Missoula Bicycle Works, located in the heart of Missoula, is a textbook example of a shop that prides itself to excellence. Not only do they sell great bikes (Kona’s, cough, cough) but they find pure pleasure in keeping “Missoula the vibrant cycling community that we enjoy,” says shop Owner, Alex Gallego.
Started in 1996, Missoula Bicycle Works employs the biggest bike enthusiasts from the surrounding area. “All of us here are pretty fanatical about riding. As much as we realize we need to make sales a priority in order to stay in business we find sales to be a means to an end. We just as much prefer to talk about bikes or whatever folks happen to be getting on about. The environment in the shop is very social. There is always banter whether it is between employees or with customers in the store.”
Six years after it’s opening, the original owners decided to sell the store Alex, who took an unusual path to get into the biz. “I used to teach high school but I have worked in shops for decades. When I moved to Missoula I discovered that finding a teaching job was far more difficult than it had been in Colorado. I also discovered a bike shop for sale and ended up going that direction. As much as I miss teaching, choosing to run a bike shop was a great decision.”
While their passion for all things bike related is textbook, the shops taste in music is far from it. “We listen to everything in the shop. Everything. From Opera to Metallica, Indie rock to dub step. Michael Jackson might be heard followed by Gerry Rafferty. We have a whole playlist dedicated to music with a strong saxaphone presence. If you are in the back office with Pat and I you will almost definitely hear Depeche Mode, The Smiths, New Order/Joy Division, Bauhaus, or some other great 80’s music.”
Favorite Kona: Which ever bike I am on it is my favorite Kona at that moment. The one I probably ride the most is my flat bar Rove that I use for all my around town stuff. But my Process 111 has got to be the bike I have the most fun with.
Last Ride: My last ride was up Butler Gulch with Jesse (one of the sales folks at MBW) and then on to the Snowbowl Ski area base and then back home to Missoula.
Favorite Ride: Rattlesnake recreation area.
Best Post Ride Drink/Food Spot: In Missoula we love our beer. The Kettlehouse Brewery makes great beer and is across the street from the bike shop. For food, there are plenty of places to go but Caffe Dolce has great food and a fantastic beer and wine list. The owner is also a huge supporter of the local racing scene and is a pretty good racer in his own right.
All bikers should have…All bikers and their friends should have a three-way…hex wrench that is. Makes for a great tool at home or in the shop.
Best Biking Advice: Wave back