Biking fills the skiing void during summer
As spring turns into summer, Park City residents are tweaking their cycling gear in anticipation of hitting the slopes, again.
"We’re just cranking out the repairs this time of year," said Vince Byman, owner of Park City Rides, a mountain bike and snowboard shop.
Since 1998, Byman has guided people on mountain biking tours in Southern Utah through his business called Summit Adventure Company. A couple years ago, he moved to Park City and started Park City Rides. He came here for better schools, "culture, community, and there’s a lot more going on here," he said.
"I needed to relocate and start a family," Byman said. "The area needed a shop in (Kimball Junction) and it was easy to open one here."
Now he guides various trips through Park City and Southern Utah year-round.
"We offer everything from snowshoe touring, cross-country skiing to road and mountain bike tours in the summertime," Byman said.
Park City Rides carries a complete line of road and mountain bikes for all ages and abilities, along with snowboards, skis, other winter gear and apparel. The store also runs as a full service maintenance shop and guide shop.
"There’s a pro downhiller working for us in the bike shop. We do high-end suspension and repair, we turn our repairs around quickly," Byman said. "We are growing our shop. We have a road team and downhill team."
Recently, Byman has received some national publicity. He’s been featured in various national bicycle magazines and was awarded the "Guide of the Year" by a vacation guide, he said.
Most of his compliments pertained to the trips he does through the backcountry of Utah and Arizona including trips overlooking the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Escalante.
"We do multi-day, all inclusive, road and mountain bike tours in Zion’s Canyon in southern Utah," Byman said. "We do both camping and lodging depending on the route."
Byman said most of his trips are "roughing it" camping trips where he shows people awe-inspiring areas of the desert that they haven’t seen before. Participants should expect to travel 20-30 miles a day on the mountain trips and 50-75 miles a day on the road trips.
"It’s not your typical type of vacation," Byman said.
A lot of his experience is in the southern part of the state, but he’s found similar enjoyment from breathtaking trails around Park City.
"They both have a really good reputation for their off-road riding in particular," Byman said. "Zion has a lot of trails adjacent to the park and Park City has a very progressive trail building and network of trails just right out the back door. Accessibility is great for Park City."
Byman doesn’t feature multi-day tours in Park City, but he does guide people on day and half-day trips and offers kids’ camps here.
"The (summer) tourism is not quite the same as Zion," Byman said.
The multi trips provide all the meals and rentals. The day trips in Park City provide lunches, and the shop has a full array of equipment to rent. Byman said the trips are geared toward those that are "fit beginners or athletic beginners."
"It’s for a lot of really athletic people that aren’t necessarily cyclists but are fit enough to adapt to a rental bike," Byman said.
To continue running a mountain biking business in Park City, Byman started the bike store.
"I didn’t have much interest in a retail shop until I moved up here," Byman said.
Byman said there are a lot of recreational riders in town, which he thinks is a growing trend.
"The way that trails are being built around here, there are more accessible places in this town," Byman said. "People move here, and hear about it and want to buy a bike and try it."
Due to other competition, his first year with Park City Rides was difficult but now, he says, the business is growing well.
Byman’s bike background comes from racing both mountain bikes and road bikes. He said he’s medically trained in the backcountry and has strong experience with planning and organizing safe trips.
"I’m pretty good at it," he said. "It takes a lot of hard work."
While he admits, taking his passion for biking and turning it into a business has changed his one-time hobby, he said "it’s still rewarding being out and pursuing something in Utah and the outdoors and making a living at it."
"It’s a nice office," Byman said. "I don’t have anyone telling me what to wear to work."
He’s lost interest in racing bikes, but, he said, he’s pursuing a "similar type of effort" in creating multi-day backcountry tours for his clients.
"It’s some of the best riding they’ve done in their life," Byman said. "It’s rewarding getting people from point A to point B in spectacular fashion. It’s still riding bikes through spectacular country in Southern Utah."
Park City Rides is located at 1571 West Redstone Center Dr., Suite 120. For more information on Park City Rides or Summit Adventure Company, call 632-1876 or log on to http://www.parcityrides.com
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