com | GFP

Fruita’s Colorado Backcountry Biker finally has a home base! Its first-ever shop is located at 150 South Park Square in the historic Park Hotel.

For almost nine years, Colorado Backcountry Biker has offered multi-day, backcountry, mountain-bike hut trips. Until recently founder/owner Kevin Godar served his clients from other shops scattered across the valley.

Now, Colorado Backcountry Biker operates from its very own street-front location, where tour groups meet and set up before being transported to trails on the Uncompahgre Plateau. Plus, General Manager Tony Uriguen also provides other new services as a standalone bike shop where anyone can come for rentals, tune ups, gear and mountain-bike accessories. Women-specific tunes and gear are available, too.

“As far as trips, we have more staff working for us and we’ve been growing trip numbers since the start,” Uriguen said.

And with the 2013 backcountry bike season already three-quarters done, BC Biker has served more than 400 mountain bikers this summer (most of them out-of-state visitors to the valley).

“The business started out growing really fast the first three seasons, but when 2008 came around we took it on the chin like a lot of businesses,” Godar said. “We have spent the last five years regaining our balance and coming back slow and steady. It has been a tough five years to run a business, but I’m proud to say we are still standing.”

According to Uriguen, backcountry bike trips may run either three nights or four and up to nine people can participate. Huts are on private land, and if groups go out for four nights they spend their last evening at Gateway Canyons Resort.

“We use the singletrack trails near and around the Divide Forks Campground on the north end of the Uncompahgre Plateau,” Uriguen said. “These are not heavily used trails and that’s the way we like it. We are trying to provide a backcountry experience.”

Another Colorado Backcountry Biker staffer Eric Diehl said he sometimes transports guests on these trips, and he often sees beer and elk when out with the riders.

“I really wanted to offer people an experience that was unlike most other trips I had been on or seen,” Godar said. “I always thought they stopped just short of where I wanted to go, which was a real backcountry adventure where you weren’t quite sure what to expect around the next turn.”

Colorado Backcountry Biker either rents equipment for a group, or participants may provide their own. GPS coordinates and maps with written directions are additionally provided to groups before they set out. Colorado Backcountry Biker staff acts as support to these groups; they don’t actually guide the mountain bikers. Rather, they transport all necessary food and gear between huts and transport them at the start and end of the trip.

“All they need to carry with them is everything they need to survive for one day,” Uriguen said. “It works out pretty well because sometimes rides can be diminished by gear.”

If the same mountain bikers were to go on a similar trip, they’d have to carry 50-100 pounds of supplies depending on how many people were in the group.

“An average day ride consists of a 15-pound pack,” Uriguen noted.

Terrain on these trips is definitely considered “backcountry,” he continued, and it’s for “avid outdoorsmen,” where overall fitness it more important than advanced bike skills. Trails are mostly easier, and folks simply walk bikes if necessary. But there is quite a bit of distance associated with the hut adventures.

“The first day is 28 miles, the second day is 10 miles with a 23-mile option, and the third day is 25 miles,” Uriguen explained. “We are currently looking at options to extend the season,” with other routes possible next year.

For pricing and more information, call 970-858-3917 or visit http://www.backcountrybiker.com.

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