Biker's Goal Is To Build A Better Culture For Riders

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Nine months ago Mick Wolf brought to Payson its only bike shop.

Now he would like to create an outdoor recreational community to go with it.

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Mick Wolf

"My ultimate goal is to build a better culture here in Payson," he said.

Right now there are bicyclists, but they are all doing their own thing. I would like to create a place where everyone gets together.

Wolf started the shop in Payson shortly after passing through and noticing there was no outdoor store. He decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

"I knew Payson was the spot," he said. "There was nothing here."

Being nestled in between an area of three national forests and popular outdoor communities such as Flagstaff and Sedona, Wolf sees Payson as an ideal place to grow a business.

The current store is crammed full of bicycles, parts, hiking shoes, skateboards, books and anything else an outdoor enthusiasts could need or want.

Wolf plans to expand the shop next year into an empty store next door. A coffee bar along with seating, TVs and a shower will be added. The new space may also be used for spin classes.

It will be a place where people can hang out after a ride or meet up for their next adventure, he said.

A newly created online forum is another place where outdoor enthusiasts can meet up outside the shop. The forum is reachable from hikebikeandride.com.

"I have heard from so many people who are looking for stuff to do," he said. "Now they can go on there and find each other."

Along with expanding his shop, Wolf is creating two nonprofit organizations.

The first, Team Payson, is a race team to encourage people to start or continue racing. The team is not only for bikers but also runners and skateboarders.

The second, Obsessive Compulsive Adventurers (OCA), is for people looking to take an outdoor trip. The group will provide various non-guided outdoor adventures.

"It is like a bunch of friends getting together," he said. An Alaskan trip is planned for 2009.

OCA will also sponsor races in and around Payson. Money raised from from these events will go toward creating more trails in Payson and getting youth involved in outdoor activities.

Wolf says more non-motorized trails need to be created to accommodate bicyclists and runners.

There used to be non-motorized trails that were only a few feet wide, he said. Now most trails are used by quads and are several feet wide.

"A mountain biker wants a true trail experience," he said. "But the trails are as big as parking spaces."

In 2008, the 24-Hour Stampede Mountain Bike Race and in 2009-2010 the 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships, all dirt road races, are being held in Payson.

The races take place on a dirt loop where bikers compete to complete the most number of loops in 24 hours.

"The biggest irony is it is being held in a town that has zero single-track mountain bike trails in town," he said.

We need to create more trails. We can't take dirt roads and say they are trails.

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