Mama Mia! That’s A Spicy Bike! An Interview With Chile Pepper Bike Shop
Action Sports: Interviews & Features
Chile Pepper Bike Shop
702 S. Main St. #2, Moab, UT
Mon.–Sun.: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
435.259.4688 | chilebikes.com
Chile Pepper Bike Shop, one of the premier stores for Moab biking, has everything you need to ride out into the fantastic southern Utah wilderness. Chile Pepper was established in 1995 with its current owner, Tracy Bently, having purchased the business in 2006. “I’d been in the bike industry since about ‘99 and the previous owner wanted to make a change, so I took the chance and here I am 15 years later,” Bently says about her initial decision to buy the shop. “I guess the previous owner just had a mysterious fascination with peppers,” she says nonchalantly about the shop’s kitschy, capsicum cognomen.
“I’d been in the bike industry since about ‘99 and the previous owner wanted to make a change, so I took the chance and here I am 15 years later.”
Moab is home to Utah’s more majestic natural sights, and one could comfortably imagine they were traveling through a small section of Mars as parts of the landscape change from an arid and pale tan to a blistering red during their trip. Peering through the Delicate Arch feels like looking through a quaint frame made of clay bones on the landscape. Home of many dinosaur bones and tracks, as well as the Canyonlands National Park, Moab is one of the finest outdoor tourist destinations in the United States. Rolling through spring, outdoor activities become a welcome respite from a particularly hibernated winter. Visiting the website for Chile Pepper, you can plan out an entire biking trip or tour just from the trailhead information listed on the site. Should you need a repair on your bike, the shop offers a full world-class tune up and general repairs.
Bently grew up in the midwest and moved out to Utah to work in the ski industry. After working for a few different resorts, she moved back to the midwest to get her degree. Dissatisfied with the lack of outdoor activities in that area, she moved back, this time to southern Utah. “I thought to myself, ‘What am I doing here?’,” Bently says with a laugh, recalling her thoughts on being back in the midwest and out of the western wilderness she had grown to love. “I’d have to say it’s the beauty of the desert—I’m still blown away after 22 years.”
At Chile Pepper Bike Shop’s brick and mortar, you can buy and rent from an array of retail and demo bikes which are normally used as rental gear and sold twice a year, each cycle suited for different types of riding around Moab. Many of the area’s best trails conveniently sit a short ride away from the shop, such as Captain Ahab, one of the favorite trails of Paige Stuart, the Assistant Service Manager at the Chile Pepper. Working at a busy and thriving shop like Chile Pepper, Stuart is totally immersed in the world of cycling. “What I love about this place is that there’s such a strong biking community, everyone bikes … hitting the dirt jumps a mile away from the shop after work. A lot of people pitch in to build jumps at Anonymous Park—it really becomes like a biking family,” Stuart says about her local community.
“I’d have to say it’s the beauty of the desert—I’m still blown away after 22 years.”
After over a year of being cooped up during the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to get outside is more than highly anticipated. As vaccinations continue and the end of the pandemic seems to be in sight for many, for many vaccinations aren’t as readily available and in turn it will be a while until safe, outdoor activities aren’t in demand. Chile Pepper has always been a hustling and bustling shop this time of year, especially so since the pandemic began. “A lot of my job is delegating tasks … It’s a very high-volume shop and this is our busy season. We do a lot of rentals. It’s very fast paced, so I’m doing a lot of multitasking,” says Stuart.
For more inexperienced riders, or for someone who needs a refresher, Chile Pepper partners with Moab Mountain Bike Instruction (MMTBI) to offer 90-minute clinics with in-depth instruction on how to become a better cyclist. The terrain around Moab is grand and wondrous, but it can also be challenging and dangerous. It wouldn’t hurt to try out one of these fun classes to better prepare yourself for all that the surrounding area has to offer.
“What I love about this place is that there’s such a strong biking community, everyone bikes … hitting the dirt jumps a mile away from the shop after work. A lot of people pitch in to build jumps at Anonymous Park—it really becomes like a biking family.”
Talking with Bently a bit more about her plans for the future and her shop, she says, “Getting back into traveling and building a home with my boyfriend in an old uranium miner house from 1948.” I for one can’t wait to travel again, and Moab will certainly be a top priority on the list of places to travel to. For more information or to plan a fun part of your trip to Moab with Chile Pepper Bike Shop, check out chilebikes.com.