In his own words: Rich Staley of Great Basin Bicycles |

In his own words: Rich Staley of Great Basin Bicycles

NNBW staff

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company.

Rich Staley: Great Basin Bicycles opened in 1990 and I joined the team shortly thereafter. I was 19 when I started and still love getting up in the morning to go to work! The shop has always focused on a means to a lifestyle, versus just selling someone a bicycle. If you’re a good salesperson, you can sell anyone a bike but it doesn’t mean they’re going to ride it. However, if you listen to what someone desires and how they ride, you can provide something they truly want and they’ll love to bike! We sell kids’ bikes, parents’ bikes, exercise bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, race bikes and specialty, in every price range. We also have free trail maps on our Web site; I provide directions, GPS tracks, topo maps, photos and suggestions on what to bring.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession?

Staley: I started racing right out of Reed High School, and continued racing through college at UNR. I was ranked in the top 10 for road racers in the collegiate circuit, and raced pro for a very short time. When I realized my next step was travelling to Europe, hopefully for a team racing a Grand Tour, I had a decision to make. Put all my eggs in one basket, where one good crash ruins your career, or finish college, maybe get married, start a family, see where my career takes me? I chose the latter and I wouldn’t change that decision for the world. I finished school, got married, have a wonderful little girl and now own this shop. (I suppose it didn’t hurt that my wife found me and asked me out in our old shop. Who knew a bike shop could be such a match-making place.)

NNBW: What do you need to succeed in this job?

Staley: Dedication. I love to go to work in an industry I love. For that I am extremely lucky. However, I still have to treat my job as a job, and not a hobby. That’s the hardest part of owning your own business.

NNBW: If you could have had any other profession what would it have been?

Staley: Bicycling was my first choice. Before I purchased Great Basin Bicycles in 2004, I started a photography company with my wife to see if I could run a profitable business. “Focus on You, Photography” was so successful that it made the down payment on the loan to purchase the bike business. Two years ago we purchased the building we’re in now.

NNBW: What are some of the important trends you see in your industry?

Staley: I definitely see cycling becoming more popular in the coming years. News reports are already talking about $4 a gallon for gas. I also see Reno making huge strides in bicycle and pedestrian right-of-ways on many city streets. Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, part of RTC, is spearheading this process and is doing a fantastic job of integrating automobiles and cyclists within Reno city limits. Sparks is doing a fantastic job as well.

NNBW: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Staley: In a good way, I am always working. In the winter months, I am running CompuTrainer classes. During the summer, I am riding my mountain bike everywhere with my camera (still and video) in hand. Occasionally, (usually upon request) I turn pepper mills, knitting needles, wine stoppers and other wooden objects on a wood lathe. Oh, and my wife swears I’m a 4-star chef. Maybe that’s what I’ll do if I ever retire … I could bike to the restaurant!

NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?

Staley: For any profession: Treat your job like a job, not a hobby. Focus on your job and give it your full attention. Always challenge yourself to find a faster, more efficient, and more fun way of doing things. Seek out other successful industries and see if there is a way to incorporate their success and process into your profession. And never, ever forget customer service is vital to every business.

NNBW: What can you do that no one else can?

Staley: My wife calls me a “Renaissance Man.” I’m pretty sure it’s a compliment, referring to the fact that I can take a problem in any field and find or create a new solution. Whether it’s mechanical, engineering, business, people, etc. I have an engineering brain, but I love applying that to help people.

NNBW: Would you rather be younger, thinner, richer or smarter? Why?

Staley: I do wish that I was smarter. However, hindsight is 20/20, and you have to make the mistake to learn from it.

NNBW: What do you like most about your job?

Staley: I love helping people. I measure my success by how happy I can make people. There is nothing better than taking someone that is struggling, or their bicycle is gathering dust, and having them leave completely fired up about cycling after we’re done.

NNBW: What does the content of your refrigerator say about you?

Staley: I cook way too much (and don’t eat enough leftovers).

The basics:

Name: Rich Staley, owner Great Basin Bicycles

How long have you been in this job? 21 years

How long in the profession? I’ve been biking since I was 14 (I used to bike 30 miles to see a cute girl!)

Education: University of Nevada, Reno, BA

What’s on your iPod? Cowboy Junkies

The best movie ever? “The Princess Bride” and “Avatar.”


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