Lizardhead Cyclery in Dolores has been named one of the best bicycle shops in the nation by Adventure Cycling magazine.
Owner Nicholas Tyson Jones was awarded the 2013 Braxton Bicycle Shop Award by the magazine, which featured his shop in its February issue.
The award honors the top bike shop that goes out of its way to provide unique services to bicycle travelers, explained Alison Riley, digital medial coordinator for Adventure Cycling.
"Nicholas had really compelling nominations, and they were backed up by the stories posted on Facebook of satisfied customers," Riley said.
Dolores is at the crossroads of two separate across-the-country bike routes, the Western Express Bicycle Route, and Great Parks South Bicycle Route. At the nexus is Lizardhead Pass, a remote area where Murphy's Law rules, often leaving stranded cyclists with broken-down steeds.
"In two separate instances, Nicholas closed his shop and drove to the pass to assist cyclists on a tour," Riley said. "He has earned a reputation for being very helpful, and he has only been open for two years."
In one case, he fixed a bike on the spot. Another time he brought the stranded cyclists back to his shop for repairs and invited them to stay overnight at his house, even cooking them a meal.
"Our shop motto is "We will make it happen' whether a custom build, getting you back on a tour, or tuning your bike for the weekend ride," Jones said, in between helping customers.
Jones' dedication to bicycle repair is steadfast. And his skills of refurbishing used bikes into perfect condition at a reasonable price has created a following. More than a few locals have boasted about picking up a used bike from Lizard Head Cyclery in good working order for $50 or even less.
His shop is 60 percent used, and 40 percent new, he said, and there is no pressure to spend a lot of money.
"I love improving what people have, refurbishing parts and reusing them," Jones said. "When your bike runs well, you are happier, you ride better and hit the trails more often. That is what it is all about, not the latest technology."
Repairs and upgrades do not have to be expensive, he adds. Taking apart used parts, repairing and cleaning them makes them as good as new, for a fraction of the cost of a new replacement.
"I'll never be that bike shop where you feel you have to buy something or get out," he said. "I am more of a community center."
So true. In the summer, customers and friends can be seen barbecuing on the front porch of his shop. Kids do their homework on the shop couch before going on BMX rides with Jones around town.
"I tell them you don't need an expensive bike to race the track in Cortez. I work with what they have so it performs as well as the best," he said.
Stop in and check out his well-stocked store of new and used bicycle parts, mountain bikes, road bikes, BMX, and cruisers. Jones also sells used snowboard and ski gear, and does equipment tuning.
"I've been busy, and it's nice to get the recognition of my passion for bikes with this award," he said. "We have a very supportive biking community here and excellent trails in our own backyard."
Lizardhead Cyclery is located in downtown Dolores on Highway 145. Just look for the crazy lizard sculpture made from bicycle parts. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The shop phone number is (970) 739-6085.