Shawn started Absolute Bikes in Flagstaff with his partners Ken Lane and Janine Hess, after getting his BS in Mathematics from Northern Arizona University. In May of 1999 he started Absolute Salida in an old feed store next to the Arkansas River.
Got bike-related questions? Shawn’s probably got the answer you need, ’cause he’s likely been there or done it. Besides being an all around nice guy, Shawn’s too modest to mention that he’s done Ironman Kona, Ironman New Zealand, Ironman Germany, and the Leadville 100 bike race (20-time finisher!), and the Leadville 100 Run (once). Plus he won the Arizona State Finals in Pro way back in ’94.
Come see the shop, meet Shawn and the staff, and let us introduce you to bike riding in the upper Arkansas Valley of Colorado.
Earl M Walker Jr aka. EarlBob is originally from Atlanta, Ga. At the end of a Professional mountain bike racing career in 1997 moved to Colorado with his wife Barb. Not too long after that they found themselves living 60 miles upstream from here in Leadville.
Somewhere along the line Earl had figured out how to make some of the finest contemporary furniture anyone has ever seen. Shipping to cities like New York, Chicago, Tokyo, London, and the list goes on. His passion for bicycles continued and with a little help from the last recession he found himself closing up the woodshop, pedaling down the valley in 2011, and working here at Absolute Bikes.
History, knowledge, and attention to detail are some of the attributes he brings to our shop. He helps run Absolute Bikes Adventures, puts on mountain bike skills camps for the shop, and runs our Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike camp, and now that he has completed the Vapor Trail 125, he helps us get that ride going each year.
Bicycles have always been a large part of my life since the mid-late 1970’s playing Hardy Boys with my brothers, making single track in the woods to ride our too large cruiser bikes over jumps and through berms. In 2011, I could still see the trails.
Into middle school and out of high school working for 2 bike shops, racing as a junior, getting my first ATB of my own and honing my mechanical skills with SIS, SLR, and tubulars. I moved to Flagstaff in the summer of 1992, graduating Northern Ariziona University while riding, trail running and working in the automotive industries. In April of 1999, I was offered the unique opportunity to work for Shawn Gillis with the opening of Absolute Bikes, Salida.
Now in Salida, I earned my USA Cycling Race Mechanic Certification & License allowing me to work regional, state, national and world level cycling events for Team USA, Shimano, Mavic and other teams and individual racers.
Thorough, detailed, passionate, skilled from Di2 to New Departure, full custom builds to overhauls on your Dad’s Columbia. I can and will make your ride faster, smoother, more confident and getting you riding longer with huge silly smile.
Brent is a recent transplant (2016) from the foothills of California’s San Fernando Valley. He, his wife and son love Salida, it’s people, trails and rivers. A cyclist since 1984, Brent loves mountain biking and has competed in some local races such as the Leadville 100, Vapor Trail 125 and Barnburner 104.
Its not all mountain biking though – Brent is also at home on road, BMX, cyclocross and even trials bikes. With 27 years experience in bicycle shops as a mechanic and adviser Brent can help you with anything cycling related that you need, from new bicycle selection, nutrition, to clothing and gear.
Q. How many bikes do you have?
A. 3. Surly Karate Monkey singlespeed, Pivot mach 4 and an old Ross Hi Tech!
Q. What is your favorite local trail?
A. I like to climb Poncha Creek (CR203) then descend Starvation Creek trail.
Q. What is your favorite trail outside of Salida?
A. OooH, tough. It's a toss up between Phil's World in Cortez, Co and Pauley Creek and the sorrounding trails in Downieville, CA
Q. 26, 27.5 or 29?
Ryan Knobbe hails from the Appalachians of North Carolina and has been riding/running/playing in the mountains all his life. He immediately fell in love with Salida and the endless trails and mountains of the area after a trip to the Colorado when he was 18.
Hey there, I’m Leah Zeringue. Originally from Louisiana, I managed to escape to Colorado during my last semester of college. Spent the last few years in Colorado Springs, and quickly found myself absorbed into the mountain bike life. After visiting and riding in Salida last summer, I fell in love with the town and the trails and committed to moving here as soon as I could. After a winter of dreaming, I was able to make it a reality, and am super fortunate to also get to work at the best bike shop in town!
I am super passionate about pedaling bikes as much as possible, and get stoked to meet and work with others that share that same lifestyle. I truly believe riding bikes can be a life changing experience for everyone, and the best part of working in a shop is getting to be a part of that experience with so many different people.
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Andrea has ridden and raced bikes since 2006. Before that, she had been everything from professional horse trainer to desk jockey to college teacher.
She started bike life as a roadie, but once the pro road scene got boring, she switched to mountain bikes and was immediately addicted. Over the last several years, Andrea has worked as a mechanic at shops Tennessee and Colorado, and raced extensively across the US in off-road endurance events including Vapor Trail 125, Breck Epic (3x, on a singlespeed), Trans-Sylvania Epic, and numerous 100 Milers (also often singlespeed).
Off the bike, she enjoys finding the tops of mountains, jiu-jisu, and mixed martial arts.
James came to Absolute Bikes after working for several years as an attorney here in Salida. A lifelong mountain biker, in 2009 he jumped at the opportunity to help coach the Salida High School Mountain Bike Team. “Originally I viewed it as a great excuse to leave the office early three days a week and ride my bike.” The experience of coaching high school kids proved to be life changing and led to a career change that surprised a lot of people, including James. “Legal work was interesting, but also very stressful. My new life at Absolute Bikes as a youth coach, mountain bike guide, and shop employee is much more rewarding.” James’ role at Absolute began with his desire to start a youth cycling program for elementary and middle school kids – an extension of his experience as a high school coach. Absolute Bikes took the program (and James) in-house and now James serves as the Program Director and coach for Absolute Youth Cycling, guides for Absolute Bikes Adventures, and works in the shop. “I couldn’t be happier these days.”
Retired after 22 years of nursing and previous careers in corrections and teaching, I quite fortunately found myself employed at Absolute Bikes. As the saying goes..”Bikes Change Lives”..and this was certainly true as I found myself introduced to a whole new world. Though biking was always a part of my life, becoming involved with the shop and a great crew of fellow employees inspired my increased involvement in the sport. When the first wave of Great Divide riders cam through the shop in 2011, I knew this was the adventure for me and I went on to complete the Divide in two sessions.
Happily, my wife Claudia has jumped on board and we will be bike packing as much as possible over the next few years starting with Scotland in the Fall of 2014. Prior to nursing home admission we hope to ride The Divide and other back country rides as well as road biking in Europe.
Never give up…. keep pedaling
Tom is a retired horse thief and hand tool service tech. Now he rides bikes made of pure lightning and works to destroy non sequiturs all over internet-land.
He's been riding bikes since the 60's. Yes, that old. He claims to have owned 35 different bikes over the years, but sometimes he remembers funny. Vicki, the cutest dog in North America lives with Tom. Also three cats. Three. Dang.
Paul is a recent refugee from New Jersey.