National bike world calls Boulder County home

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Seth Dykema works on a cycling component at the gluing station at Stages Cycling in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick)

From Times-Call

Boulder's long and storied history as a hub of cycling activity is entering a new chapter, as a center for industry advocacy.

The recent hiring of Lafayette's Todd Grant as executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) means that all five of the top industry organizations — NBDA, People for Bikes, International Mountain Bike Association, Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition and Bicycle Product Suppliers Association — have a leadership presence in Boulder County.

"More than ever, today Boulder is widely viewed as the hub" of cycling, said Tim Blumenthal, president of People For Bikes, the world's largest bicycling nonprofit.

Blumenthal moved People for Bikes, then called Bikes Belong, from Boston to Boulder in 2004. It was a repeat performance: He also moved the IMBA to Boulder in 1993 when he took over leadership.

The OIWC and BPSA are also here. The NBDA's president and offices are still in California for the time being, though the current lease is up in 2017. There are no formal plans to move the 70-year-old organization to Boulder County, but there's also no reason it couldn't happen.

"An association that is national or international can very well be headquartered anywhere," said Fred Clements, NBDA's vice-president. "I think a lot of people have picked Boulder because it's beautiful, it's very bicycle friendly, it's near an airport. There's a number of private companies there."

Another factor? It's just plain pleasant to ride a bike here, said Ray Keener, executive director of BPSA and president of the board of Community Cycles.

"It's really the draw of the culture and how easy it is to have a bike-centered life," Keener said.

Boulder was one of first places to be a good place to ride a bike in town, said Blumenthal, helped along by the free-wheeling college students and alternative-minded residents.

By the mid-'90s, Boulder's reputation as bike central was firmly established by the Coors Classic bike race (originally the Red Zinger) and the hordes of pro cyclists who lived and trained here.

Then, in 1993, industry followed. . .

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