Storm Cycles–-a full-time, year-round bike shop in Park City–is a long-time friend and partner of Summit Bike Club. We have been working together to host events, promote races, and grow the local Mountain Biking community since the very beginning.
At a recent team event, we sat down with Todd Henneman, one of the founders of Storm, to talk all about his business and the world of bikes. Todd, who has been living in Park City for almost 30 years, originally moved here to ride his own bike. He has since accumulated years of expertise in the cycling and mechanical world, and is one of the top local experts.
Located in the heart of Kimball Junction, Storm Cycles is a neat, bright little bike shop full of character. Bikes dangle from the industrial ceiling, and a soft hum of voices drifts in from the adjoining coffee shop, mingling with the hiss of air compressors and the familiar click of bearing palls from the back of the shop. It has a unique, welcoming vibe that is all its own.
After finishing a bike fit for a young rider and sending her on her way with a smile, Todd led us back to his office where we were able to have an entertaining conversation. Here are just a few of his gems of wisdom.
How did Storm Cycles get started?
I had a couple of friends who ran the bike shop up here at time, Jans. One thing led to another . . . I decided I wanted to be a bike mechanic [for them] . . . . They started giving me more responsibilities, and next thing you know . . . I was running the whole shop. Which I never imagined. It was just a slow progression, you know . . . I ran the bike shop at Jans in town for over 20 years.
And finally, about 5 years ago, [some of us] decided to break out on our own and start Storm Cycles. . . . right now there are 4 of us that are partners in the business. There’s Juan Patterson and his wife Lauri, they’re both here pretty much full-time, and there’s one other . . . who owns the coffee shop next door. His name is Rob Hibble.
What can people expect when they visit your shop?
What we try to do is just provide really top end service. So people don’t have to worry if something is done right. We are the local shop that they can trust to just leave their bike . . . . and we are not going to try and do something you don’t need.
In bike culture, unfortunately, there’s sometimes this attitude like, if you don’t really know anything, certain mechanics will . . . treat you like you’re an idiot. We try not to have that attitude. We want to be someone you can trust. A simple thing, even if it’s just a flat, we want to be warm and welcoming.
You have a really unique setup here. What’s it like being connected to the coffee shop?
That place is just great . . . every morning it is packed, and usually through the afternoon, so, a lot of visibility, which is nice! And then, it’s a nice tool when people just want a tire changed, or a new tire or something quick, they can just say ‘I’m just gonna go get a cup of coffee,’ or ‘I’ll go grab something to eat.’ and then just head over there and we’ll have it ready in, like, 30 minutes . . . it’s a really nice mix.
What do you hope to add to the Park City community?
People have really embraced having a bike shop out here in Kimball Junction, rather than having to drive all the way into town . . . we get a lot of locals here. Plus, all we focus on is bikes. We all have a lot of experience so I’d like to think we provide the best service in Park City.
Being year-round and only bikes is a big advantage. That’s what we do all year. In winter, [Park City] very much turns into a skiing destination . . . . and we didn’t choose to go that route. There’s enough places you can ride year round that we wanted to service that need.
What about Fat Bikes?
It’s really in the past two to three winters here we’ve seen it embraced quite a bit. Enough so that it’s a really good primary source of business for us . . . it is our focus in the winter.
We’ve also partnered with Mountain Trails Foundation–we help them groom specific Fat Bike trails, so people have places to ride. There’s been a little interference with Nordic Skiers, so we’ve been packing singletrack and giving Fatbikers their own specific trails, and everybody’s happier that way.
For me, the Fat Bike has been . . . an awesome tool . . . because I get to commute to work every day, even in the winter now! It keeps me on the bike all year.
What is your personal history with bikes?
That’s how it all started for me–I used to race dirt bikes when I was a lot younger, so when Mountain Biking started to come on, it was a natural for me. I raced road bikes in the 80’s and early 90’s but then kind of went all mountain biking . . . . I had a pro license in the 90’s, and so I used to do US Nationals.
I still do a few races here and there, but it’s just more for fun . . . . It’s always been fun for me, but I used to be more serious and so it was more stressful. My outlook has definitely changed.
How did you make the switch from just riding bikes to bike mechanics?
I’ve always been pretty mechanical just naturally, and when I used to race off-road motorcycles, I used to do a lot of my own work, so I started tinkering on my own bicycles and it was quite easy, and [then] I started meeting more people who I trained with.
I had a good friend up here who was running the bike shop, and I wanted to get my foot in the door, and he needed a mechanic, so I started at ground level with what I had learned on my own and by going into a shop and learning with other mechanics, it was natural . . . . I picked up everything along the way.
What, in your opinion, makes a good bike mechanic?
It has to be something you’re really excited about. Then it’s easy. If you really want to learn it or do it, it’s a natural thing. Some people are just more natural at it, and it clicks for them, and others not.
Usually that person has already fiddled with their bike a lot on their own and figured stuff out.
How did you get started working with Summit?
Before we even opened, Summit was already rolling, and I knew they had the club, so I made that connection and let them know up front that I was opening the shop and I would love to help or be a sponsor of the club . . . . and MJ, after we opened the shop, he contacted me too.
So we have had a tie with Summit since the day we opened.
Also, our premium brand here is Pivot who is also a sponsor of Summit so it’s a nice tie there. We have that connection where we can run special Summit deals right through the shop, and Pivot works with us on this end while working with Summit on the Club side of things so that’s a pretty instrumental part of it as well.
We really appreciate Todd for taking the time to talk with us, and we hope to see you around the shop! We are often there, and Storm Cycles is active in the PC community, so follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our upcoming events!
Do you live in the Park City area? Come visit Todd and our friends at Storm Cycles to get your bike ready for the upcoming season!