Professional mountain biker Evan Plews has lived in the Wenatchee Valley for only nine months, but he’s got the place pegged.
“What’s exciting about Wenatchee,” he said, “is that people here love where they live and want to invest in it.” Of course, he’s talking about the area’s network of mountain bike trails and the big plans by a couple of groups to develop even more.
Plews is a mountain biker through and through — sells bikes, fixes bikes, designs bikes, tests bikes, promotes biking — and his new Ridge Cyclesport, which opened in February, has quickly become a hub for mountain biking in the region.
The 37-year-old pedaler and his wife Caroll (a manager at Central Washington Hospital) moved here last August with the inkling to open a bike shop way in the back of their minds. But everything — financing, location, interest from local bikers — came together quickly. By November, they were drawing floor plans and ordering inventory.
At Ridge Cyclesport, Plews repairs just about any bike and sells high-performance models from KHS, Devinci and Ibis, an iconic brand that’s the dream of many trail riders. Prices for “a legitimate mountain bike, one that’s trailworthy with hydraulic brakes” start at around $800, said Plews. But eager mountain bike enthusiasts often spend closer to $3,000.
And when you spend that much for a two-wheeler, “you definitely want to try it out, see how it feels,” said the bike shop owner. He lets customers test-ride the bikes on local trails to see “if it’s the perfect fit.”
“When it comes to sales, we specialize in mountain bikes and kids bikes,” he said. “I really want to get kids into biking — provide them with their very first bike in what could become a lifelong sport for them.”
So what makes Plews a “professional” mountain biker? He discovered mountain biking at age 9 and just wouldn’t stop pedaling. His first job as a teenager was in a bike shop. So were his second and third jobs. His college degree is in structural engineering (think bike frames and stress points). He won the state mountain bike racing championship here in 2003 on trails around Squilchuck State Park. That led the following year to his professional status — races, sponsors, travel, endorsements — and sparked the idea to maybe, one day, move to Wenatchee.
Now he’s excited about plans to expand the region’s network of mountain bike trails. Groups are working to further develop trails at Squilchuck State Park and build a new set of trails above No. 2 Canyon west of Wenatchee.
“Big things are in the works,” he said. “And it’s very exciting.”
Details: Ridge Cyclesport, 509 N. Western Ave., Suite 106, Wenatchee. Phone: (503) 949-4879. Web: ridgecyclesport.com and evanplews.com.
Upscale on the Loop Trail
If you’re in the market for some classy digs, then check out the website for Riverside9 Apartment Homes, that honkin’ big waterfront complex at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Ninth Street in Wenatchee.
You know this place, right? It’s built partially on the site of the old Ninth Street Trailer Park, which caused some serious hubbub when it was closed in 2008 to make way for new development. Now the site, located on the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail, has 312 upscale apartments with some snazzy amenities like a gym, swimming pool, club house and views of the Columbia River and foothills.
Because of mild winter weather, construction is further along than originally expected (although it’s still underway on several buildings). The website sprung to life last month with floorplans and prices. You can open an account and sign a lease, too.
So, let’s see … what do these puppies cost? The smallest apartment — a 498-square-foot with single bath — runs $769 to $834. One-bedroom apartments (740 to 851 square feet) run from $839 to $944. Two-bedroom units (930 to 978 square feet) run $994 to $1,104.
By the way, Kirkland-based Weidner Apartment Homes is building the complex, which is the latest for the company. Weidner is ranked as the 33rd largest apartment company in the nation with 214 complexes in seven states and four Canadian provinces. Weidner owns and manages nearly 38,000 units, with about 95 percent as residential rentals and the rest commercial properties.
This weekly column is compiled from “Everyday Business,” a blog by World reporter Mike Irwin. You can reach him at 665-1179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.