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Pedal Forward Brings Biking to Oakhurst

IN THE July 17 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andCommunity,
andSteven Sanchez
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by Steven Sanchez

When the pandemic hit, friends Michael Broderick and Jorge Negrete were at a loss on what to do next after they were furloughed from their hospitality jobs at Tenaya Lodge. The two share an interest in biking, so they decided that since there wasn’t one in their native town of Oakhurst, they decided to give the community it’s only go-to bike shop in quite some time. That became the origins of the Pedal Forward Bikes & Adventure shop. The location is adjacent to the Sierra National Forest and only fifteen miles from the south entrance to Yosemite National Park, and the company foundation is based on the Triple Bottom Line, where they look beyond profit to include people and environmental issues. The duo became certified by the Professional Bike Mechanics Association; they were off and running and they’ve been open since last September.

From left to right, Michael Broderick, Jorge Negrete, owners of Pedal Forward.

Their motto on their website reads: “…we provide concierge services with detailed recommendations on where to ride, hike, and recreate based on your ability and interests. Think of us as your one-stop location for gear, repair, and recreational advice.” They bring their hospitality experience to their store. And it does have that vibe. That, along with so many other reasons that you can’t categorize this place as your traditional bike store. There shop is broken down into different areas:

The Adventure Zone has two huge detailed maps of the region and trails displayed on the wall, showing all of the exciting biking and hiking trails in Yosemite’s South Gate area.

The Chill Zone features a large screen TV playing exciting mountain biking and cycling videos as well as seating to relax. This space is great for riders that want to hang out and talk about bikes.

The Shopping Zone offers professional and personal customer service with all that you would expect from a bike shop ranging from bikes, bike parts, apparel, helmets, gloves, and pads.

They couldn’t strike at a much more ideal but yet complicated time in the world of biking. CBS News reports that manufacturers are struggling to supply bikes to an exploding customer base of people newly eager to enjoy the outdoors. Bicycle sales grew 55% between December 2020 and February 2021 when compared to that same period in 2019, said Matt Powell, senior industry advisor and vice president at market research firm NPD Group.

“One of the things that sets us apart from other bike shops is that we know the area, and we take the time to help people know where to ride,” Michael proudly decrees. “Our goal is to get people riding, and we want to make great connections with our customers.”

Giving advice and recommendations was their specialty before this recent professional endeavor, and they are very thorough on the information they give. Not only do they give educational tutorials in person about trails to ride, but they have a huge comprehensive list with all the trails you can roll them wheels through with details like distance and difficulty. And naming just about all the ones in the area ranging from Goat Mountain, Graham Dome, Skyfall, Willow Creek, and the list goes on. But the most famous and their own recommendation is…007.

“007 trail challenges you, whether you’re an expert or beginner, it challenges you to get better. When we have tourists come in and ask for trails we always recommend 007 for its quality and uniqueness,” says Jorge.

“The Bass Lake area that’s where the tremendous trails are, and being just minutes away from The Pines Resort and it being the closest resort to those trails makes it even more great,” Mike chimes in.

Michael is from Chicago and has traveled around and Jorge has served as a pilot in the Peruvian Air Force, and they both agree that the trails in the Central Valley rank as one of the best around. Just hearing them talking about biking, the trails, their products, one word springs to mind that best personifies their approach to their work…passion. “We went from taking rides in our spare time, and now those rides are now a job, and now it’s great,” Jorge says with a smirk. These guys live, breathe, and sleep biking. They cycle year-round. They make GoPro videos of their rides. They assemble groups to go riding. Sometimes they ride before or after work. If this wasn’t a job, they’d still be involved with biking as a hobby. It’s just them and no one else, and they love what they do.

Most places they hire people to just work the shop and must adjust to knowledge of the products in the shop, but with them, they know every aspect of biking. And there’re owners who do the less complicated work and labor, but one moment they’ll be greeting you talking about bikes, then in the next moment they’ll be in the back getting their hands dirty fixing and repairing your ride. And that commitment has gotten them recognition so far as they were featured on the LOCALISH show on ABC30, Sierra News Online, and www.yosemitethisyear.com.

Not only do they want to be of service to the biking circle, but they want to contribute and make an impact on the community overall. Helping out the community any which way they can is very important to them. “We are involved in the community, not to just provide new trails for people to ride. We would love for this place to grow and improve the existing trails and expand on what it can offer. This is a great mountain biking area, and more, and we support the community by doing that because with the tourists coming in for those reasons the local businesses can benefit from that,” declares Mike.

And benefitting they will. They sell their own personalized shirts and hats with their name and logo, but you’ll see their own blend of coffee from Pony Expresso from Mariposa. So much so that as an example they’re helping a family friend, Orion Cicoletti, a local graphic designer, videographer, and outdoor enthusiast who was raised in North Fork and a Yosemite High graduate by currently selling the stickers he designed for Goat Mountain, 007, Blind Squirrel, and two other unique designs, and he has also completed designs for Octopussy and Willow Creek. They’re getting his work out there while he’s attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo studying forestry/natural resources while minoring in graphic design.

Like Kelly Slater, who established the Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore by bringing a sport like that to an area that isn’t known for that, in the future they would love to do something similar to that nature by bringing a professional race here. One way to do that is by thinking big and expanding, and that’s their plan. Their goals aren’t just set for the High Sierras. They don’t want to only be just the best local bike shop, they want to be the best bike shop in California. The endgame for them is to be the go-to brand beyond the borders of the Central Valley with multiple locations occupying the entire state, and the plans are being put into place right now.

Their name serves as a perfect metaphor for life in its current state and that’s why they chose it. The area has suffered quite a bit in the last few years. After a year of pandemic concerns, forest fires, and park and forest closures, the southern Yosemite region is poised for rehabilitation. The best possible thing that visitors and locals can do to support the healing is by taking action, riding, moving on, and doing their best to pedal forward.

For more information on Pedal Forward:
pedalforwardbikes.com
www.facebook.com/pedalforwardbikes
www.instagram.com/pedalforwardbikes

Pedal Forward
40761 Hyw 41 #4
Oakhurst , CA 93644
ContactUs@PedalForwardBikes[dot]com
559-676-8842

Steven Sanchez is a film graduate of UNLV. He’s a filmmaker, writer, photographer, and music manager. Obsessed with movies, comic books, and rock ‘n’ roll. A football fanatic, big fan of the Oakland Raiders. Enjoys reading and collecting vinyl records. If there’s a rock show in town more than likely he’ll be there. Loves his grandma’s home cooked meals. He has a twin sister and most people call him the pretty one. You can learn more about Steven on his YouTube channel and on Instagram @stevensanchez5807 photos and videos.

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