Sedona, AZ was an awesome sensory blending experience and I’ll write up my impressions of the trails/territory in another installment. Primarily I’d like to mention the humble huts that make your riding experience all the more enjoyable, and in the case of a major mechanical, possible. Vik and I went to several different shops to see what the scene was like. The Bike & Bean is essential if you want great espressos, americanos, or just a regular coffee while you ogle the merchandise or solicit the staff for some trail advise. At Over The Edge you’ll find some good riding gear, friendly staff, cool bikes, and more good suggestions of where to ride. Absolute Bikes is fairly large and well stocked with the usual casual, friendly folks.
And then there’s The Fat Tire Bike Shop. I realize there are more bike shops in Sedona but I only had so much time. The Fat Tire Bike Shop (TFTBS), owned and skillfully operated by one Dave Cichan is a famous institution in mountain bike circles. I’ve had the pleasure to be employed by the industry that I love for over 12 years and I’ve never come across a shop that is like this one. If it were the only shop that I ever worked at then I’d be starting out at the top of the heap. Those of you reading this likely read other entries of Vik’s and have read his write-ups about TFTBS so I won’t get all deep in history. Rather I’ll relate my experiences and observations as a TFTBS first timer.
Always affable, and possessing a nonchalant professionalism, Dave will invariably take the time and ask the right questions to make your cycling experience more enjoyable and the service will leave you moderately stunned. At least that’s how I felt for a bit when I first walked in the door with Vik. I believe that it was back in 2009 that Vik last visited TFTBS. Immediately Dave recognized him and offered greetings to the both of us. After intros I felt like one of the tribe. Besides Dave the other thing I noticed right away was the absence of piles of merchandise. This is not to say Dave isn’t well stocked, he has everything he needs & likely what you’ll need as well. Rather than find out what you think you want & then try and push whatever he has that’s related on you, Dave will ask intelligent questions and then offer up a bull’s eye suggestion.
Many people came in the shop over the times I was there and invariably they were dealt with in a professional manner. Myself included. My poor bike took a great deal of thrashing and the door to TFTBS was always open. My rear tire wore out, the rear brake pads got contaminated, and my Rock Shox Motion Control damper started to leak. All theses issues were dealt with immediately with the greatest speed and assistance possible. Not just allotted to me, Vik and any other who wandered through the door were treated the same. Often I marveled at how this was possible, Dave puts in a lot of long days at TFTBS.
The worst issue I had, the leaking damper seal turned into one of the most satisfying experiences I had at Dave’s. The stock part wasn’t on hand but Dave put in a call on the red phone to Rock Shox HQ and had one shipped out immediately. On morning of our last day of riding we went over to TFTBS to see if the part was in. Through no fault of Dave’s it was not in yet. Rather than leave it at that, Dave dove into some drawers and managed to find what I needed.
Apparently what I needed was a gleaming, titanium/carbon fibre Motion Control unit of the BlackBox persuasion. That of you who don’t know, BlackBox is Rock Shox’s ultra high-end, factory only kind of goodness that us mere mortals can only slobber over. Before I could rub the dazzle from my eyes Dave had my Kona in the stand and was draining the factory oil.
Fresh oil at a different viscosity ( Dave’s recommendation ) and the new damper was in. “How much?” I asked and his response was “go ride it and see how it works for you”. Again, not your usual shop experience where stepping out the door without first leaving collateral is akin to going #2 without wiping after, it’s frowned upon. After what felt like a reversed payment agreement was reached Vik and I hit the trails.
Immediately I noticed the small bump compression sensitivity was vastly improved over the original, plastic damper and the fresh oil made for very smooth operating suspension. Even though I was physically beat after all the days of riding I was still excited to be riding in fantastic Sedona and having had the pleasure of dealing with Dave Cichan. As far as I’m concerned you couldn’t do yourself and your bike a bigger favour than going down to TFTBS for the very best that Sedona bike shops can offer. Be forewarned that TFTBS is a time vortex in the most wonderful way possible. Huge thanks to Dave for making a sweet holiday all the more excellent.