All things bicycle can be found at Eagle River’s Alaska Velo Sport. Not only will you find high performance bicycles, but Velo offers service and repairs, and a commitment to the Eagle River community.
You might never be the proud owner of an automobile like a Ferrari 488 GTB or a Lotus Evora 400, but in the world of bicycles, you will feel like one when you enter Eagle River’s Alaska Velo Sport store at 11000 Old Glenn Highway.
With high-end bicycle brands like Scott and Raleigh, a full variety of components, parts and accessories; a staff with combined 60 years’ experience, Alaska Velo Sports is hands down the go-to place for biking enthusiasts, not only in the Eagle River – Anchorage area, but for all of Alaska.
“Every bicycle is unique and likewise, every customer is special to us,” comments Velo’s owner Eric Morrison. “We specialize in the care and feeding of our customers’ bikes, whether brand new or used. About 70 percent of our business comes from repeat customers.”
Many of Velo’s customers are members of the Arctic Bicycle Club who participate in the state’s biking competitions, averaging about 30 events per year, including triathlons.
Velo also sponsors races and individuals in the annual Road Race Series. A growing number of customers are commuters who each day during the snow-free months, bike from Eagle River to Anchorage and back.
“These folks have high expectations of themselves and their equipment, and that translates to high expectations of us,” says Eric. “We routinely spend hours and hours in precision tuning and adjusting to bring their bikes to peak condition.”
Labor of Love: Living in California, Eric spent a lifetime around high performance machines, from BMX racing, professional coaching in road racing to driving in Formula Car competitions. But after moving to Alaska in 1997, he returned to his first love: bicycles.
After working at several independent bike shops in Anchorage, he decided to up his game by attending the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon. At the school he completed the highest level—a 140-hour course in professional repair and shop operation. He opened Alaska Velo Sport in 2011 in Eagle River and has been at the present location for the past three years.
Eric’s staff includes Ed Doerr, a certified aircraft mechanic and flight instructor; Lyndon Thomas, an AP mechanic; and Brian Ohlen, a bicycle mechanic for the past 17 years. Brian recently rode a bike from Vancouver, B.C., to Mexico, some 1,700 miles, in 2-1/2 months. Eric’s teenage son Anthony, also an avid biker, helps out at the shop during summers.
“My staff makes this operation successful,” Eric says. “They are the most qualified bike technicians in the state and like me, they are in love with anything that has to do with bicycles.”
“I just rode the 14-mile Eklutna Lakeside Trail,” mentions staffer Brian Ohlen. “It’s a great ride on a mountain bike. For some more technical mountain bike riding, I recommend the Kepler-Bradley system up near Palmer or the Kincaid single track trails in south Anchorage. There are also new trails in the Mirror Lake area.”
“We have amazing daylight in the summer and mile upon mile of relatively flat, paved trails from Peters Creek into Anchorage along the Glenn Highway and then onto the coastal trail,” he notes. “I’m sure that someday, more paved trails will be joined and we’ll be able to ride from Palmer to Anchorage.” He adds that the 12-mile (one way) “Bird to Gird” ride along the Seward Highway is a spectacular paved route during the snow-free season.
Rave reviews: While this reporter was conducting interviews, tourist Collin Brown from Washington state and his son came in for some emergency bike repairs. They were traveling south to McCarthy the following day. Eric’s staff took the bike in right away – ahead of other orders.
“These people are great,” Brown said. “They are so accommodating. They are like missionaries when it comes to taking care of bicycles and passing along information. I was totally blown away.”
Community Outreach: Busy with the business, Velo still takes time to connect with our community. “We sponsor 10 athletes who race annually with the Arctic Bicycle Club, we are supportive of the Eagle River Nature Center, and participate in charity auctions as well as church events,” Eric says.
He adds that every autumn, Velo conducts a free bike maintenance clinic at its store and in winter, offers up to a 20 percent discount on bike tune ups.”
“Our bottom line,” Eric concludes, “is we sell and service high-performance bicycles, and we strive to help our customers become high-performance bike owners and recreationists. We believe that the more you understand and appreciate the bike you’re riding, the more satisfaction and fun you’ll have. It’s as simple as that.”
For a list of good paved bike trails in southcentral Alaska, go to traillink.com/stateactivity/ak-bike-trails/
For more information about Alaska Velo Sport, go to: alaskavelosport.com