Seagull’s Cycles

Supporting the Valley’s Cycling Culture in Every Season

You’re just as likely to find Kyle Foster out leading a ride as you would behind a desk at Eagle’s newest bike shop, Seagull’s Cycles. In fact, he’d say that those rides are where the real work happens. While the shop has a physical address right off of Grand Avenue, Foster’s vision extends far beyond the building itself.

Photos courtesy of Kyle Foster

Inside those four walls, Foster operates a bike shop focused on repairs, consignment and education. Rather than stock and sell racks of brand-new, ready-made bikes, Foster aims to attract a different kind of customer: the person who considers their bike an extension of themselves. He teaches cyclists how to personally care for their bikes, so that they can strengthen the bond between ride and rider and enjoy their experience on the bike even more because of that connection.

Cycling in any form isn’t a cheap sport, either. Consignment gear breaks down barriers to entry by making high-quality equipment more affordable and approachable for those that don’t have ahigh budget or aren’t yet well-versed in the bike industry. New riders can access reliable bikes without the astronomical price tag. Every consignment sale helps to change the narrative around what it means to be a cyclist.

Foster’s focus is also a way for him to work more with people than with equipment alone. “Instead of having a brand or a style define my shop,” Foster describes, “I want my relationships with clients to do that.” He doesn’t worry about teaching himself out of a job; the complex nature of bikes means there’s always more to learn for next time and plenty of bigger jobs better suited for a shop atmosphere than a personal garage.

Besides, interaction with others is what Foster’s really after. The desire to bond over mutual gratitude for time on the bike drives every decision behind Seagull’s Cycles. No matter how much good Foster does for cyclists inside the shop, that work pales in comparison to the community he’s created outside its doors.

Through Seagull’s Cycles, Foster leads a handful of regular group rides to demonstrate the power a bike can have over a fractured life. He started out with weekly Recovery Rides on Sundays to support those in recovery from substance abuse.

“If you think about it,” Foster notes, “most group rides end with beers at the shop. That’s the classic way to wrap up a ride. I wanted to put another option out there for people to feel comfortable at all stages of the ride: before, during and after.”

While the ride originally targeted substance abuse sufferers specifically, Foster found that the concept speaks to anyone working through a wide range of mental health struggles. The rides serve as an opportunity for participants to put their troubles aside, while also filling that empty space with actionable tactics and reliable connections that pave the way for a different future.

“So many athletes use riding for escapism already,” Foster understands. “But, combine that with real skills, and you can use that time to actually heal, too.

Foster has expanded on the Recovery Rides to add other opportunities for com-munity engagement into the rotation, as well. During cycling season, he works with Eagle Valley Behavioral Health to put on Spoke and Stoke, a program aimed at get-ting teen riders out on the trails to show them how mountain biking can be used as a healthy coping mechanism throughout such a tumultuous phase of life. He’s also joined forces with Mountain Youth to launch Move, Chat, Ride: a series of events that combine discussions on mental health hurdles with family rides, where the goal is to use the ride as a catalyst to put these delicate subjects on the table. Partnerships with The Cycle Effect then focus on welcoming young female riders into the fold.

These youth and family-oriented rides hold special value for Foster. He wants to instill love for, and trust in, the bike from an early age, so that young riders can have cycling as a tool in their back pocket as they grow up. Aligning rides with conversations about the difficulties they face on a daily basis helps normalize airing out your mind, leaning on others and building up a bank of resources. “If kids see us talking about these things out in the open, without hesitation, that will make it easier for them to do the same,” he explains. “It sets them down a more sustainable path from the very beginning.”

On top of the regular agenda that includes supporting Vail Valley Mountain Bike Club’s Wednesday evening rides starting late-spring, Foster hosts larger events throughout the year. Seagull’s Send, a collaboration with Speak Up Reach Out, honors Jonathan Sharon— Foster’s good friend and one of the original brains behind the Recovery Rides— with a midsummer mountain bike ride and after-party at the shop.

Foster’s stacked list of community projects makes Seagull’s Cycles equal parts societal fixture and brick-and-mor-tar shop. After nearly burning out on the bike industry after more than 15 years of working in shops where there might as well have been an ocean separating customer and mechanic, Foster prioritizes meaningful connection. “Everyone’s been to a bike shop where it felt like the person behind the counter didn’t want to be there at all,” remarks Foster. “My shop was never going to be that. I want to be involved in the scene the way that others weren’t when we needed them to be.”

During cold winter months, Foster continues to keep engagement high. Group rides slow down in frequency, shift to warmer times of day and shift to snow-friendly alternatives, but they won’t go into hibernation. Foster hopes to offer ski tuning services in addition to regular bike work and embraces the snow through fat biking season. As a rider himself, he loves the chance to get out all year long and the way fat biking mixes things up. “It’s a totally different experience from regular riding,” Foster points out. “Just like on skis, snow’s not just snow; there’s good snow, bad snow, changes in terrain … Every ride is different.”

And from a professional standpoint, fat bikes still bring in plenty of business throughout the winter. “Those babies need a lot of love,” Foster says with a chuckle. “The elements are really hard on them. I’ll be busy.”

To keep him even busier, visit Seagull’s Cycles at 422 McIntire Street in Eagle. Find a new-to-you trail companion from his consignment collection, tune up your fat bike before the snow dumps, give your mountain bike a little off-season attention or even learn how to take matters into your own hands in between serious repairs.

Foster doesn’t believe in bike shop secrets. He’ll teach you what you need to know and get you where you need to go without letting ego get in the way. At the end of the day, he just wants to help people heal and grow the best way he knows how: out on two wheels in the fresh mountain air.