"Any business needs to realize their customers are the community," Nic says, in an amiable, matter-of-fact way. He's not just saying it. He really believes it.
It's that refreshing, people-first attitude that has made Criterium Bicycles the largest independently owned bike shop in Colorado Springs. Since opening their doors in 1973, the Criterium team has focused on treating their customers like guests, offering them expertise in a friendly and approachable atmosphere. You won't find any monopoly of knowledge here, only bike enthusiasts eager to answer questions and help you learn more about cycling.
But Criterium's passion for serving the cyclists of the city goes way beyond the shop's four walls. Twenty-two years ago, they founded the Bike Clinic, an organization where homeless and working poor can get a bicycle built from recycled parts. The Criterium team continues to support the Bike Clinic, paying its rent and donating bike parts collected from the shop and it customers. They also teach classes on bicycle care and safety at local schools and businesses, do fundraisers for nonprofits like Kids on Bikes and Medicine Wheel, and sponsor bike races like the Starlight Spectacular and St. Patrick's Day rides.
"If you want cycling to grow and access to trails and more safe routes and places to ride, you have to get out in the community and be a voice for it," says Nic, owner of Criterium Bicycles.
It's not just the team's community involvement that sets Criterium apart; they're also forward-thinking in their energy use. They've switched many of their shop's bulbs to LED lights and have replaced one of their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system units with a higher efficiency system with plans to replace the other one too. And if Criterium employees walk or bike to work instead of using their car, they get a reward in the form of store credit.
The shop itself is a perfect jumping-off point for cyclists, right off the freeway and right on the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail – the main bike path through town. Many cyclists on the trail stop at Criterium to take a quick break, use the restrooms and perhaps grab a drink or snack. During the summer months, Criterium also has a community space for cyclists with wine, beer, snacks and games.
As Nic says, "There's a microcosm when people share a passion for something – like for cycling. Ultimately, that commonality gives us a common ground, and when we focus on that, it's a great way to bring people together."
It's easy to see why Criterium has been so successful for so long. It's the team's incredible involvement in the community that gives them their genuine and humble reputation. They just love biking and want you to love it too. They truly believe that biking is for everyone. Criterium betters the community of Colorado Springs every day. Now that's changing the current.
Criterium Bicycles is changing the current and you can too. Take our pledge on the home page and learn more about Criterium Bicycles at criterium.com.
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