CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — St. George has evolved as a cycling mecca over the years, and Bicycles Unlimited has grown with it.
“The shop has always been a full bike shop, carrying anywhere from children’s bikes up to high-end racing bikes, adult trikes and all models of e-bikes,” owner Mark McLaughlin said. “Our specialty is to carry a full line of bikes for everyone.”
The shop can order custom bikes such as tandem bikes or custom trikes. McLaughlin added that Bicycles Unlimited is currently stocked with a ton of inventory to prepare for the holidays.
Balance bikes are popular this time of year for children ages 2 1/2 to 4 years old.
“They’re a bike without pedals, known as one of the best ways for kids to learn how to ride a bike,” McLaughlin explained. “Kids can learn how to balance and steer without worrying about pedaling or braking.”
Over the years, the biking experience has expanded and resulted in families getting into the sport. Many families start with entry-level bikes and progress to more advanced options. Parents and grandparents are frequently buying bikes for their younger family members, resulting in a growing list of third-generation customers.
“We’ve had steady growth over the years,” McLaughlin said.
Biking popularity explodes in Southern Utah
Twenty-five years ago, the St. George area’s biking popularity grew alongside the popular Bear Claw Poppy Trail. Publications also started covering all the trails built in Washington County, which drew more people statewide. When the internet launched, cycling exploded with people visiting from all over the world, McLaughlin said.
“When tourists come in to rent bikes, they talk about planning their vacation to the area specifically because of our many trails,” he added.
Today, a broad spectrum of riders enjoy the sport.
“If you go to any park or trail, you’ll see a myriad of people go by; children on training wheels or balance bikes with parents on an assortment of bikes, groups of people dressed in serious bike gear and cyclists on recumbent
trikes,” McLaughlin said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, he estimates that the amount of people
cycling in the area has more than doubled. During the first four to six months of “lockdown,” there was a frenzy of shoppers at Bicycles Unlimited and other bike stores in Southern Utah.
Another thing that has impacted cycling in the area is the Ironman competition, McLaughlin pointed out.
“The competition brings in thousands of athletes from around the world.”
McLaughlin has been passionate about biking from an early age. As a young teenager, he often spent hours riding each day after school. He was always interested in upgrading his bike parts. His first “real bike” was a Schwinn Continental. At the time, it was considered a light road bike and weighed 42 pounds; 15 more pounds than the full-suspension mountain bike he rides today.
The longest ride he took spanned from St. George to Salt Lake City and back via Interstate-15 and U.S. Route 89. His most challenging event was serving as a mechanic and advisor for a customer during a nonstop 44-hour Race Across America qualifier.
Protect your cycling investment with regular service
Bicycles Unlimited is known for its outstanding repair department. How often one uses their bike determines how often it needs to be serviced. If you ride often, the staff recommends a general cleaning every one to three months depending on use. Start with a wipedown of the bike and cleaning of the drivetrain. This includes use of degreaser and reapplication of chain lube.
McLaughlin recommends a basic tune-up service about every two to three months. Bicycles Unlimited offers a basic tune-up that will check your bike for safe operation and any needed adjustments. These adjustment checks include the shifting system, brake adjustment, cables and housings, wheels, brackets and bearings. Full-suspension bikes will also have their bolts and fasteners checked and torqued to your specific bicycle’s manufacturer specifications.
A major tune-up service needs to be done once a year. Bicycles Unlimited’s major tune-up includes the basic tune-up and more, such as a deep clean of the chain, rear cassette and crankset.
McLaughlin is the third owner of Bicycles Unlimited, which originated in 1973. He purchased the business in 1984 and has expanded the building twice. He has seven employees, two of whom have over 15 years of experience in bike repair.
Stop by Bicycles Unlimited, Southern Utah’s leader in bike sales and service, in the heart of downtown St. George – “Utah’s Dixie” – and find the bike that fits you best.
Written by STEPHANIE DEGRAW for St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- Bicycles Unlimited | Address: 90 S. 100 East, St. George | Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Telephone: 435-673-4492 | Email: [email protected] | Website.
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