Pacific Northwest winters can’t keep locals away from the outdoors. When January rounds the corner and we find we’ve been nudged into the New Year, our running shoes and layers of athletic gear are pulled out from the closet and dusted off. Dreams to tighten, tone and build the muscles that have been vacationing since the holidays are once again within reach. And what better way to achieve those goals than with community-centric Snohomish Bicycles?
Perched above the winding Snohomish River, this triathlon- based shop offers a variety of services, products and opportunities for community involvement. Voted top five bike shops in Western Washington for five straight years, second place in 2014, they’ll have just what you need to motivate you to get moving again.
When shop owner Martin Mollat decided to transition from the airline industry to the world of biking, running, and swimming, he took baby steps. In 2007, the triathlon enthusiast set up a weekend bike repair tent along the Centennial Trail, providing service to outdoor patrons. Four months later, he found himself and his growing business moving indoors into a 200-square foot building. Still rapidly expanding, Mollat’s business moved and outgrew multiple locations, finally setting up shop in April 2014 in a quaint window-lined building on First Street of downtown Snohomish. Since those beginning years, Mollat has opened a second location in Lake Stevens.
As you walk through the shop doors, it’s easy to become inspired. The close-knit group of employees welcome customers with hearty greetings, sending waves and “hellos” to the regulars. A variety of bikes hang from the ceiling and line the walls, sporting every color and ranging in style and level from miniature “starter bikes” to full-fledged, custom-built, road bicycles. Helmets, in varying styles, cover the walls, while racks of running and biking attire and bike parts neatly fill the racks on the floor.
Joining forces with Rock City Café, the Snohomish Bicycles shop houses both businesses, allowing for a cozy, coffee-infused experience. Whether customers drop in for a quick bike tune-up or to find rental equipment, like a wetsuit for a summer swim, they can complete their visit by lounging in the overstuffed couches and enjoying a sweet treat.
Snohomish Bicycles offers customers a variety of products, from athletic gear and repair services, to bicycles. Patrons are encouraged to bring their bikes in for tunes, ranging from a micro tune that includes services such as a bike inspection and tire inflation to the premium tune which covers a new bar wrap, rear hub overhaul and performance tune, among other services.
For those interested in more of a short-term commitment, Snohomish Bicycles offers bike, wetsuit, helmet, Yak trailer, and Kids Trailer rentals ranging from one day to one week in length.
For the more adventurous, a custom built bicycle service is available. Customers can order a frame from a manufacturer such as BMC or Cervelo to be delivered to the shop. There it will be equipped with custom components such as handlebars, brakes, and wheels, a process which takes an average of three to four weeks. And when it comes to the product quality, the bikes speak for themselves.
By providing attentive care and high quality products, Snohomish Bicycles is a local favorite where there are many repeat customers. “We’ve had families buy six bikes from us over the years, and we’ve only been open for seven years!” exclaimed Mollat.
A highly active force in the community, the shop facilitates weekly rides year-round for members to gather and share their passion for the outdoors. The rides, which occur every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m., provide a vigorous workout and friendly companionship. Split into three different groups, the rides offer an advanced group, intermediate group, and beginner’s level, traveling roughly 30 miles, 20-25 miles and 15 miles, respectively. Come rain or shine, the rides are a great avenue to pull the community together and create comradery.
Not only does the warm weather and long summer evenings draw riders in for the mid-week community rides, but the weekly summer post-ride barbecues do as well. The shop’s back deck that overlooks the river provides a welcoming location where riders can bring their own drinks and gather for a barbecue dinner every Wednesday evening.
The shop’s outreach goes further than shop rides and custom-built bikes, though. As a board member for the Historic Downtown Snohomish, Mollat truly believes in enhancing the Snohomish experience. And through this, his bike shop acts as a driving force for many local races. For instance, Snohomish Bicycles helps sponsor races such as the summer Tri Monroe, the Finish Strong Lake Tye Triathlon and the winter fun-run Chase the Grinch Outta Snohomish.
It’s easy to see why the customers keep coming back. With the sense of community set at the heart of the shop, employees truly strive to create relationships with their customers. Nigel Saville, an employee at Snohomish Bicycles for over a year and involved in the industry for nearly 12 years, delights in the shop’s distinctive role as a hub for outdoor sports with a loyal customer base. “The focus on community and customer relationship is truly unique to this shop,” Saville states.
Mollat has high hopes for the future. With the two shops spread over Snohomish County, the owner plans on expanding internally. When asked what customers can expect in the future, Mollat said, “More products, bigger brands, and maybe more adventure-based activities such as bike touring. And, an overall focus of providing good service to our customers.”
With so many exciting opportunities to get involved in the active community that Snohomish Bicycles has created Mollat urges customers to shop locally. The owner believes that “If you want local product, then you have to shop local. We’re here for them, we need [the customers] to be here for us.” So far, the effort Snohomish Bicycles is putting into being a whole cycling experience for its customers is working well for them, and for Snohomish County.
1007 1st Street, Snohomish, WA
360.862.8300 | snohomishbicycles.com