Best of the Boat: Chris Johns, of Wheels Bike Shop, best bike mechanic |

Best of the Boat: Chris Johns, of Wheels Bike Shop, best bike mechanic

Chris Johns moved his Wheels Bike Shop to Yampa Street in 2011.

"Quick turnaround, friendliness and depth of experience," Chris Johns, owner of Wheels Bike Shop at 841 Yampa St., says about what caused him and his store to lead the pack in this year's bike mechanic category. "We can handle anything with two wheels that comes through the door."

Founded in the Brooklyn neighborhood in 1996, Wheels, a nickname since given to Johns himself, has based its reputation from the beginning on service. That's how it started, and that's what it still specializes in today. It's small and independently owned, which gives the shop the ability to work closely with customers and truly understand their needs.

It also helps to have their wealth of experience. Johns, a former BMX competitor and cross-country mountain bike racer, says that between him and technicians Darius Gallager and Richard Bayly, they have more than 75 years of bike tuning experience, all housed in their small shop in front of Backdoor Sports along the Yampa River. And Johns is quick to credit his employees for the accolades.

"It's not just me," he says. "I might've gotten the vote, but Darius could easily be the best mechanic in town. We have a great team."

Wheels, which supports such organizations as the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and the “Giving Bikes Back” refurbishing/donation program, services bikes of all walks — including mountain, racing, road, freeriding, downhill, townie and more — and offers sales as well as a complete rental (cruisers, mountain and road) and demo line. This winter, it's also adding another type of tuning to its lineup, offering full-service ski and snowboard tunes so its loyal following can enjoy their service all year long. And yes, ask about their ski and cycle twofer.