Velorution Cycles and Bedrock Bags call Durango, Colorado, home. They are ideally situated in a solar-powered warehouse at one of the largest trailheads in town, with singletrack right out the front door. Velorution has been in business for a little over four years and just a couple months after Joey Ernst opened the shop, the maker of Bedrock Bags, Andrew Wracher, brought some of his first personal bikepacking bags into the shop having heard that Joey was into bikepacking. After a conversation about bikepacking, gear, and business, Bedrock became a reality.
Over the next four years Andrew and Joey worked closely with their separate businesses. Going into autumn of 2015, they decided to just up and combine everything—now they’re co-owners of what is, to their knowledge, the world’s first bikepacking-centric shop that actually makes gear on site.
Joey has been in the bike industry since he began working at a small-town Midwestern Schwinn shop in 1997—after spending years working in shops and on the World Cup MTB circuit as a mechanic, it was time to settle down. He didn’t know what else to do with himself besides stay with bicycles and so the bike shop was born.
His shop has also had quite an impact on the local cycling community. Before the mainstream cycling world had ever heard of bikepacking they had built up quite a little community of bikepacking adventurers in Durango. When they began, people would walk in the door, see the wall of bikepacking gear and say, “what is that strange stuff?” It’s very different now—people come in saying, “I’ve heard you’re the people to talk to about bikepacking.” Joey admits that for someone that’s rarely on the cutting edge of anything, “it’s pretty cool to be an originator in a movement that’s seeing a lot of traction.”
The shop is also involved in a handful of local and regional cycling events. Every other year Velorution hosts the start of the CTR (Colorado Trail Race), a race Joey has finished twice and absolutely loved every time. They are also heavily involved in the Colorado Endurance Series, a statewide, underground collection of no entry fee endurance events. They host about 4-6 of the races on the 17-event calendar every year and even created two of them—the Velorution Valkyrie backcountry fatbike race in January and the Velorution Venture multi-day bikepacking race in September.
Velorution really believes in the CES events because they take riders to amazing places—they don’t require participants to ride multiple laps on a boring course, they capture the essence of backcountry and self-supported riding, and they are free. Outside of the CES, Velorution puts on bikepacking and fatbiking clinics every year, and when they have time they run a weekly group ride. In short, they do their best to get involved and continue to build the adventure cycling crowd in the Four Corners.
When it comes to advocacy, one group that excites the crew at Velorution most is the Sustainable Trails Coalition, a nation-wide group advocating for sensible changes to federal Wilderness Area laws that keep things like bicycles and strollers out of Wilderness areas, while allowing horses and skis. Instead of just perpetuating the status quo, they believe this group is challenging nonsensical ideas and bringing realistic solutions to the table. Surrounded as they are in Durango, by hundreds of thousands of acres of federal wilderness, changes to the types of travel allowed in those wildernesses would very much change the local cycling community.
As a staff, Velorution is currently a three-person shop of avid riders that are great at getting people into the same things that they are into—gear that they use and personally believe in. Velorution stands apart from the crowd because they look for staff that is truly experienced in bike shops and the bicycle lifestyle, with a genuine enthusiasm for helping other people have fun on two wheels.
Living in a place like Durango, there is no shortage of trails in the area but when forced to pick favorites there are a few. It’s not exactly local the entire way—at 500 miles long that would be difficult to claim—but the Colorado Trail in its entirety is a personal favorite of Joey’s. Of riding the Colorado Trail he says, “Something about having nothing to do but ride, eat and sleep is mentally calming.” More locally, they like to ride on any of the awesome high country trails in the San Juans, which are always a favorite. Andrew is also a huge fan of the desert riding in southeast Utah and of course it doesn’t hurt that the shop is also located at a trailhead. A two-hour ride from the front door at Horse Gulch and 1:59 of it will be on trails—not bad at all.