It only makes it that much more impressive that Bluedog Cycles is such a cool and successful shop when you realize that their hometown of Viroqua, WI doesn’t even have 4,500 residents. According to owner Pete Taylor, that was all part of the plan. “When we were looking to open a shop, we had a formula with a number of factors; like where is a town in Wisconsin that doesn’t have a shop for 30 miles? Where is a spot that could support a bike shop? (Like a county seat) Where does Wisconsin have spectacular geography? And where could we form real strong relationships with land managers (land access is something we are very serious about). Viroqua is a super groovy little town and the clear answer. Viroqua is destined to be a riding Mecca someday.”
That’s why the story of Bluedog Cycles is so interesting. When Pete and Alycann were looking to open a shop, they purposefully sought out an area that had no trails. Bluedog Cycles is as motivated about building the trails in their community as they are about selling and working on bikes. “We have worked closely with the Kickapoo Valley Reserve (a 9000 acre paradise that offers the best “back country” experience in the Midwest) to open up several miles of amazing trails. And lastly we have been gaining more and more access to some beautiful private lands that start just five blocks from the shop and have no end in sight. We have a solid core of trail builders here who have been IMBA trained and we’re building some really fun trails that appeal to all abilities,” Taylor said.
Since Bluedog Does so much, and has only been around for a little over five years, they have a lot to be proud of. Here’s what Pete has to say about some of their different projects. “Our Junior programs are very exciting. Camp Bluedog, our weekend Mountain Bike camp for kids is a huge success and the biggest highlight of our year. In only our second year, the Nordic ski program has 60 kids skiing every week and that’s a fun way to get through winter. We are building the trail advocates and land stewards of the future. We’ve logged over 300 hours of trail building with school kids ranging in ages 6-16. We’re proud to have parents, teachers, and government officials acknowledge the positive influence we’re having with the kids of the community. We’re also quite proud of the fact that we were able to expand our business into a new location three times larger in just four years, and that we are seeing more and more people traveling into town to visit our shop and play in our paradise.And I’m proud as hell to have a company like Kona recognize that we’re doing something special here.”
Last Ride- We’ve had a pretty big snow year. The last ride would have to be Wisconsin Snowmobile Corridor #29 over to #32 on the Pugsley.
Best place for coffee- Thanks for the plug Cory! That would be Brewdog located in the northeast corner of our wonderful bike shop.
Favorite Beer- The one riding in my jersey pocket, bound for the bench at the overlook.
Place to get food in town- The Driftless Café; great organic and locally raised fares and pours good beers.
Music most likely to be heard in the shop- That completely depends upon who gets to iTunes first. It could be Punk, Country, Jazz, old or new, it could be something geared towards a two or five year old girl.
Favorite Book- I get to read every day to Wilma my 5 year old and I’d say that the Shel Siverstein stuff is as good as it gets.
Current Book- Currently, Wil and I are rippin’ through the A to Z mysteries. Any bike mag lying around is fodder too.
Biking Advice- Have Fun! If that is not happening, something’s wrong. If it’s how your rig rides, come see us and we can fix that.