Residents of Cedaredge have long kept a keen eye on the activities in their small town, especially the small businesses that line highway 65. In recent years, they had become accustomed to a routine at Silent Country Cycle and Ski.
Every morning, countless bikes made their way to the parking lot in front of the tiny shop within the Cedardale Plaza. They’d glint in the sun, rows upon rows, for passersby to admire. And every evening, they would file back inside to be stacked inside the too-small space, an impressive feat of engineering that nobody quite understood.
Engineering came naturally to the owner, Marty, who had been crafting custom tools and parts for bicycles since 2009. And while he still loved the creative parts of his trade, he did not love moving the bikes every day. Silent Country Cycle and Ski–known simply as SCC or “Marty’s” to locals–desperately needed a bigger space.
And maybe a miracle.
“It was a really tough and hopeless time,” remembers Marty. “I was so close to quitting so many times.” Slow business in the winter months, the cramped space, and shrinking capital made for some very bumpy roads.
But Marty somehow pressed on and took time to enjoy other bumpy roads–the fun kind! Joined by other adventure-seekers, Marty kept his spirits up by “klunking” (that is, barreling down the Grand Mesa on bikes with terrible brakes and suspensions). When the winter months brought record snows, Marty could be found on midnight cross-country ski expeditions with the Grand Mesa Nordic Council. And of course the town had come to anticipate Skate Park Jam, which Marty organized annually for Cedaredge Applefest.
None of his adventures paid the bills, however. He began to make plans to liquidate everything. He knew he wanted to stay in the Surface Creek area, which had truly become home to him, but he couldn’t imagine a vocation that he could possibly love so much as owning Silent Country Cycle and Ski.
“I just don’t know what I can do to stay open,” he lamented to his friend, Cassie Fortman.
“I think I have an idea,” she said. “Let me see if I can pull it off.”
And that was the spark for the Grand Mesa Business Guild. Seeing that SCC and many other local businesses were suffering for lack of support, networking, and growth opportunities, Cassie hastily planned the first Meetup for January of 2023.
As Marty mingled with other business owners in an upbeat, party-like environment, he began to think that maybe he could hang on a little longer. “It wasn’t like I suddenly had more people coming to the shop,” he said. “What happened was that my attitude changed.”
Winter slowly gave way to Spring, and business picked up. Then the day came that Marty pushed his bikes out the door of his cramped shop for the very last time. Silent Country Cycle and Ski was finally moving!
Now, locals and tourists rounding the northbound bend into Eckert are pleased to see the crisp Silent Country Cycle and Ski sign hanging against the rough stones of the historical Oddfellows Hall. Once home to a speakeasy during prohibition, as well as numerous other groups–from upstanding to unscrupulous–the beautiful old structure now displays an attractive collection of the best outdoor merchandise.
The very first Grand Mesa Business Guild Meetup of 2024 turned into a Shop Warming Party at SCC, and Marty was a cheerful and grateful host, loudly cheered by attendees in their business-casual best. Amongst the racks of quality outdoor clothing, shelves of snow shoes, and fishing poles, Marty expressed his heartfelt thanks for the support and friendship of everyone there.
It was hard work to get the location ready, but Marty is delighted to not be hauling bikes in and out the door every day. “The new building is the best thing that’s ever happened to the shop,” says Marty. “That’s three hours of my life back every day.”
Marty uses the regained time doing what he loves best: outfitting folks for the best possible recreation!
Serving the usual stream of enthusiasts needing bike repair, SCC now boasts ski repair and rentals (as well as waxing and tuning), paddleboard rentals, hunting and fishing licenses, and an impressive fleet of eBikes for sale, which have been popular with the roll-out of the Colorado Energy Office’s rebate program.
This latest addition to his inventory is especially exciting to Marty, because Monday Motorbikes’ ebikes are assembled in America. Marty is always seeking products made in the US. Silent Country Cycle and Ski is the only place customers can get BAF, a favorite ski wax made locally. Marty also carries tubeless tire sealant by TruckerCO, another US company based out of Las Vegas.
Loyal fans can also still count on Marty for custom-made tools and parts. He still displays the tool that started it all: The Silent Savior track multi-wrench. After its invention many years ago in Cailfornia, Marty made adjustments to his bike and hopped on to test the results. He realized he was enjoying an absolutely silent ride! This gave him the inspiration for the name of his company.
Since he has become well-known for donating refurbished bikes, locals wondered if Marty would continue the tradition. “I absolutely intend to keep donating bikes,” he says, “though I may need to slow down a little in the future.” He will continue to hold a monthly Facebook raffle to give away a bike that has undergone his overhaul. Unwanted bikes can still be donated to Jesus Bikes in Montrose.
The future of Silent Custom Cycle and Ski looks bright now, and Marty looks forward to networking with other local businesses at the monthly Grand Mesa Business Guild Meetups and workshops. When asked if he had any new ideas for adrenaline-seeking in the new year, he smiled. “Spelunking. If I can find anyone who will join me.”
Adrenaline junkies can apply to be dare-devil friends in person (10 to 5, Monday through Saturday) with Marty at 12983 CO-65, Eckert, CO 81418, or call (970) 823-0029. Web users can find him at www.silentcc.com, Facebook, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.