Still awash with the scent of freshly cut wood and cool beer, the open and inviting new Road 34 Bike Shop and Bar combines the two worlds of mountain biking and booze in a fresh, carefree way.
“It’s a fun, carefree atmosphere with beer, bikes and tunes,” laughs Eric Ziola, part owner of the new establishment and a well-known mountain bike man-about-town. “It’s really easygoing.”
The easygoing fun permeates the entire bar and bike shop area, even while the passion of the young owners for the activities and place is clearly evident.
“We like to ride our bikes and have a beer afterward,” notes Road 34 co-owner and planner, Will Overbagh, of the unusual combination of bike shop and a bar. “A lot of riders like to do that, too.”
Meeting when they were kids, Overbagh (a CSU alum) and Willy Owens developed a passionate interest in mountain biking, eventually turning their love of bikes into a small business operated out of a garage in Virginia.
Coming to Colorado in 2000, Overbagh and Owens expanded what had previously been a small bike shop operated out of their garage, moving it into a storefront on Elizabeth as “Road 34,” quickly establishing themselves as an essential part of the biking community in Fort Collins and beyond.
“Our experience gave us an edge. The foundations we laid made it easier. We starting building Road 34 as more than just biking,” says Overbagh. “It was also about the culture of biking.”
Well known in the national mountain biking community and hosts to popular mountain biking events such as the Dirt Jump Jam and the Super Fly Invitational, the Road 34 crew were also well known out on the town, enjoying cold beers and warm whiskey.
It was the combination of these two loves (bikes and beer) that planted the seeds for starting a combined bar and bike shop, an idea Ziola notes the friends had been bouncing around for some time.
Fate, however, stepped in as the old Diamond’s pool hall and bar closed down, offering a perfect location for the dual bike shop/bar.
“It’s a unique floor plan with a unique flow,” notes Overbagh, something that gives the new establishment a particularly special sort of charm.
With an open and airy bar area, the bike shop sits on the western most third of the building, with a large garage-style door separating the two parts. During the day, notes Ziola, the garage can be lifted to allow for more freedom of movement and openness. At night, it drops down, but bikes can still be seen through the windows, a constant reminder of what the basis of the bar is all about.
Along with the atmosphere, Ziola notes that they hope the low prices and frequent specials will also be inviting to customers as well.
“The thing we’re sure to do is make it cheap all the time,” Ziola said.
Constructing a kitchen at the moment, Overbagh notes that the food menu will also feature things a college student or cash-strapped bike enthusiast could enjoy, noting that “our menu is going to be high quality and reasonably priced.”
For the Road 34 crew, the support of the biking community and other friends all around the country helped in making the bar a reality.
“We’ve had help from countless friends and mountain bikers,” notes Ziola. “The mountain bikers in Colorado helped build this place.”
Indeed, most of the bar was physically constructed by many of these friends and supporters.
From the bar itself to the benches, Overbagh says “we built anything allowed by code.”
Hoping to feature music on the stage, Ziola notes that the aim is to have shows become a special and anticipated event at the bar, rather than necessarily a regular occurrence.
“We went to the lumber yard in Red Feathers, and got truckloads of dry cut wood,” says Ziola, pointing to the sturdy bar. “We just finished construction on the stage.”