Beyond Category Cycling opens in Blowing Rock
Beyond Category Cycling opened its doors for the first time Saturday, May 25.
With help from next-door neighbor Blowing Rock Produce and Provisions on its one-year anniversary, Beyond Category owners Ben Hale and Jeff Lemly welcomed the public with a joint celebration, including a cookout and a selection of new bikes for sale.
“We have Pinarello and Focus bikes, along with Giordanna clothing and accessories for any type of bike and superior service for any bike,” Hale said.
Services include bike tune-ups, cleanings and building custom orders.
“A bike shop really serves a community, and we just thought the Blowing Rock community was missing out,” Lemly said.
Hale and Lemly began their planning for Beyond Category Cycling almost a year ago. But it wasn’t until this past fall that their plans began falling into place.
“I think the main part is figuring out what type of customers you want to focus on,” Lemly said. “We really just wanted to bring something to the area that focused on customer service.”
While many other bike shops specialize in a type of bike or rider, Hale and Lemly noticed that there aren’t a lot of shops that accommodate beginners. As a result, new riders may feel too uncomfortable around more experienced cyclists and end up not having the cycling experience they had hoped for.
“It’s intimidating to some people,” Lemly said. “Some shops don’t cater to that clientele the way they should.”
It is Beyond Category Cycling’s goal to promote cycling and provide resources for everyone to enjoy the activity.
“We want to cater to all cyclists, from the beginner to the expert racer,” Hale said. “As long as someone pedals a bike, we want them to feel comfortable in our shop.”
Although the shop is dedicated to all levels and types of riding, Beyond Category will provide a larger selection of road bikes, because of its proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“We really feel like Blowing Rock is a cycling destination, especially with the parkway right there,” Lemly said. “People will take a trip and just ride there, so that’s something special.”
Along with being knowledgeable of all rider levels in the shop, Hale, Lemly and their staff plan to lead free weekly rides on the parkway.
“We’ll meet up at the shop, go out for an hour or so, come back for smoothies or whatever it might be, provided by the shop,” Hale said.
Riding in groups is safer and a way to promote cycling to the public, Hale said, adding that the rides will be divided up by level to ensure that everyone can stay together.
Events will be announced through the Facebook page, and those interested in signing up for rides are encouraged to call the shop at (828) 295-8600.
Hale and Lemly are also considering ideas like bike tours and beer tastings. “Our goal right now is to let people know we’re here,” Hale said.
The owners want to promote cycling because it’s physical activity that almost everyone can do, Lemly said.
“It’s a way you can get a great amount of exercise,” Lemly said. “From 5-year-old kids all the way up to your 80s.”
Beyond Category Cycling is located at 8100 Valley Blvd. in Blowing Rock.