ST. GEORGE – For Judd Freeman, working on bikes is something that comes naturally. At age 11, he began tinkering with a wrench and his BMX bike in preparation for racing in the California circuit.
Now, 32 years later, and with 3 state championship titles under his belt (two in California and one in Utah), he is still intimately involved with the inner workings of bike building and repair. In fact, he’s made a career of it.
He’s still racing, too.
Each year since 1981, Freeman has both met and maintained a personal goal of competing in at least one bike race, and as of three months ago, and at age 43, he is still at it. This summer, he participated in the Red Line Cup Qualifier in Las Vegas, which was his second race this year.
“What can I say, I’m a racer,” he said. “I like a sport with a clear start and clear finish, and one where there is no age limit.”
For Freeman, no age limit is what he likes best about biking altogether.
“Biking is something you start out with as a kid, and can continue throughout your entire life,” Freeman said. “That’s what I love about working in a bike shop. There is a challenge and a real satisfaction that comes with finding the perfect bike to meet every customer’s lifestyle.”
Last month, Freeman celebrated the opening of the dream bike shop he is managing in St. George, Utah. Rapid Cycling, located on Sunset Boulevard, carries all the products and brands he has learned to love and trust over the years. With an inventory that includes everything from price-point, friendly-purchase bikes to top-of-the-line brands and custom-built bikes, “I want to make sure that we literally can provide a bike for everybody,” he said. “A perfect fit.”
Located in a biker’s destination city, Freeman said he is excited about customer response to Rapid Cycling’s bike rental program. “We offer the best bikes to tourists who want to come and take advantage of the amazing terrain here in southern Utah, but who don’t want to incur the expense of transporting a bike,” he said.
Freeman said it has been fun to rent to avid bikers as well as novice vacationers who have heard about the red desert biking conditions and just want to give it a try.
“Once customers takes a nice bike out on the trails in this area, they are hooked,” he said. “We really enjoy the opportunity to promote southern Utah and help people enjoy the area by providing bikes to ride.”
As stated, Rapid Cycling is not the first shop Freeman has worked in. Years of experience have helped him determine favorite brands, builds and mechanics. “What I offer here is the best of the best,” he said. And according to Freeman, “the best” doesn’t always mean high-priced.
“I’ve worked really hard over the years to determine what brands will help my customers get the best ride for their dollar,” he said. “Many customers don’t realize that ‘big brand better value’ is really a misnomer when it comes to cycling.”
As a bicycle repairman, Freeman says he has learned which brands require heavy service, and which brands offer reliability and sustainability.
“My goal is to make the customer happy,” he said. “By sharing my experience in helping customers select a bike, I feel like that is the greatest asset I have to offer, next to having the best options right here in my shop for them to choose from. There’s nothing like touching and feeling and trying out a bike that you’re making an investment in.”
In addition to mountain bikes to meet the demands of Southern Utah trail and terrain, Rapid Cycling also offers road bikes including top racing brands including Italian favorites Colnago and Bianchi. “These are brands I’ve been working on for years,” Freeman said. “I always told myself that if I was able to run my own shop someday, these are the brands I wanted to offer to my customers.”
Not only does Freeman aim to offer a satisfying personal shopping experience, he also maintains a high standard of quality and quick turnaround in his service department.
Designed as a full-access store, Freeman’s repair bay offers open viewing to the customer. “It’s fun for the customer to watch a mechanic work on a bike,” he said. “We get lots of questions and curiosity from customers.”
Offering services from tune-up to major repair to custom bike building, Freeman said he keeps a bike on his bench at all times. “Bike safety is so important,” he said. “Our number one focus is to keep bikers informed and their bikes safe for riding.”
In addition to an inventory of more than 130 bikes, Rapid Cycling also offers nutrition supplements, biker clothing and bicycle accessories. “Our jerseys are designed to offer bright colors for riders, again, always keeping safety in mind,” Freeman said.
A D V E R T O R I A L
- For more information about Rapid Cycling, telephone 435-703-9880, or go to the shop’s rapidcyclingbikes.com website. Or visit the new showroom at 946 West Sunset Blvd., St. George.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.