Many students have started their own business as a class assignment. But few school projects continue for more than a semester. Jared Fisher, the owner of the Moab Cyclery, is an exception.
Fisher’s Escape Adventures, the parent company of the Moab Cyclery, started in 1992 as his senior class project and is still going strong.
“Escape Adventures started as a college marketing project at UNLV in Vegas,” Fisher said.
After finding a way to fuse his passion for biking with work, Fisher ran with the idea. Escape Adventures, which runs one-day and multi-day bicycle trips across the American west and in Canada, now has three stores; two in Las Vegas and the Moab Cyclery.
“Jared’s a madman,” laughed Jacques Hadler, the manager of Moab Cyclery who has worked with Escape Adventures since 2000. “He’s a mountain bike enthusiast. He’s a ranked trials rider. He’s an entrepreneurial guy.”
Though Fisher started running bike tours in Moab soon after he started his business in the early ‘90s, it wasn’t until early 2002 that he was opened a store in Grand County.
“We ended up buying Moab Cyclery as part of our adventures,” Fisher said.
The building in front of City Market that houses the Moab Cyclery began its life as a gas station (as is evident by the awning), then in 1988 it was converted to a bike shop by Kaibab Mountain Bike Tours.
Escape Adventures renovated the building just after buying it, increasing the shop’s size by around a third, Hadler said.
“As far as I know, it’s the second oldest bike shop in Moab, after Rim Cyclery,” he said.
The expansions were needed because Fisher wanted to have everything cyclists need under one roof. From rentals, to repairs, to tours, to shuttles, to retail, to showers the Moab Cyclery aims to be a one-stop-shop for bikers.
“I think we are actually the only shop in Moab that does everything in-house,” said Hadler, who began managing the shop in 2009.
Hadler felt that having all of these services offered by one company is one of the principal reasons that Moab Cyclery has been so successful. For instance, if a family comes in and wants to rent bikes and be shuttled out to a trail right away, Moab Cyclery will be able to organize the entire package without having to coordinate with any other businesses.
There are seven day tours around the Moab area that are offered by Moab Cyclery. But if a group is looking to do a different trip than those offered by Moab Cyclery they can accommodate and “do just about anything on a day tour,” Hadler said.
Currently, local tours and shuttles each make up about 15 percent and 10 percent of Moab’s Cyclery’s business respectively, while bike rentals and retail each make up about 35 percent, Hadler said.
Moab Cyclery is also one of only five outfitters that is permitted by Canyonlands National Park to guide trips on the White Rim Trail. The permit that Escape Adventures holds was inherited by Fisher when he bought Moab Cyclery from its previous owners.
And those permits are not easy to come by. Hadler said that Moab Cyclery’s permit is one of only two that has changed hands in the last 20 years.
“We are probably the third or fourth largest company that does trips along the White Rim,” he said. “We will do, depending on the year, roughly 10 trips.”
Moab Cyclery also offers a White Rim Trail day trip that ends in a jet boat ride back to Moab.
But Fisher said that cycling is almost secondary to his real mission; setting a positive example for how businesses can minimize their environmental impact.
“We just happen to like bicycles,” he said.
In working towards this goal Escape Adventures has renovated the Moab Cyclery’s building several times to add things like efficient water fixtures and solar panels on the building’s awning. The solar panels produce about 70 percent of the annual electricity need of the building.
Both Fisher and Hadler believe that the success of the Moab Cyclery has been integrally tied to Moab’s recent resurgence in the mountain biking world. A large part of that resurgence, said Hadler, has been the push by groups like the Moab Trails Alliance to create new trails.
“We are really just riding Moab’s coat tails,” he said.
“The popularity of the sport is growing. The number of people coming out to try it is growing,” said Kevin Dixon, a bike mechanic at the Moab Cyclery.
Fisher believes Moab Cyclery will continue to ride that wave.
“I see mountain biking in Moab really growing and I see us being a part of that,” he said.