Hitting the Trail With Big Daddy's Bikes
July 7, 2018 by Manny Chavez
These guys. They’re chomping at the bit to hit the trail….and here I am holding up the show to take a picture of the gang.
We're gathered at Big Daddy’s Bike Shop to head out on the weekly mountain bike ride through nearby Point Washington State Forest. I'm along for the ride and looking forward to the venture.
Mountain bike riders David Moon, Jim Davis, Bill Flynn, Lee Beamer, and head mechanic Judah Imhof all gather for a quick photo before takeoff. We head out from Big Daddy’s Blue Mountain shop parking lot and head west along the Scenic 30A bike trail (also known as the Timpoochee Trail, the paved bike path extending the length of Scenic 30A).
We turn north on Satinwood (across from Goatfeathers) and are soon at the Long Leaf Pine trailhead where the fun begins. This section (from the trailhead to where it intersects with Hwy 83) is a real joy ride. With the pine straw-covered, narrow trail switch- backing through the woods, riders are challenged to stay alert and ride as fast or as slow as their experience dictates.
I had ridden this trail before, but not at this pace. Also, I was riding a cool bike loaned to me by Big Daddy’s. This Timberjack Salsa trail bike is equipped with 27.5 wheels and much fatter tires than I am accustomed to. The lightness of the bike and having more “rubber on the road” gives me more confidence going over exposed roots and working through heavy sand.
I feel like I'm really cooking when I hear a voice behind me, “look straight ahead and power through!” This turns out to be great advice and I will forever thank David Moon for his shout out. I had always slowed down for the numerous exposed roots found along the trails and “powering through” had never really entered my mind. From now on…. roots be damned, and heavy sand too!
We all stop briefly at the Hwy 83 intersection. It's fun listening to the riders compare notes on anything from bike accessories to biting yellow flies. At this time of year, best to keep moving or the yellow darlings will have their way with you!
Our ride continues easterly and more challenges come in the form of mud and more sand. Getting lost out there is not really an option as the trail basically runs parallel to Scenic 30A and will always intersect another highway.
Our ride takes us over a few cool bridges and at one point traversing an area that seems to stay muddy. This spot has a plank of wood that you must hit perfectly or go down trying…. I decide to walk my bike around. The others take it like ducks on a calm lake. We stopped again at Hwy 283 in Grayton and some of us decide to make our way back to the shop via the paved Timpoochee Trail. The others continue east, through the woods, toward the Hwy 395 intersection in Seagrove. Our group reunites back at Big Daddy’s with the ride lasting a little over an hour.
Trail riders are encouraged to join the weekly ride which is usually either on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons beginning around 5:15 p.m. Check their Facebook page (or call 850-622-1165) to make sure the ride is still on.
This weekly trail ride is sometimes attended by up to 20 riders having various skill levels and is a great way for Big Daddy’s to keep a pulse on their customers. If you are not familiar with the local trails, this is a great way to ride and learn!
SoWal businesses have come and gone over the past 20 years, but Big Daddy’s Bike Shop still sits OPEN for business at the top of the hill at High Point Center, Blue Mountain Beach. Flanked on each side by For the Health of It and La Loba’s Bakery, Big Daddy’s owner, Peggy Sheehan shows no sign of slowing down.
“I am very thankful for my loyal staff, some of which have been with me for over a decade. Our lead certified mechanic, Judah Imhof, has been on board for about 14 years and our store manager, Darcy Hall, for about 12 years. They, and our 16 or so employees are all bike riders and very knowledgeable about all aspects of the biking industry.”
Fat tire and electric bikes area the rage now, with Big Daddy’s offering several models to suit your ride. Check out the Big Daddy’s website for a great rundown of all they have to offer. The shop carries a vast array of bikes and gear including Trek, Electra, Kona, Niner, CamelBak, CatEye, Nantucket and Burley. Big Daddy’s line of accessories is extensive, and you’ll have fun just checking out their walls. Pretty much, if you can’t find it at Big Daddy’s, it probably doesn’t exist!
Asked WHAT she thinks keeps her doors open, Peggy is quick to reply, “Customer service and loyal customers!” And any visitor to her shop would quickly agree. Whether they are selling, repairing, servicing, or renting bicycles, they will listen to your needs and follow through with what they say. Customers who can’t get their bike to the shop for maintenance or repair are encouraged to use Big Daddy’s Rolling Repair Team who will come to you for bike repair. If the repair can’t be done on site, the bike can be taken to the shop to complete the job and then returned to the owner.
Big Daddy’s hit its 20th year in business earlier in the year, but Peggy is planning a celebration later this Fall. “We’re thinking of having a little festival here with a band, a nice ride, a celebration to thank our loyal customers,” smiles Peggy.
Peggy and Co. just want to keep things rolling along just as they are…with no plans for a “Big Daddy’s II,” she’s determined to stay on top, at High Point Center, Blue Mountain Beach.
For more information, please call 850-622-1165. Address: 2217 W. County Hwy. 30A. Hours: Open daily (June-August, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), otherwise, closed on Sunday: Web: www.bigdaddysbikeshop.com.