Mitch Marrison, PeopleForBikes retail program coordinator
In almost any town or city, bike shops are the hub of the bicycling community. They are the hub of the PeopleForBikes community, too. We have more than 1,000 retailer members spreading the word about PeopleForBikes, bringing new riders into the movement and collecting donations to help fund our Community Grants program.
Each month we showcase one of our retailer members who is going above and beyond to help improve bicycling in their own community. Last month we turned our blog over to our friends at Lee’s Cyclery and Fitness in Colorado. This month, we spoke to Tom Athey, marketing and events coordinator for Hoback Sports in Jackson, WY. Tom gave us an idea of how they’re helping grow fat biking in this notoriously ski- and snowboard-filled town.
PeopleForBikes: Tell us about the history of the Hoback Sports.
Athey: Hoback Sports was founded in 1976 as a ski and bike shop here in Jackson Hole, WY. While the shop has changed locations and owners over the years, our commitment to our customers and to the mountain sports we love has always remained the same.
What does the shop look like today?
We’re a tight group of mountain junkies that all moved here for the same reason: to work and play in the Tetons. We have about 15 full time employees and another dozen that fill in seasonally. While biking was originally just a way to get us through the summer months, it soon became just as important as the ski side of things. Jackson has a passionate and diverse bicycling community that is heavily involved in almost every bicycling segment from downhill mountain bikers to recumbent riders. We make sure we have something for everybody and spread the support for all the various forms of pedal powered transpotation.
Hoback Sports in the summer and winter
In what ways is Hoback Sports involved with your local community?
Jackson is fortunate to have some of the best biking non-profits in the country. We proudly support Friends of Pathways and Teton Freedom Riders who together, are responsible for constructing and maintaining our amazing network of pathways and trails in the region. We’re also involved in several local events like Bike to Work Week, the Jackson Hole Eco Fair, 2015 Fat Bike Summit and various other biking events and races during the year. If you see the Hoback Sports tent out at any of our local events, stop by and say hi! I’ll most likely be the guy under it and of course, I’d love to give your bike a free safety check!
As some of us saw during the 2015 Fat Bike Summit, your shop has been really active in helping grow fat biking in Jackson, WY. In your opinion, how has this segment of bicycling grown over the years? What does the future for it look like?
Being part of the Summit was really special and while it was our pleasure to help, the credit really goes out to all of those involved in our local fat biking community for both manually putting in many of the trails and being such great advocates for fat biking at a local level.
We’ve seen that as fat biking grows, the better the riding gets for everyone. With more riders out there on the trails, the better the trails get and the number of supporters for the segment grows. So as more and more people give fat biking a shot, the bigger our fat biking trail network gets and the more fun it is for everybody. That type of growth makes for a great community that everyone wants to be a part of!
Is there one day in the shop that stands out as the most memorable?
One of my favorite days at the shop was actually working the demo at the fat bike summit this year. Specialized sent us some of their new Fat Boy kid’s bikes for the event and it was great seeing the kids try biking in snow for the first time.
Kids out on fat bikes during the 2015 Fat Bike Summit
Do you have any big plans for the shop in 2015?
We’re currently working on giving Hoback Sports a facelift by modernizing the fixtures that originally moved over with the store 10 years ago. Along with the improvements inside, we’re looking to add a community bike wash station out back and improved bike racks for our customers that ride to the store.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Hoback appreciates all the help we’ve had from our customers and local organizations over the years that has made Jackson into such an amazing cycling community. Without their hard work and the support of other national programs like PeopleForBikes we just plain wouldn’t be around, thanks guys!
A big thanks to Tom and the rest of the crew over at Hoback Sports for their continued support!