BioWheels, which has been serving Asheville cyclists for more than a decade, will close its Coxe Avenue retail operation just after year’s end, according to co-owner/founder Eric Krause. Instead, the company will shift its focus to bike rentals and mountain bike trails. Krause plans to develop a “premiere mountain bike destination” on the 125-acre Asheville Crowne Plaza Resort property in cooperation with Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures, which, along with the Asheville Treetops Adventure Park, already operates on the property.
The shift, says Krause, comes in response to the “chaotic retail market in Asheville” and marks a return to the company’s roots.
“When I started in Asheville in 1996, I started as a touring and rental company, and before that, in Ohio, I built trails,” he notes. “And I’ve built trails here working with people in various capacities as a volunteer. I’ve worked with the folks who run the Asheville Zipline tours and the Treetop Adventure Park over there in the past, in marketing bike tours and rentals. So we got together and decided we were going to put trails in the Crowne Plaza and do a full bike facility.”
The first phase of BioWheels’ new facility, a 5-mile, single-track perimeter trail, should be open to the public by the end of March. From there, Krause plans to develop a skills park and begin hosting a variety of clinics and events on the property. In addition to the trails, the company will offer full-service rentals of mountain bikes, road bikes and city-friendly cruisers, which it will continue to sell, should a patron fall in love with their ride. As for its repair services, Krause isn’t ready to say one way or another.
“I will not commit to that one yet,” he says. “I’ve had a lot of people ask me about that. I’m doing a poll-the-audience kind of thing on that one. We are going to keep a service bay to maintain our rental bikes, so obviously we are going to have the capacity to do that. It’s just whether we’re going to open it to the public to do service on customer bikes or not, I have not decided that yet.”
In the meantime, customers can land some great deals. Starting Tuesday, BioWheels will host a storewide sale, with discounted prices on everything from bikes and helmets to tools and equipment. The sale runs through Jan. 12, and BioWheels will officially close its doors by the end of the month.