2019 marks a decade of getting folks stoked on bikes, and our commitment to doing so is stronger than ever.
Epicenter was born out of owner Shawn Wilson's quest to promote the joy of riding. Like a lot of kids, Shawn pretty much grew up on a bike, and by the age of 15 he knew he wanted his life to be centered around cycling. He started racing downhill, going pro at 18 as a self-supported privateer with bicycle support from Trek.
During that time, the Santa Cruz native also commuted “over the hill” for a part-time gig at a bike shop in Los Gatos. At age 20, Shawn shifted his focus from racing to building a career in retail. He accepted a full-time position at that shop, and it wasn’t long before he became the store manager. When plans to co-own the store fell through, Shawn turned to home turf in his mission to center his life around bikes.
A Community Hub
Epicenter’s Aptos location was born out of that mission. Every time Shawn took to his local trails at the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, he eyed a vacant building adjacent to the renowned Aptos Post Office dirt jumps. The site not only offered easy access to Nisene, but — via a heart-pumping fire road climb — Soquel Demonstration State Forest (Demo) as well. Contemplating the riders who converged regularly in the big dirt lot next to the building, Shawn’s imagination went wild with visions of an active hub for cyclists in south Santa Cruz County.
He took the plunge and set a plan in motion. With fiancé Kazia Pennino, Shawn meticulously put together a business proposal, and a private investor backed their vision. A local friend of theirs, World Cup downhill racer and bike mechanic extraordinaire Evan Turpen, joined their efforts, and Trek came on board as their main bike brand. To further serve the community, Epicenter led the effort to transform a weed-choked spot right in their backyard into a public pump track, which was a vibrant, popular scene for kids and adults alike for several years.
Epicenter also partnered with local mountain biking non-profit Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) to bring the fledgling Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival to the vacant field between the pump track and dirt jumps. Epicenter continued to sponsor the event, which enjoyed several years at the Aptos location.
The pump track and Post Office jumps are sadly history now, as the land they were built on had been slated for development, and time eventually ran out on the free lease. But Epicenter’s Aptos store and its crew have indeed made their mark serving cyclists from all over who come to ride the area’s epic trails and roads.
Expanding the Community
Epicenter Aptos’ success inspired the opening of a location on the west side of Santa Cruz as well, in the spacious former Blockbuster store on Mission Street. Shawn and Kazia brought on local artist Steve Hosmer to paint an eye-catching mural along the parking lot side of the building. The image of a cyclist holding a surfboard hinted at a time to come when Santa Cruz County would be as renowned for cycling as for Santa Cruz. And so it is … and then some, thanks to the efforts of dedicated cycling advocates all over the county.
Shawn looks back at the past ten years and reflects, “For nearly a decade, Epicenter has been true to its mission to get more people on bikes. We’re all passionate about cycling. Bikes have been a huge part of my life and I can’t imagine a life without them. There’s just nothing like getting other people excited about bikes!”
A Commitment to Customer Care
We at Epicenter are proud of our positive, friendly environment with accommodating sales staff and knowledgeable mechanics. Both locations carry a wide range of bicycles and electric bikes, so you can rest assured that we have THE bike that’s perfect for YOU. We stand behind the brands we carry — including Trek, Electra, and Blix — as being those that ensure the most bang for your buck, offer the best warranty, and boast the coolest features in the industry.
Test rides are always free — no matter how many bikes you want to try out! We also offer the very best in accessories, clothing, parts, and service. Plus, we now offer an on-line reservation system for our bike rentals and a brand new shuttle service that offers a lift from our Aptos store to the world-class trails at Demo.
Celebrate with Us
Join us in celebrating our ten years as your local bike shop, and look for special deals and events throughout the upcoming year!
And if you're happy with the service Epicenter has provided you, the best “birthday gift” would be a positive review on Google and/or Facebook, and to vote for us as Best Bicycle Shop in the 2019 Good Times Best Of poll. We truly appreciate your business, support and friendship.