Hi, I'm Kevin. I'm the owner of WebCyclery and WebSkis. We are a high end online bike & nordic ski shop in Bend, Oregon (yes, we have a big brick and mortar store). Here’s a little history of how I got started with all of this.
I started riding bike as a kid, first on a tiny red Schwinn and then moving on to a couple of cheap department store BMX bikes. I bought a Raleigh 10-speed from Wheel & Sprocket in New Berlin, WI, when I was about 12 years old. But I didn’t really get bit by the cycling bug until I moved to Madison and my college roommate came in with a new GT mountain bike. I thought it was SOOO cool. I went out and got myself a 1991 battleship gray Specialized Rockhopper Comp. Again, I thought it was SOOOO cool. I “tricked it out” with a Scott UniShock and some of those stupid Scott AT-4 super funky handlebars. I moved down to Florida and got a job at Aero Schwinn in Boca Raton. That’s when I got my first real road bike – a Specialized Allez with 105. I also upgraded my MTB to a sweet-ass Specialized S-Works M2.
Then I moved up to Tallahassee where I worked at Tec’s Pro Shop. It was here that I really got into bikes. I got a DeBernardi road bike, and then a Serotta Colorado Ti (the bike that turned me onto Campy), and a Merlin XLM with full XTR. I miss that bike (except for the tiny clown wheels). It was in Tallahassee that I built my first website (for Tec’s Pro Shop) in an Internet Marketing class. That’s when I decided that I needed to open WebCyclery.
I moved out to Bend, Oregon in 1996 and a year later was at Interbike for the first time. WebCyclery opened its virtual doors in Feb of 1998. We were online only, working out of my garage. Most of our sales came from Timbuk2 messenger bags, as we were at the time the only place to order custom bags online. Two years later, Timbuk2 decided they could sell the bags custom themselves and sort of cut us out of the deal (Damn!). So it was time to change things up a bit. We couldn’t compete with the big mail-order places on price. We had to differentiate ourselves. We started selling Trials Bikes, 29ers, Singlespeeds, and more. We also opened our first brick & mortar store.
I hired my brother, MeanTodd, and my dad, DickieG. We started with about 1200sq ft of very rough space in the Old Mill Marketplace. A few years later we moved into the space next door, the former home of Meridian Tandems and World Class Components. We’ve expanded a couple times since, and now live in about 4500sq ft in the Old Mill. In 2007 we hired Ed Micek who is now our manager. He knows more about bikes than just about anyone I’ve ever met.
In the last few years, we’ve expanded our bike lines, and offer more and more variety. But we still specialize in high end stuff. It’s what we like. It’s what we do well. We’ve tried selling cheaper bikes, but it just doesn’t work for us.
Even though our location is a little bit off the beaten path, and there is a whole lot of competition (16+ bike shops within 1.5 miles of our front door), our local following keeps on growing. Our staff has grown over the years, and right now we have the best, most knowledgeable staff we have ever had.
I got started on XC skis at an early age in Wisconsin. My parents used to take my brothers and me out to the golf courses whenever it would snow and we would ski around in our goofy looking snowmobile suits and gators. I remember some old Trax and Rossi skis, some with scales and some without, 3 pin bindings, etc. It was alright, but then we all got into Alpine skiing and Nordic took the back seat.
When I graduated from Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, WI, I really wanted to move out to Park City and start a ski shop. My parents put the kibosh on that idea, and I ended up going to college. After spending a couple of years at UW Madison, a year off in Alta, UT, and a couple more years at FSU in Tallahassee, I graduated from college.
I moved out to Bend, OR in 1996. A lot of the people I met were into skiing. I entered a race called the Pole Pedal Paddle, in which you alpine ski down Mt Bachelor, Nordic ski 8k, bike 22 miles down to Bend, run 5 miles, kayak through town, and sprint to the finish. I hadn't cross country skied for 15 years, but had to try it so I could race. All my friends told me that I had to learn to skate ski. I didn't know anything about it, other than it was faster than classic skiing. I borrowed some skis and quickly found out that it was harder than hell and that it was a lot more fun than I remembered, and wow was it fast. I skied a little bit each year, just the week before the Pole Pedal Paddle each year to familiarize myself with skiing again. Then, a few years later, I finally decided to buy some skis and get myself a ski pass. I was hooked. Without having a car I only got up to the mountain a couple times a week, but it was enough to know that I loved it.
I had been running WebCyclery since late 1997 and things finally started to take off. Around 2005, one of the local bike/ski shops was going out of business, and I decided to hire their ski guru - Dave Cieslowski - and start up WebSkis.com. Dave is a pretty damn good skier. He was the guy that fit me on my first pair of skate skis, and he did an awesome job. He was on the St Lawrence University Ski Team in Canton, NY, and then worked at Nordic Equipment and White Pine Touring in Park City before moving to Bend. He was teaching skiing up at Mt Bachelor, and had served as president of one of the local Nordic Ski Clubs, and could ski faster than any of us. Dave helped us get things going for the first couple of years. But all good things must come to an end, and Dave decided to go to PT school in Portland, so he left our little family. But he did get all of us at the shop into skiing, and now we have one of the best selections of Nordic skis in the west. We also have one of the best selections of Waxes and waxing tools. Again, we specialize in the higher end. Yes, we have entry level skis, but they are all pretty nice skis, and we make sure that the each ski we sell is flexed right for each customer. We don’t just pick a ski off the wall and say “this one is the size you need”. It is much more complex than that. We have gained a reputation for picking excellent skis and helping customers make their skis fast with the best waxes available.
So now we have a shop that runs year round. We don't hire seasonal help, so we are lucky to keep our great staff year round. I love having the shop, and I love having an awesome staff! I couldn't do it without them.
I also couldn't have done this without the help from my family and friends, especially DickieG and FJ, MeanTodd, and my good friends Kevin & Linda.