Rim Cyclery founders, Bill and Robin Groff, to be inducted into Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
by Jeff Richards
Contributing Writer
Aug 15, 2013 | 4105 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Robin and Bill Groff discuss Rim Cyclery’s history. Photo by Jeff Richards
Robin and Bill Groff discuss Rim Cyclery’s history. Photo by Jeff Richards
The Groff brothers at their shop shortly after it opened in 1983. Courtesy photo
The Groff brothers at their shop shortly after it opened in 1983. Courtesy photo
Brothers Robin and Bill Groff, who founded Rim Cyclery 30 years ago, will soon be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame for their contributions as pioneers in the industry.

The Groffs will join family members and fellow inductees for the 2013 ceremony, which is scheduled to be held next month in Las Vegas, they said.

The now-retired duo said they started what would become Moab’s first mountain bike shop together in 1983, shortly after they both lost their mining industry jobs within a few months of each other. Not wanting to leave Moab and having few other options, they decided to start a bike shop. They each kicked in $1,500 to start the business, Bill Groff said.

Although the shop dealt solely in road bikes at first, they and a few of their early customers began finding off-road riding opportunities. Robin Groff helped a cowboy friend round up cattle using an early version of a mountain bike, and later went with another friend to try out bicycles on the now world-famous Slickrock Bike Trail, which up until that point was strictly a motorcycle trail.

In 1984, Rim Cyclery suffered a setback when an early morning electrical fire at the shop destroyed the building and heavily damaged most of the inventory, but the Groff brothers (and their father, John) were able to rebuild, thanks in large part to John Groff’s well-organized system of keeping track of inventory on cards, Bill Groff said.

The bike shop was soon rebuilt and began offering mountain bike rentals. Moab and its Slickrock Bike Trail attracted the notice of a National Geographic photographer, and also were prominently featured in the first-ever issue of Mountain Bike magazine in 1984, as the fledgling sport began to catch on in popularity.

“Moab was so hard on bikes, it was the perfect testing place,” said Bill Groff.

The following year, the Groffs attended the Crested Butte Fat Tire Festival in Crested Butte, Colo., and decided to host a similar event in Moab. Rim Cyclery sponsored the first-ever Canyonlands Fat Tire Festival around Halloween in 1986, and the annual event has remained popular to this day.

The Groffs fondly recall hosting parties in their shop during the early years, when manufacturers, racers, and regular folks could all get together and have fun and relax. Many industry improvements and innovative ideas were hatched in those brainstorming sessions, they said.

Although the shop has seen its share of big-name customers over the years, including world-class bicyclists and a few famous movie stars, Robin Groff said they never wanted Rim Cyclery to be anything more than “a simple every day bike shop.”

“Our goal has been to treat every customer with the same level of respect,” Bill Groff added.

Rim Cyclery, located at 94 West 100 North, celebrated its 30th anniversary on July 4, said Kelby Groff, Bill’s son, who has been the manager for the past five or six years. His brother Jasper also works there. Both brothers worked in the shop as young kids in the early years. Over the years, many other members of the Groff families have also either worked at or helped with the shop or its associated businesses, Rim Supply and Rim Tours. Rim Tours was sold in 1990 to Kirstin Peterson and Matt Hebberd, who still operate the company today.

Robin said one of the main keys to the business’ success has been the range of top-notch, experienced employees they’ve had working there over the years.

“They’ve also been part of our family,” Robin said, praising the employees’ high degree of skills, knowledge, and passion for all things related to bicycles and cycling.

Since those early years, Moab has morphed into a premier mountain biking destination, offering a wide variety of trails, including the world-famous Slickrock Bike Trail, which now attracts an estimated 100,000 visitors per year.

The Groff brothers say they feel honored to be named among this year’s Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductees. They said they looked over the list of current and past inductees and realized they not only personally know more than half of them, but they also count them as friends.

According to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame website, a select group of inductees is chosen each year by a vote of past inductees and current hall of fame members. The Groffs and their fellow 2013 inductees will be honored at a public ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., during the Interbike Show held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

In addition, after 26 years of being located in Crested Butte, Colo,, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame officials have recently announced that the hall of fame and museum will soon be moving to a new home in Fairfax, Calif., located in Marin County, another important location in the early history of mountain biking. For more information, visit the website www.mbikehof.com.

Editor's note: This version clarifies that Rim Cyclery was Moab's first mountain bike shop.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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