Epicenter Cycling - Santa Cruz Bike Shops

Santa Cruz Locals Making a Difference

1730 Mission St, Santa Cruz 831.423.9000 - 8035 Soquel Dr, Aptos 831.662.8100

Epicenter Cycling, with bike shops in Santa Cruz and in Aptos, is your home for Trek bicycles, electric bicycles, bicycle rentals, bicycle repairs, bicycle fitting, and bicycle service. We carry electric bikes, pedal-assist bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, urban bikes, comfort bikes, dirt jumpers, women's bikes, kids' bikes and beach cruisers from Trek Bicycles, Electra Bicycle Co., Vintage Electric, Blix Bicycles, Fit Bike Co., Wallerang, and Haro. Our friendly and knowledgeable crew is here to assist you seven days a week. Locally owned and operated by family and friends.

Redwood Rosies Women's Cycling Group

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WOMEN'S CYCLING GROUP

We're excited to announce the debut of the Epicenter Cycling Redwood Rosies Facebook Group — a cycling group for female cyclists of all levels and ages. We'll be posting shop events and rides, and encourage members to post their rides as well.

Our objective is to support the women's cycling community in Santa Cruz County. Mountain biking, road riding, pump track sessions, cruisin' around town, commuting to work ... let's spread the joy of cycling!

Join the Redwood Rosies Facebook group here. Sign up for the Redwood Rosies email list here.

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Save Up to $300 on E-Bikes in January

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E-BIKES ON SALE
January 1 - 31

Embrace the Cycling Lifestyle! Save up to $300 on electric bikes from Trek, Blix, Vintage Electric, Wallerang, and Electra.

Every bike purchased from Epicenter comes with unlimited FREE tune-ups, a professional sizing, and accessory discounts.

Check out our range of e-bikes here, or come on by to try one out. FREE test rides!

Cam McCaul and Casey Brown Make First Ever Mountain Bike Descent of Corbet's Couloir

Anyone who has ever skied or snowboarded Jackson Hole (WY) knows just how nerve-racking it can be to send it into the infamous Corbet's Couloir, even in the best of conditions. Doing it in icy conditions on mountain bikes is nothing short of insane, and that's exactly what Teton Gravity Research wanted to do.

This past spring, Trek riders Cam McCaul and Casey Brown attempted this first ever mountain bike descent of the double black diamond ski run — one of the most legendary and challenging ski runs in the world.

How to describe the lines McCaul and Brown threw down? Sketchy, heavy, and borderline suicidal all come to mind ... and ultimately, the end result was jaw-dropping.

Vid clip from Teton Gravity Research's 2017 ski film Rogue Elements, presented by REI.

MBoSC 2025 Strategic Plan

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Our local trail building and advocacy organization — Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) — recently released its 2025 Strategic Plan and Vision, which speaks to an amazing future for mountain biking in Santa Cruz! Check it out at mbosc.org/2025vision.

Donations to this non-profit will be matched by a generous donor up to $30k. Its goal is to raise $60k with this campaign ... let's help them get there!


More about MBoSC (from its website):

Since 1997, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) has worked to support, preserve, and expand trail access and responsible mountain biking in Santa Cruz County.

We are recreational riders, trail builders, racers, bike industry professionals, and general mountain bike nuts who promote legal and sustainable mountain bike access through trail building, races, events, and collaboration throughout our county.  Strategic partnerships with land managers, other trail users, the local bike industry, and enthusiastic volunteers help MBOSC do what we do best—build cool trails.

MBOSC was originally founded to raise funds for the expansion of Wilder Ranch State Park through the purchase of Gray Whale Ranch. Today, MBOSC is made up of hundreds of members and volunteers who contribute hard-earned funds and thousands of hours of effort to support sustainable mountain biking. Nearly all funds raised go toward MBOSC’s advocacy and trail-building efforts. Operating overhead is less than 6 percent of revenues.

MBOSC boasts an impressive number of achievements and current projects. We welcome you to explore all that’s happening with mountain biking in Santa Cruz County.

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Women's MTB Ride with the Redwood Rosies

WOMEN'S MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE
Stay tuned for the 2018 Redwood Rosies schedule! We've got some fun rides and events in store for you!

As always, your ride leaders will be committed to showing you a wonderful time and are happy to support all levels of riders. (Beginner riders are welcome – but must have some experience riding off-road).

Free Repair / Maintenance Clinic

FREE BIKE REPAIR & MAINTENANCE CLINIC
Tuesday, December 12 • 6pm
1730 Mission Street, Santa Cruz

We're excited to announce we're reinstating our monthly FREE bike repair and maintenance clinic. Swing by our Mission Street shop on the second Tuesday of each month with your bike and questions!

We're Hiring!

Help create a better world one cyclist at a time!

Do you live to make a difference? Have you ever contemplated a world where people are healthy, active, community oriented, and truly happy? We have. At Epicenter Cycling, a family run local business and the only multi-location cycling shop in Santa Cruz, we are making a difference. We see cycling as a way to create positive change in the lives of those we meet. We are committed to inspiring and educating new riders and to supporting our local cycling community.

We know that cycling has profound lifelong benefits, and that, for many, the first step toward a new lifestyle begins with buying a bike. That’s why our experienced sales people are the best at finding the bike that’s perfect for any rider, while promoting the benefits of buying a new bike. We live to make and difference and to get people on great bikes.

If your interests align with ours, please send us an email at edeshaies@epicentercycling.com telling us about yourself!

Epicenter Crew Takes Tahoe

A few weeks ago, owner Shawn Wilson called me over and asked “Do you want to ride Tahoe next Thursday?”. So there I was at 5:30am on a Thursday morning, scrambling in my garage to find and extra tube and the match to my glove. I put my day pack on my back and swung my Camelbak around my belly, hopped on my saddle and pedaled in the dark over to the Mission Street shop. To my own surprise I was the first to arrive, questioning whether I should run over to the 24 hour Ferrells, but concluded that I didn’t want to keep riding around on a mountain bike in the dark with packs on my backside and frontside. Soon enough everyone arrived and we all gathered in excitement, as we were about to drive to Lake Tahoe, ride Mr.Toads Wild Ride, a trail only the boss-man had ridden before, and return to Santa Cruz all in one day. It was sure to be an adventure. We barely hit any traffic and arrived to the trailhead some time past 10am.

First we shuttled Armstrong and Corral. It was incredible! Armstrong was a glimpse into the rocky loose terrain we would later encounter on Toads, while Corral was full of berms and tabletops. The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship built Corral a few years ago and you can tell it was built by professionals- it is the perfect example of a sustainable, fun, and accessible trail. Bravo, SBTS!

After our second lap on Armstrong and Corral, we drove to the top of Armstrong and scrambled up the climb to Toads. The climb was about 8 miles long, and I think I dismounted more on the climb than I did on the descent due to lack of momentum. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire climb. It was flowy- no steep pitches. It was mostly in the shade, too!

Once at the top we were all excited and a bit antsy for the descent. I had heard so much about Toads beforehand- that it was difficult, that I might have to walk sections. It was like sailing through a gorgeous alpine paradise, with changes in terrain and habitat with every drop in elevation. I think I laughed and cheered the entire 6 miles down. I could not stop smiling. My teeth were caked in brown, high elevation dust. It was non-stop fun, and one of the best trails I’ve ever ridden. The first half was mostly rocky sections that never seemed to end. Nothing was extremely steep, just technical. We crossed through several meadows and breathtaking vistas. Unexpectedly, near the bottom it became very flowy and loose with long, wide turns, and a few staircases. I can’t express enough just how fun it was to ride such a long descent with so much variation in discipline.

We finished riding around 6pm and headed to the lake to jump in. Magically, a reggae concert was just starting on the beach. We sat in the water, letting the waves wash over us, and looked around at each other grinning. Without saying anything at all, we knew we had just shared a day in paradise.

Trail Dog's First Trail Experience

After many a mornings cruising in De La Veaga park, it was time to go on a real trail experience together. Meet Iva Belle, my 6-month old trail-dog-in-training. We loaded up the car, picked up our buddy Lawrence, and headed down to Cuesta Ridge in San Louis Obispo. With only a 2.8 mile climb up a paved fire road, we were ready to descend and boy was my dog fast! She totally outran my bike for a good 2 miles. It was impressive watching her take the outside line on berms and running from side to side of the trail. The last part of the trail was called "The Eucs," which had amazing wood-berm features and small jumps, which we lapped two...okay three, maybe four times because we couldn't get enough! On the way out, we got to descend back down the 2-mile paved road. Iva Belle was lagging behind, wiped out from her day of adventuring. She found herself a nice comfortable spot on my lap, resting her face on the handlebars enjoying a nice breeze of cool air hitting her face all the way back to the car. From there we exchanged high-fives and headed to SLO Brew to share some beers.

-Courtney Short

Brandon Semenuk 100 Seconds

Semenuk sets the world on fire in 100 seconds of awesome, combining unparalleled slopestyle talent, blazing speed, and unique terrain. You're going to want to watch this one at least twice!

This video was filmed on the old X-Games BMX downhill race course at Woodward West in California following a major revamp by Semenuk and crew. Man, this is good!

Credit: Revel Co // Red Bull

Refresh Your Ride

Comfort on Contact : Candice Covello

Here are some inexpensive and easy things you can do to personalize the feel of your ride where your bits meet your bike. Easy on your body and easy on your wallet.

HANDS

Let's talk about your hands. They're important. They do the shifting and lifting on climbs and descents. You want those arm-stars to be comfortable  and ready to rock and roll.

Gloves: I ALWAYS recommend wearing gloves while riding, even when it’s hot. Gloves will help your sweaty hands stick to the bars! Plus, if you ever crash (it happens to the best of us) you want to make sure those suckers are covered. Hand abrasions suck.

Grips and Bar Tape: Try them before you buy them! A few things to consider when you’re looking for new grips and bar tape are width, texture and material. For MTB, cruiser and recreational bikes you will find all kinds of different styles of grips – the best way to tell if you'll like it is to feel it. Bar tape for your road bike is a little easier. Bar tape is usually made of cork or foam and has different thicknesses and colors.

SEAT

Although your legs do most of the work on a bike, your booty takes the abuse. A good pair of shorts and the right saddle can make all the difference in the world of comfort.

*I won’t go into ALL of the details of saddle fit, because most saddle fitting procedures depend on the shape of your... “sit”... region… which varies greatly from person to person. What usually doesn’t vary too much is the width of the sits bones and that is a great place to start.

Width: Saddles come in different sizes! We have this handy tool at the bike shop that you can sit on and it measures the distance between your sits bones. Always get measured before you buy.

A saddle that is too wide will push your sits bones apart, which can cause bruising. A saddle that is too narrow can cause damage to your soft tissues. Both of those are bad. And unpleasant. So come in... we can measure your sits for FREE!!!

Curvature and Density: Whoa – big words. Okay, so you know how you see those hard-core roadies and mountain bikers and they’re on these little bitty seats. Well… a narrow, flat and hard saddle can be more comfortable than a big squishy gel saddle, depending upon the kind of riding you do. It’s all about what position you’re riding in! Check out these Bontrager saddle fit diagrams:

Dense saddles seem hard, but often they are more supportive than a squishy seat – AND they help to keep your circulation flowing through your seat region.

If you’ve tried a dense saddle and you wish you had a bit more padding, try a pair of padded shorts. The benefits of padded shorts significantly outweighs the dorky feeling you get when wearing them. Because the pad moves with your body they help keep blood moving allowing for proper circulation while riding! Good stuff.

Cut Outs: Have you seen those saddles with the hole in the middle? That hole is called a “relief zone.” I have a saddle with a cut out and it works great for me, but they don’t work for everyone.

Be sure to give your saddle a try before you commit to it. Saddles have a break in period of approximately ten good rides. Some manufacturers, like Bontrager, offer a comfort trial. You can buy a Bontrager saddle, ride on it for 30 days, and if it doesn’t feel right, return or exchange it and try another on.

Saddle Fit: Once you’ve picked the right saddle, you want to make sure it’s installed on your bike at the right angle. If you’re not sure how to set up your saddle, swing in. We offer saddle fit options. Click here to view pricing.

FEET

There are two types of pedals that we’ll go over – clipless and flats. Certain shoes are designed to work with different types of pedals, and I touch on that too.

Clipless Pedals: Clipless pedals are equipped to work with certain shoes. A little metal bit on the bottom of your shoe “clips” into a receiver on the pedal. This allows you to lock your feet into a comfortable position and it allows you to use your legs to pull up on the pedals as well as push down. Pulling up and pushing down gives you more control of your cadence, and it works different muscles. I highly recommend using clipless pedals if: you ride long distances, you have knee or leg discomfort while you ride, you want to maintain an even cadence.

Clipless Shoes: There are two types of clipless pedals: road and mountain. Road cleats mount to your shoe with 3 bolts, they are not really designed to walk around in, so if you plan on walking a lot, try mountain bike pedals and shoes. Mountain style cleats mount to your shoe with two bolts, and mountain style shoes also have more tread on the bottom so it’s easier to get of the bike and walk. This picture shows road shoes vs. mountain bike shoes.

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Flat Pedals: Also called platform pedals… these are great for all types of riding.

Shoes for Riding Flat Pedals: You can wear all kinds of shoes with flats. My FAVORITE shoes for flats are Five Tens. They have a really grippy sole, so it kinda feels like you’re clipped in. AND they have a nice rigid sole, so you don’t get sore feet.

Bikes Change Lives

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Epicenter Cycling loves sharing inspirational cycling stories on our website and on social media.

Follow us on Facebook or read the posts below.

Have a story that you'd like to share? 
We'd love to read it! Check out the info below the "Stories" section on this page, and find out how you can inspire others for the New Year!

 


Stories


Let's Hear Your Story...

Share your story and inspire others to take up cycling and turn their lives around! If you don't have time to write your story, we can write it for you. All you have to do is schedule an interview with us via email. Please send your info. to ccovello@epicentercycling.com.

Here are some questions that could be good starting points:
 
- Was there a moment in your life when you experienced the switch from a "person who owns a bike" to a "cyclist or bike" person'?
- Is there a rad person in your life who you never would have met without bikes? 
- What's your favorite only-accessible-by-bike place in the world and why?
- Or, more generally, why bikes?

Those are just suggestions, feel free to branch off as you please. Also, if you have pictures of you and your bike, those will be useful.

Bicycle Shuttle and Tours

Shuttle Smith Adventures offers bike shuttles daily from Epicenter Cycling to the top of Forest of Nisene Marks, where you can ride the challenging singletrack loops of Soquel Demonstration Forest, one of the leading freeride and cross-country destinations of Northern California. When you’re done at Soquel, you’ve got nothing but downhill awaiting you — a whole 15 miles of descent at the speed of your choice, back to Aptos Village just south of the city of Santa Cruz. (831)234-3383 Santa Cruz Bike Tours offers guided sightseeing tours for folks of all skill and fitness levels. Private tours daily, including winery, brewery and culinary tours, plus scheduled public events. (831) 722-BIKE (2453)

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Girly Ride - Girls Rock Event Recap

We love supporting the ladies and building their stoke!

We were proud to host the June Girls Rock - Santa Cruz MTB Group ride on Saturday June 6, 2015 at our Aptos store. We kicked the morning off with breakfast and coffee, then Velocity Bike Parks took nearly 20 beginners under its wing for a skills clinic while Shuttle Smith Adventures gave 20 lucky intermediate and advanced riders a lift up to SDSF to catch the flow. Intermediate Nisene and SDSF self-shuttlers bumped the total number of women up to somewhere around 60!

Trek Bicycle offered their awesome demos and we served up delicious BBQ and other goodies for the hungry dirt pedalers upon their return. Bell Bike Helmets – thanks for the sweet raffle prize!!! Special gratitude to the volunteer ride leaders and sweeps who make these supportive fun events happen.

Check out this slideshow of photos from the event!

For more information on Girls Rock events, click here. To be in the loop about our Girly Ride and other events for women, click here.

Adventure Sports Journal : Fat Tire Freedom

We're excited to report that our lead mechanic, Sarah Hansing, is writing the Fat Tire Tuesday blog for Adventure Sports Journal. Be inspired, read on!

First, the good news: I can still fit in my cycling kit. I know it may seem like a small victory, but I was skeptical at best, and very very grateful for elastic and lycra’s stretchy qualities.

Prior to today, it had been over a month (33 days, to be exact. 792 hours, if you want to translate it into how it felt) since I had gotten to pedal my mountain bike on some real live honest to goodness singletrack. Because life happened. The same way it happens to us all: First, the holidays and the family time and expectations and over-commitments I make. every. single. year. Maybe I help “celebrate” this most joyous of seasons with an extra drink, or a cookie or three more than I would usually have. And maybe there is also cake involved.
…. “Um. I think we’re lost.” The utterance of this sentence probably would not come as a huge surprise to many people who know me; I think it is safe to say that very few people would gasp in shock.

But for a moment, it felt very, very uncomfortable to acknowledge that we didn’t quite know where we were. Or how far it was back to the car (and by extension, the food and beer that was in the post-ride plans). As humans, we like our familiarity. We embrace our routines, and find comfort in consistency. And being lost in what felt like the middle of nowhere, with the day waning, a questionable amount of water left, and no functioning GPS felt like the OPPOSITE of comfortable.

SDSF Flow Trail Grand Opening - Recap

Yay, the SDSF Flow Trail is now open ... all four miles of it!! We are super proud to have sponsored the creation of segment three, one of the first two segments to open in 2014.

On Saturday, May 9, 2015, we were stoked to join Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC) for the Grand Opening celebration of this eagerly anticipated trail. The event included food and drink, live music and a volunteer raffle.

Go ride the flow – your cheek muscles will get as much of a work out as your legs from the non-stop ear-to-ear grin! Be sure to pack enough water and allow time and energy to climb in and out from the trail. SDSF can get very busy, so watch your speed and look out for other riders. And consider carpooling or shuttle up from Aptos with Shuttle Smith Adventures!

Ride with Katie Compton - Recap

Twenty riders gathered on Saturday April 23, 2015 for a fun day of riding and camaraderie with Trek pro cyclo-cross racer Katie Compton.

We kicked the day off with a 10 am meet & greet that included coffee, bagels and fruit at our Santa Cruz location (1730 Mission Street). Then, we hit the trails for a solid 25 mile ride that included the lovely Emma McCrary Trail and beyond. Mother Nature graced us with a sprinkling of moisture the night before which made for sublime trail conditions. Hello hero dirt!

After the ride, we converged back at the store for BBQ from Mission Street BBQ. Smiles for miles and then some!

Young and Killing It : Shop Owners Win U35 in BRAIN Magazine

The Santa Cruz, Calif., area was a crowded retail market when former NORBA downhill racer Shawn Wilson opened Epicenter Cycling a stone’s throw from the legendary Aptos Post Office Jumps in 2009.

“We have a lot of stores here, but I saw opportunity on the customer service side and the brand side [with Trek]. I really built my whole business off of customer service. That’s a big focus for us — positive people stoked on riding and getting other people healthy,” said Wilson, who opened a second Epicenter location in Santa Cruz in 2012.

Serving the local riding scene has also been a principal focus for Wilson and fiancée Kazia Pennino, donating funds to the new Soquel Demonstration Forest Flow Trail and working with events and projects including Santa Cruz Open Streets, Bike to Work Week, Surf City AIDS Ride, Trek Dirt Series Camps, Girly Ride, Share the Love Kids’ Bike Drive and Epicenter’s own Ladies’ Night.

The couple also helped advocacy group Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz launch the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival, which draws thousands each April for a weekend of jump jams, bike demos, skills clinics, a poker ride and races on the pump track Wilson built on a vacant lot behind Epicenter’s Aptos location.

“We’d rebuild the pump track every year so we had a fresh course for people to race during the mountain bike festival. We’d bring the tractors in and give the community something new to ride,” Wilson said. That tradition ends this year with the festival’s sixth edition — the pump track, which served as an inspiration for other tracks developed around Santa Cruz, and the Post Office Jumps were both demolished by the property owner in February to make way for a new residential/retail development. Locals, including Wilson, are hopeful that the public park planned for the new development will include something for mountain bikers.

The pump track “was a good example for the community. I get people calling all the time asking how we did it. People wanting advice from all over Oregon and Washington — the East Coast even,” Wilson said. “We got a lot of exposure and people now visit Aptos for mountain biking. So hopefully we can keep something permanent in Aptos village for the long term.”

In the meantime, Wilson is awaiting regulatory approval for the planned Velocity Bike Park in nearby Felton, where Epicenter will be the official retailer.

“It’s going to be a huge thing for the bike community: one of the only bike parks open year-round,” he said.

Why We Ride

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Why Do We Ride?

There are times when it feels like a massive victory just making it through the day with most of our to-do list checked off. But there is HOPE! There is a solution for simplifying your life. A solution so fun, so glorious, that you may not have even considered it. That solution is… (drumroll, please)... bicycles! This might seem like a pretty dramatic claim, but it’s the honest truth; people just like you have relied on cycling for transportation, happiness, health and fitness since the early 1800’s. Long before cars, there were happy cyclists eschewing ye olde horse and buggy for the two-wheeled wonderment and convenience of a bicycle!

Bikes can be your car replacement, getting you through traffic and to work faster. Added bonus: you no longer have to ‘feed’ your car expensive gasoline, you get to feed yourself your favorite fuel to get you where you want to go! So nom down a delicious pastry or breakfast burrito. Its fuel in the tank, after all.

And have no fear, working professionals and students - with the right cycling gear you’ll always arrive clean and dry. You’ll also be happy! You got your morning exercise in, your endorphins are making you giddy, you didn’t have to sit in gridlock, and you might’ve even just earned your second breakfast!

Bikes can be that extra push to take a picnic in that park near your house. Bikes let you pedal your stress and worries away, the healthy way. Bikes give you a sense of freedom, exhilaration and motivation. (Remember that feeling you had as a kid? Yep. That.) And bikes will have you itching to get outside and discover some of the most beautiful scenery, best adventures, and coolest people this planet has to offer.

This is why we ride. At Epicenter Cycling, we believe in the importance of cycling. We’ve seen family members get healthy and strong riding bikes. We’ve seen our friends go from novice to pro. We’ve seen our children learn coordination and balance. We’ve experienced the smallest to the most extreme benefits of cycling, and everything inbetween. It’s addictive for all the right reasons. Bikes are the kind of thing you want to share with EVERYONE.

We want you to know how healthy and happy and free you can be on two wheels. We want to spread the great sport of cycling as far and as wide as we can. The best part? There are so many different types of bikes and ways to ride, everyone can experience the benefits that bikes have to offer! Get your stress levels down and your happy levels up - ride for transportation, for convenience, for fitness, and for fun. Ride for YOU.