Neil and Deloma Byrd opened Bike-n-Hike in a small quonset hut on Sacramento Street in 1972. They also opened the Auburn Dewitt BMX track around that time, which was one of the very first BMX tracks in Northern California . The yearly lease on the track from the county was $1.00 per year. As the name indicates, Bike-n-Hike also carried hiking equipment. They moved the shop to Canal Street behind the Ford dealer in 1974 where the shop remained for many years.
In 1979, Dan and Mickey Olmstead bought Bike-n-Hike from the Byrd’s. At that time they changed the name to Auburn Bike-and-Hike Shop, which they ran with they’re three sons, Kenny, Danny and Andy. By that time, hiking equipment had run its course and The Auburn Bike-and-Hike Shop only carried bicycles and accessories. Their shop was the first in Northern California to add to their line up, Vans tennis shoes and people would come from as far away as Sacramento and Reno to grab up a pair.
Dan and Mickey operated the BMX track successfully for approximately 6 years until the county decided to donate the property for a senior citizen’s community garden. At the time Auburn Bike-and-Hike was also deeply involved with the 49er Biathlon in Cool and the Auburn Century. Both events ran successfully between the years of 1980 and 1994.
For the first 4 years, road bikes and BMX bikes were the staples of the shop until the explosion of Mountain Bikes in the early 80′s. The Mountain Bike boom was huge and is still a large percentage of bicycle sales in the industry. Around this time, Kenny and Danny got smart and bailed out of the shop to pursue “real” careers. Andy, on the other hand, stayed on board and is still in the bicycle industry and works for the shop part time
In the early days of mountain biking, off road trails were closed to bicycle traffic and Dan played a large roll in creating harmony amongst multi-users on the trails through-out the American River Canyon . One in particular was The Knickerbocker Trail in Cool. Dan also got a hair-brained idea to hold a mountain bike race on The Knickerbocker Trail in February……….in the mud. The race started coming to life but in 1989 Dan was diagnosed with cancer. On February 13 th, 1993 Dan ended his long, well fought bout with cancer the day before what would become a classic Northern California mountain bike race.
Don’t forget Bikes on the Brain. After 15 years the Brain has been restored archived and plans for stickers and possibly a hat are in the works. Maybe the good old tie-dye might show back up in the future also.The First Annual Cool Mountain Bike Race needed 200 participants to break even. We had rain, heavy rain, for several days before the event. However race day brought clear, sunny, 70 degree weather, and 700 people coming out to participate in the mud. Dan’s vision of mud!!!!!! There was plenty then and there has been ever since! Greg Wells, a State Parks Ranger that worked hand in hand with Dan on the race, dedicated The Knickerbocker Trail to Dan. It is now known as The Olmstead Loop Trail with a great dedication plaque at the head of the trail. After Dan’s passing, Mickey and Andy held on for a few more years and then decided to pass the torch..
In 1996, Frank and Lisa Kodl grabbed the torch from the Olmstead’s and ran with it. The Kodl’s knew the shops future to grow was based on it’s location. The long over due name change came shortly after.
In 1997 Auburn Bike Works was moved to Palm Ave , to a 5600 square foot building. Boy were the after hours parties fun in that location! “I don’t know where all the skid marks came from Lisa!”
Proving to be a little too big and a bit off the beaten path, Auburn Bike Works was moved to it’s current location at, 350 Grass Valley Highway . Lisa runs the shop with a great crew of knowledgeable sales people and skilled mechanics. The Cool Mountain Bike Race is still selling out every year and Lisa has become a household name in the community as well as a major contributor to the development of Auburn becoming The Endurance Capitol of the World.