Road 34 is the first ever true bike bar in the world
Road 34 started way back in 2000 when Willy Owens and myself (Will Overbagh) moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to attend Colorado State University. Over the years Road 34 has been a variety of different incarnations and designs all leading to where we are now. Situated at 1213 W. Elizabeth, Road 34 is the first ever true bike bar in the world. We feel we bring a lot to the table when it comes to living and being a part of the lifestyle that is ripping bikes, and puttin back booze. We care about these things and we’re good at it dammit. Along the way we’ve tried to make Road 34 as inclusive as possible, providing what we feel like is a welcoming joint with a great vibe that most people will enjoy. We specialize in not only the best bikes in the industry, but also the best beers and all of that coming in at some of the best prices around. If you’ve been by to check us out then you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t then you’re missing out of one of the best representations of the core of Fort Collins: Bikes and Beer. See you soon friends, Cheers!
So the brief history of Road 34 goes a little something like this-
My man Willy Owens and I were on a road trip down the East Coast of the United States on our way from Virginia to Daytona Beach, Florida for the 24 hours of Daytona. This was way back in the year 2000 but Willy and I knew we wanted to do something along the lines of opening our own business somehow, somewhere, someday. Well we decided that the first thing any successful business needs is a kick ass name so from the outset of that trip we decided we would be on the lookout for a hot, catchy name to call our joint. Somewhere around 3 or 4 am we passed exit 62 in South Carolina for the desolate country road 34. The sign was simple and it only took a couple looks back and forth between Willy and I to decide that it was on, we found it: Road 34. From that day forth everything we did was in the name of and literally named Road 34.
He and I made the decision to move to Colorado later that year and at complete random chose Fort Collins, CO. We rented the first house we looked at strictly based on what the previous tenants dog was able to do (retrieve beer from the frig) and the fun began. We brought our style and attitude toward mountain biking onto the scene in FOCO in a pretty big way immediately starting Friday afternoon SuperFly rides as well as the commencement of my maul into frame fabrication. The SuperFly’s were great and the frames were heavy, the years went by and we firmly established Road 34 as a local name synonymous with a damn good time and some pretty fast riders. Probably in that order….
In that time we moved to the house on Taft and I pulled the trigger on investing a little money to open a bike shop in the garage to accompany Road 34 Cycles which was just starting to gain a little steam. The community that surrounded 34 grew and grew to incorporate all kinds of cool cats in Fort Collins and beyond, bringing the Road 34 name more and more into the commonplace when ripping bikes and slamming booze was the topic of conversation. It must be noted that with this lifestyle and pace you’re going to chafe folks from time to time and we certainly had our share of run-ins as well as not-so-friendly ejections. Overall though our reputation and vibe was built on a solid foundation of dudes and chicks that ripped bikes fast, really fast. Somewhere in the fray that was the 4 year span of 2000-2004 Willy and I both graduated from Colorado State University and we managed to secure our first commercial storefront at 1205 W. Elizabeth St.
Road 34 Bike Shop opened in July of 2003 with the illusions of being the best damn beer fueled bike shop on the planet. The pictures tell the tale and looking back it’s tough to believe we survived on our meager inventory and good looks. When everyone said we were idiots for getting into the bike industry and we needed 100K to start we probably should have listened, we didn’t. We plugged away with days that not only brought no sales but were spent bundled up in winter coats in a bike shop with no heat, we couldn’t afford it. I would say that those first couple years were tough but that would be a lie, our crew had so much F’ing fun charging around the mountains of Colorado on two wheels that it made it easy to forget the stresses of starting a new business.
It was the spring of 2005 when taking the trash out one day that I finally put two and two together….
The beat down bar next door to Road 34 was going out of business and the for lease sign had been up on the building for 3 or so months at that point when it finally dawned on me that we needed to go ahead and combine the most natural of duos. We needed to buy the lease and build the first and only Bike Bar. That’s right, narrowly beating other potential renters to the punch, we were able to pitch our idea, have it scooped up by the property owners and it was on. We secured the space and I started to sorting out what the best floor plan and layout for a succesful bikebar. No templates to run from and no examples to cite made for some creative thinking on all parts and a few dozen PBR thirty racks later, some great input from the whole crew, the Road 34 you see today was born. The shop opened in it’s new space in October of 2005 with the Bar opening April 21st, 2006.
Since those days and the grand opening of the worlds first ever bike bar (correct me if I’m wrong, we researched the hell out of it) some things have changed, some things stay the same. We lost our main man Mexi in February of 2010 and Willy has moved on to the greener pastures of San Fran, but in large part the vibe remains the same. Road 34 is a joint committed to ripping bikes and knocking back booze. Some things just shouldn’t change. Some 12 years later people might call that spinning your wheels and to them I can soundly look them in the eyes and say, “Salud!”.