The sense that you're a part of a community becomes apparent the longer you stay at Piney Mountain Bike Lounge.
There's a common thread weaving everyone together, a bond that seems to form over bum knees and favorite rides and a love for a sport that owners Chip and Jackie Batson have built a business on.
"We thought it would be kind of neat to have a biking community gathering spot for mountain bikers specifically," Chip says as he and Jackie, his wife, settle into a L-shaped sectional in a quiet corner of the business they started a little over six months ago.
Both Greenville natives, Chip, 49, and Jackie, 42, say the Lounge really began “without us even realizing it.”
The two have been avid mountain bikers since they were in college — when bike trails at Paris Mountain State Park were nonexistent and the trail system consisted of urban rides through city parks or over old railroad beds.
The bikes were different, too.
“My first mountain bike had no suspension,” Jackie recalls. “There was no front fork or rear shock.”
The city's mountain bike culture has changed considerably since then.
With 15 miles of hiking and bike trails, Paris Mountain has grown into one of the busiest inland parks in the state park system, with some 245,000 visitors in 2015, according to South Carolina State Parks figures.
Greenville County recreation officials estimate that at least 1 in 4 of those visitors were mountain bikers.
The growing bike culture also brought more bicycle repair shops to the area, but the Batsons found that many of the shops catered more to road cyclists and didn’t carry certain parts specific to mountain bikes.
“We were taking different bikes to different shops,” Chip says.
They also had friends who worked at other bike shops who were unhappy and friends they rode with who wanted a place to hang out, Jackie says.
“We had kind of been joking around about it (opening a bicycle shop),” she says.
They didn’t expect anything to materialize. They both already had full time jobs — Chip owns an electrical contracting business, Batson Electrical Contractors, that his father started more than 40 years ago, and Jackie was a middle school math teacher at Greenville Middle School.
Let's celebrate the first day of Summer. ALL in-stock Transition Bicycles and frames are ON SALE 15% OFF. Sale Ends July 1st
Thursday, June 29 6-8pm w/ Automatic Taco
Join Us Thursday, June 29th from 6 to 8 for the Foothills Brewing Tap Takeover as part of our highlighting Local & Regional Breweries. We will feature 7 Foothills beers including 2 of their "Craft Happiness IPA Project" FUN IPA & MOVE IPA
Norco Revolvers 7.3 and 9.3 Hardtails 30% off, now $1469
Rocky Mountain Vertex 20% off: 970 RSL Large now $2559, 930 Medium now $1280
Norco Optic C9.2 Small, was $5199 now $4159 (owner's bike)
Rocky Mountain 2016 Altitude 770MSL Small, was $5499 now $3500 (owner's bike)
Rocky Mountain Pipeline 770 MSL Large (not pictured because bRad is lame) , was $4799 now $3799
Kids Bikes on Sale
Norco Fluid 4.3 Plus 20% off, now $503
Rocky Mtn Edge 24 20% off, now $368
ATTN Parents! Do you have a middle or high schooler that is interested in a mountain biking team? If so, join us at Piney Mountain Bike Lounge on Wednesday, June 7th from 6:30-8:00pm. The Ellada Kouzina food truck will be on site and we are hoping for the pump track to be open! We will have an info session for parents so come loaded with questions about the program! See you there!