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Four decades of cycling in the foothills

Auburn Bike Works celebrating milestone anniversary year
By: Gloria Young,
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Auburn Bike Works
Where: 350 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn
Phone: (530) 885-3861
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday
On the Web: auburnbikeworks.com

A local bicycle shop has ridden the wave of cycling popularity to 40 years of success in Auburn.
Lisa Kodl, owner of Auburn Bike Works since 1996, says mountain biking is huge in the foothills.
“Mountain biking has impacted our area tremendously because of the Auburn State Recreation Area,” Kodl said recently. “Road cycling continues to stay strong, but mountain biking has really grown. We have cyclists from all over. … We have a lot of people who move to Auburn just because of what the canyon offers.”
The shop’s Highway 49 location is its fourth since it opened in 1972. Initially, it was on Sacramento Street near the Gold Country Fairgrounds. It relocated for a time to Canal Street and later to Palm Avenue. Kodl moved it to its current Highway 49 site to have more visibility.
The showroom’s selection of bikes ranges from entry level to racing styles. There are also comfort road bikes, family bikes, children’s bikes and BMX models, along with shirts, helmets and other cycling accessories. And a big part of the business is the repair and maintenance shop.
“We work on everything including non-bike related things — wheelchairs and walkers,” Kodl said. “A lot of the parts are similar.”
Purchasing a bike there includes some personalized service.
“We can fit the bike to (customers) and get everything to the right position for them,” she said. “It’s not about just picking a color. Sizing is a big amount of your purchase because if the bike fits you, it’s more comfortable and the more you are going to ride it.”
Basic maintenance classes are available for the do-it-yourselfers.
For Kodl, owning the store is fun because “it’s something everyone loves to do,” she said. “I enjoy the customers and I enjoy the people I work with. Everyone who is here, is here because it’s something they’re having fun at.”
Kodl and the shop are active in local cycling events, including being the promoter for the Cool Mountain Bike Race held in March for the past two decades.
“The race raises funds for trail maintenance for the Auburn State Recreation Area,” Kodl said. “We get 400 (riders) from all over. We’ve had people who’ve competed in it for the entire 20 years.”
The bike rice is the same weekend as the Way Too Cool 50K run, held the day before.
“We have several people doing the run on Saturday and the bike race on Sunday,” she said.
Plans are already under way and the website up and running for the 21st ride, she added.
The store helps with the Auburn Marathon, Criterium and Tahoe-Sierra, which starts in Soda Springs and ends in Auburn.
“Auburn now has three major (cycling) events that do a 100-mile trek,” she said. 
In addition, Kodl has gotten shop employees and customers involved in an Auburn State Recreation Area trail maintenance project — taking on the Culvert Trail, which runs from Lake Clementine and through a tunnel underneath Old Foresthill Road.
“We started on it and did phase one last year and this year we’re doing phase two,” she said.
She organized a raffle to raise funds for the undertaking. Then there’s the work itself, which is a lot more than picking up debris. It often involves correcting or even moving the trail for drainage issues in addition to cutting back brush and poison oak.
Kodl doesn’t race bikes competitively, but does casual riding with friends. The shop offers a weekly Thursday night ride, varying from 10 to 15 miles depending on the experience and ability of the riders.
At Auburn Bike Works Monday, avid cyclist Mike Ewing said he likes visiting the store because of the friendly atmosphere.
“We sit at the counter and enjoy what’s going on behind the scenes with the mechanics,” he said. “Everything is right there.”
 He also enjoys swapping cycling adventure stories.
“(This weekend) I rode out to the Auburn overlook to the pump station and checked out the river flows,” he said.
 Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com.