Buena Vista – Buena Vista’s new bike shop, Black Burro Bikes, opened its doors a few weeks ago in the South Main space that had most recently been home to Brick House Tattoo.
Owned and operated by Matt Wells and Lindsey Lighthizer, the shop is named after Lighthizer’s herd of racing donkeys.
“It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of people we know, a lot of people we don’t know,” Lighthizer said. “It’s been really fun to hang out in here and feel out what we’re going to be and how things are going to work.”
Black Burro, which the owners say is the first woman-owned bike shop in Chaffee County, intends to offer an approachable place to take your bike that’s at once community oriented and convenient for tourists, just a short distance from Buena Vista’s riverside trails.
“A lot of people come here for a weekend, they’re here for a couple days, they brought their own bike and had a minor incident on the trail that’s, in reality, a quick repair, but maybe they don’t have the tools, the parts or the experience necessary to do that,” said Wells, a mechanic at Boneshaker Cycles before starting Black Burro.
“We want someone to be able to bring their bike over here, go have a burger, go have a beer, come back, you’re bike’s ready, and you can enjoy the rest of your weekend.”
In addition to being a repair shop, Back Burro has a fleet of Trek rental bikes, including child-sized bikes, and is organizing weekly group rides to further foster the area’s already-vibrant cycling community.
The shop’s Tuesday evening ride is open to all comers, while on Wednesday the shop hosts a women-only bike ride.
“I know there are a lot of lady riders out there, and it would be cool if we could all come together and hang out,” Lighthizer said. “I want women to feel comfortable here, too, because I know a bike shop can be kind of a dude’s environment.”
Lighthizer currently splits her time between Black Burro and being the head cheese maker at Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy. Before that, she was involved in law, and before that, she raced for Trek Ohio for several years.
Wells has been in bike shops for much of his life, starting out sweeping the floors at Sycamore Cycles in Brevard, North Carolina, a gateway town to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Bikes, he said, have been at the core of every major life decision he’s ever made, from where to attend college to moving to Salida.
“I decided it was time to move west,” Wells said. “Back home the relationship between public land and private land is totally inverse of how it is out here. So that was really attractive to me: I love big, epic backcountry rides, and the options for that on the East Coast are very limited.
“We’re not bike snobs; we’ll take care of you no matter what.” Lighthizer said. “We don’t care what you know, we don’t care what your skill is.”
The Chaffee County Times in Buena Vista is published by Arkansas Valley Publishing Co., the parent company of The Mountain Mail.