How CO Bikes + Biz is Fostering Community in Denver

16th November 2015

By Addie Levinsky

On November 10, over 300 Coloradan cycling enthusiasts gathered at Galvanize for “a fast-paced hour of ideas, entrepreneurs and bikes, capturing some of the exciting things happening for people that love to ride around the Front Range.”

Cycling has been on the upswing in Colorado, and in a big way. At Interbike this year (North America’s largest bicycle event and trade show), Governor John Hickenlooper made a lofty promise. In hopes of making Colorado the best state for cycling, he pledged to spend more than $100 million over the next four years to enhance the state’s already bike-friendly environment.

The Colorado Bikes + Biz + Beer Meet-Up, founded in April, is getting cycling enthusiasts from all ends of the spectrum together to discuss entrepreneurship, cycling, and ultimately bringing ideas to the table to make Colorado the best state for cycling — all while focusing on the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit the state has to offer.

Nov.10′s CO Bike Biz (@COBikeBiz, #COBikeBiz) meet-up was their final of 2015. The event featured a number of big names in cycling, including Leslie Kehmeier from IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association), Rachel Scott from Quick Left, Sarah Rawley from VIDA MTB Series, and Allen Lim from Skratch Labs.

The keynote speakers brought a wealth of passion and knowledge to the event, focusing on far more than just cycling. The speeches at the CO Bikes Biz Meet-up were indicative of where the state is headed from an entrepreneurial perspective. All of the speakers are entrepreneurs themselves, and have channeled their drive and ambition to bring the community inspiring, committed ideas about growth, health, and advocacy.

We had the chance to speak with Lim, founder of Skratch Labs. Lim is the epitome of the entrepreneurial spirit. His passion is matched with his honest, matter-of-fact demeanor, and he’s not only willing, but excited to share his entrepreneurial journey with anyone and everyone, cyclist or not.  His idea came to fruition in a very organic (no pun intended) manner, and after many trials and tribulations of running a huge operation in a very confined space (picture traveling around the world, cooking for hundreds of hungry pro cyclists in a hotel room with just a rice cooker and electric frying pan), Skratch was born. They are now a rapidly growing sports hydration and food product company, with a stellar brand identity to boot.

Lim’s advice reached far beyond the niche cycling community, inspiring anyone and everyone who has a vision. “What we learned from starting Skratch Labs, literally from scratch, is that people misjudge how much they actually need to start a business. They’re told they need millions in capital, a certain type of website, the latest marketing strategy, when the reality is starting a business is about hard unconditional work, not spending more money than what’s in the bank, and finding ways to be happy and grateful with what you do have, instead of worrying about becoming some massive success.”

This advice resonated with the entirety of CO Bike+Biz, as the meet-up series is meant to inspire and bring change on both the individual scale, and as part of the bigger picture in a city that is growing so quickly, with so many passionate entrepreneurs both in and out of the cycling industry.

“The Colorado Bikes+Biz meet-up, put on by People for Bikes, is really an incredible venue that brings all of the best of the startup community and culture seen in high tech collaboration to business in the cycling community. These meet-ups help to remind me how incredible the bike community is and how much strength we have working together to make our local and national communities a safer and easier place for bikes,” Lim says.

With the overhead from Hickenlooper’s proposal, and the continuance of meet-ups like the Colorado Bike+Biz, the growing population will benefit from the literal enhancement of bike lanes, trails, etc. and the fostering of ideas to make the state a healthier, more progressive platform on two wheels, and beyond.