If you are a Colorado Native like myself, you can probably remember when Castle Rock was a clump of trees on the east side of the highway, with a dirt road exit. Then came a Pizza Hut on the south side, then a McDonalds on the West side at the top of the hill all by itself. It was just a little small town you would pass on the way up to Denver.
Enough of the “old guy” reminiscing. Castle Rock has grown into an amazing town to live in, and equally, a great place to be a cyclist. It is home to 3 great bike shops as well as multiple cycling clubs and teams. One of those shops in the historic downtown has flourished to be a year around headquarters for fun, as well as an amazing supporter for the cycling community. That is Castle Rock Bike & Ski.
While some of the best cycling routes, for road, mountain, and gravel riding start and end in Castle Rock…cycling in the winter weather can be a little daunting, especially for the seasonal rider. Castle Rock Bike & Ski became the solution. As summer becomes fall, this store becomes the regional “Go-To” for all of your skiing needs. Whether it be a tune up, repair, or re-fitting of your existing hardware or if you are looking for an entire new package of skis, boards, boots and bindings, etc., they have you covered. They truly are the Year Around Headquarters For Fun!
Originally founded in 2020 by Mark and KC Neel, they opened their doors for business in February of 2021. Since day one, they have been a dual-sport shop. They have continued to add goods and services over the years, including bringing on Snow Sport Rentals in their second year. By 2014 they added bike rentals.
They truly are a full-service shop offering sales, service, and rentals on the bike side as well as the snow sport side of the business.
When Mark went to college, he intended to become a lawyer, but he got a job at a bike and ski shop while in school and that changed his professional trajectory forever. He moved to Colorado from Washington: changed his major to entrepreneurial management, and began his sport shop retail journey. His senior business thesis was his business plan for his first shop in 1994, and has been in the business ever since.
K.C. joined the shop after a 25-year career as a reporter covering the TV and Entertainment business. Together, they are an amazing team, and you can tell the minute you meet them that they love every minute of their journey.
One of their goals was to become a fixture of the community, helping the residents get outside and play. The ultimate goal was to create community amongst the residents and help Castle Rock develop into the cycling mecca it currently is.
They have always been ardent believers in supporting our community and have been actively involved since they opened for business. Mark was the one the founding members of the Castle Rock Downtown Merchants Association and has worked with the town as a P.O.S.T. partner building and maintaining trails in Castle Rock. For the past 12 years he has served as the head coach of the Castle Rock Youth Cycling Club, a non-profit group for kids wanting to learn how to mountain bike. The club is also home to the Castle Rock Crankers high school mountain bike racing team, a composite team made up of students from Douglas County, Castle View and Renaissance high schools. KC has served on several local boards and currently serves as the president of the Downtown Merchants Association.
Their slogan has always been to be Ambassadors of Fun. According to K.C. “We sell fun. Biking, skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are fun activities. We love all those sports, hence the tagline. We want other people to enjoy them as well. We’re a toy store. It doesn’t get more fun than that.
They do not only sell, they “play” in the sports they sell and service. “It’s easy to be passionate and enthusiastic about them. We love the changing of the seasons. The biggest challenge is the physical flip of those areas of business. It’s a lot of work but it is always worth it. It keeps things fresh, that’s for sure.”
What are the rewards of 23 years of success? “We have loved getting to know so many people here over the years. We’ve seen little kids grow up riding their first bike or snowboard and then bring in their own kids for their first bike or pair of skis. That’s pretty rewarding. Seeing little kids’ faces when they get their first (or second or third) bike or pair of skis is pure joy. Of course, that can be said of adults as well regardless of whether it’s their first bike in decades or their fifth bike in as many years. The same is true on the winter side of the house.
When you come to Castle Rock, stop by their shop at 25 S. Wilcox and say “Hi” and you will instantly see why their shop and their staff are beloved members of not only the Castle Rock Business Community, but Castle Rock as a whole. You can also reach out to them at https://castlerockbikeandski.com/
by: Gary Robinson, Colorado Avid Cycling
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