Turin Bicycles closes after 51 years in Denver

Alan Fine, the founder of Torino Bikes in Denver, fell in love with European lightweight bikes at an early age. “My friends and I explored the world on our bikes,” Fine says. “There’s a point where you go out, on a good quality bike, where the bike disappears, and it’s just you flying through the air.” So finding a job at Turin Bicycles in Chicago, one of the first in the United States to import high-end bicycle parts from European suppliers in the 1960s, was a no-brainer for the 22-year-old bicycle enthusiast.

At Fine’s suggestion, Turin expanded to Denver in 1971, bringing the humble town of cows something its small but dedicated group of serious riders needed: access to high-end imported bikes and bicycle equipment. Parts weren’t the only import, however. Even though the city’s oldest bike shop just closed after 51 years in business, Turin launched a vibrant road cycling culture that is still popular in Colorado today.

Early on, Turin captured something in Colorado. It didn’t take long for cyclists from across the West to flock to Turin’s first location at 711 Grant Street. “We started to drift away from the peloton and we weren’t just that neighborhood bike shop anymore,” Fine recalled. “We had customers from all over because you couldn’t get the products we had.”

Turin Bicycles eventually purchased its own one-story building on Lincoln Street in 1991, where the store would spend the rest of its life. Turin’s longstanding involvement in the cycling community— “We have sponsored many clubs and charity races over the years,” says Fine.attracted both loyal customers and loyal employees. Mike Stejskal, manager at Turin Bicycles, was hired in 2000. “Half my life was spent in this store,” he says.

But as other bike retailers came to town and the internet took hold, Turin’s competitive edge faded. Then, in 2020, the pandemic and the resulting supply chain challenges arrived. It started to take twice as long– and could cost twice as much – to put bike parts made in Europe and Asia on the shelves, and the store was simply unable to provide its customers with what they needed on time. “The pandemic created what we thought was going to be inevitable for a while,” Stejskal says.

Fine, Stejskal and longtime manager Dave Wileden decided in early March to close the store. On the last day of the store, April 2, people from all over the city came to buy bicycle products at greatly reduced prices.

David Wrap, cyclist for Radio Free Denver Cycling Club, browsed the store on her last day. “I’ve been coming to Turin for 25 years,” he says. “It’s an institution, and the closure will leave a void in the community. (San Francisco-based apartment developer Camel Partners has purchased Capitol Hill real estate from Turin Bicycle and plans to develop an 18-storey building instead of the historic bike shop.)

Fine hopes his bike shop will be remembered as an asset to the community and for providing valuable service. “I’m happy with what I’ve done and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Fine said. “I am also ready to no longer have the responsibility.” He looks forward to spending his retirement with his wife, Deb, at their East Denver home. Although he doesn’t ride bikes as much anymore, Fine still reads industry magazines for the latest news.

Stejskal and Wielden have decided to put plans to reopen a bike shop on hold for the next few months, although the couple still plans to open a service-oriented bike shop in the city. “This experience definitely made me stronger,” says Stejskal. “I’m going to take time and ride my bike instead of thinking about it in the middle of the night.”

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