Recycled Cycles has been repairing and servicing used bicycles in Fort Collins for four decades. They also sell new and used bicycles, fitness equipment, accessories and parts. One of Recycled Cycles specialties is offering repair services for bikes of all shapes, sizes, makes and models. Their mission is to get every man, woman and child that wants to ride a bike on the road. It was so much fun getting to know more about this Fort Collins community staple after speaking with Dave Hudson, owner and founder of Recycled Cycles, in this week's community connections.
What do you love about Fort Collins?
We love that this small, little town has a BIG bike problem! Like thousands and thousands of bicycles from 1950’s cruisers to the latest carbon fiber mountain machines. Fort Collins is nuts about biking. This town has an unreal bicycle culture. We love the feeling you get when you cruise down the many bike paths, with the smells that come from the gardens, kitchens and fields of Fort Collins. Biking is not just something to do, it’s truly integrated into the culture of this quaint, growing little town.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Fort Collins?
I enjoy all of the wonderful walks all over town and the easy to challenging mountain hikes just minutes away. I also enjoy all the activities available at Horsetooth Reservoir like swimming, boating, water skiing and paddle boarding! There's also a myriad of restaurants for every palate.
What makes Recycled Cycles unique?
Recycled Cycles has been locally owned since 1978, in fact, we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary this year! From your child’s first bike to your latest ride, this local bike shop is so much more than just bikes, tubes and tune-ups. It is a meeting place where rides begin, stories are told, friendships are made, and laughter echoes off the walls.
It's been a cornerstone of this community that provides trained staff to keep your bike running smoothly, experts to answer your questions, and exudes passion for the sport. They work to keep your trails and roads safe, accessible and fun and are always there with a smile when it’s your time to play.
What is the story behind how you started Recycled Cycles?
Dave Hudson, owner and founder of Recycled Cycles, started working on bicycles in his parents’ garage in 1972. Completely self-taught, he personally bought, reconditioned, and sold over 600 bicycles while attending Arvada West High School. Dave paid the neighborhood kids to sand off the old paint, and painted them balanced across the family’s incinerator…remember when everybody burned their own trash?
After graduation, Dave moved to Fort Collins to attend CSU, where he earned his degree in Marketing while working at Campus West Bikes and Dave Cook (then Gart Bros, then Sports Authority, now Dicks Sporting Goods.) The first Recycled Cycles opened in 1978 about four miles south of town (where all of the flea markets are now located) selling nothing but repainted and reconditioned bicycles.
Fitness equipment was added in 1982, and after business expansion and contraction in the early 1990's, Recycled Cycles settled in their current location on South Mason Street. Recycled Cycles continues the tradition of selling reconditioned bikes while selling new bicycles from Raleigh, Schwinn, GT, Fuji, Breezer, Micargi, and Diamondback.
Tell us about yourself ...
Raised in a family of engineers and high achievers, I was expected to excel. Mom and dad encouraged me at age 14 to fix up a bicycle that my school buddy had crashed and sold me for $10. Dad helped me machine sleeves to replace the damaged portions and we brazed it back together. Then, while visiting my grandfather in San Diego we dumpster dove an old Schwinn Varsity 10 speed which we shipped back to Arvada, where I rebuilt it for my sister. I decided, hey…I kind of liked doing this! With a little mechanical work and some cosmetic touch ups I figured I could make a buck doing this. Mom taught me a simple accounting and inventory system (ledgers and index cards) which tracked what sold to whom, and if I made any money or not. Turns out I did. My family somehow allowed me to take over our detached 3-car garage, a 20’ x 40’ storage space in one of our buildings, and the actual unfinished front room of our house! I was too young to drive, so Mom drove me to Bencomo Sales, a Denver distributor, to purchase bicycles, parts, and tools. They gave me a small credit line, which I paid monthly when I turned 16. One year, about 1973, I bought 125 new Bridgestone, Kabuki, St Etienne, and C-Itoh 10 speeds. The truck delivering them to our place said he had never delivered so many bicycles to one place, let alone some kid’s back yard shop! I had it made in high school; the energy of youth, the freedom of being self-employed, the money to support my hobby of building and flying model airplanes and boats, and the cool Dave’s Bike Shop. In my family, everybody goes to college, so I sold my store inventory as I went north to Fort Collins (population 50,000) and CSU (enrollment 12,000). I pushed my way into BK-300 (marketing class) my sophomore year, which was great because the general studies thing was boring me to death. Ted Will was the professor and I’ll always remember him for his wit, knowledge, and presentation style. Bob Hoel taught BK-320 (retailing class) which cemented my lifetime career. I run into Bob every couple years, and I always thank him for his generous nature and enthusiasm. All of my classes, projects, accounting, research. Statistics, etc., focused on opening my one used bicycle store when I graduated. I wanted to get rolling with my life, so I pushed hard and graduated in 3 ½ years. I had saved $20,000 from Dave’s Bike Shop, and went to the SBA for a loan. They turned me down at first, but then called back saying they had a little money left in a special program, but I had to qualify. It was a minority-funding program…they said I was socially and economically disadvantaged because I was only 20 years old, so they granted me a $20,000 loan! The taxpayers got it all back, including interest. In December of 1977, as my contemporaries were putting on suits and interviewing for entry-level sales jobs with Xerox and IBM, I was wearing old jeans and building out and painting my first store at 6024 South College. They would stop by and be envious of my seemingly casual, self-employed life, and I would envy their guaranteed salaries and 40-hour work weeks. That’s pretty much how it all started and I have enjoyed each and every day in the bicycle business for the last 40 years.
What do you want visitors to experience at Recycled Cycles?
Recycled Cycles is not a high-end bike shop. We are an entry to mid-level bicycle store where anyone will feel comfortable. We are commuters, mountain bikers, road bikers, bmx'ers, and weekend warriors. We pull our kids in trailers, go on group rides, race, and cruise casually through the neighborhood. We love the fact that cycling even an hour a week can make you a happier and healthier person. We are here to get every man, woman and child that wants to ride a bike on the road!
Anything else you wanted to add…
Interesting fact: There has been a myth that the bicycle featured on the label of the New Belgium Brewing Company’s Fat Tire Ale once belonged to Dave. Well, yes, Dave did own the bike that was used. An artist from New Belgium visited Dave years ago to find inspiration for the brewery’s new label. An old red cruiser bike proved to be the inspiration, and the artist photographed and drew the bike on site. The rest is history...
Address: 4031 South Mason
Hours of Operation: Summer Hours 9am – 8pm (Mon-Sat) and 10am – 6pm (Sun)