In the bustling city of Billings, there exists a haven for cycling enthusiasts known as The Spoke Shop. At the heart of this haven is a man whose love for adventure, music, and community enhancement has made a significant impact on the local cycling scene.

Dean Cromwell, the owner of The Spoke Shop, not only has a knack for business; he is a benefactor whose passion has enriched the lives of countless individuals.

As the son of a chiropractor who also happened to be an accomplished jazz musician with a private pilot’s license, Dean grew up flying, playing music and having adventures in a very loving household.  It’s no surprise that Dean’s life has been a tapestry woven with various threads of excitement and creativity.

A trip to The Spoke Shop any day of the week, and you will likely see Dean out on the floor talking about bikes to customers or in his office in the shop. On most Mondays and Wednesdays he rides in The Spoke Shop group rides for road and mountain biking.

He describes his work with palpable enthusiasm, stating, “I love what I do. When you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.”

However, Dean has ambitions to find a balance between work and play, aspiring to step back and spend more time on some personal adventures, such as backpacking.

Dean’s journey with The Spoke Shop began in 2011 when he purchased the business. A devoted mountain bike enthusiast himself, Dean’s connection with the shop goes back to his early days as a customer. He vividly recalls his first purchase, a full-suspension Trek mountain bike, acquired when they were on sale for $999. His journey from that initial purchase to riding a state-of-the-art S-Works bike worth $16,000 is a testament to his deep-rooted passion for cycling.

Dean’s contribution to the cycling community goes beyond business transactions. A pivotal moment in his journey was when he recognized his daughter Sarah’s interest in working with her hands and her mechanical aptitude. Instead of urging her down a conventional career path, Dean encouraged her to pursue what she enjoyed. This led to Sarah attending the Barnett Bicycle School in Colorado Springs and later joining The Spoke Shop’s team.

Dean’s commitment to enhancing the cycling landscape of Billings is evident in his involvement with organizations like Billings TrailNet and Pedal United. His passion for trail building has made him a key figure in the development of cycling infrastructure. Dean has taken the lead on projects such as the Acton Recreation Area and the upcoming Elk Basin project, which holds great potential for expanding mountain bike trails in the region.

When asked about his support for organizations like Billings TrailNet (BTN), Dean says he believes that creating more places to ride bikes in the community will lead to more people adopting cycling as a way of life.

Dean envisions a future where paved and dirt trails coexist and connect to create a cycling haven that attracts enthusiasts from near and far.

Dean speaks about his legacy being tied to the accomplishments he achieves with organizations like Billings TrailNet. He recounts stories of individuals traveling to Acton to experience the trails he helped build, leaving with a sense of awe and excitement. He believes that the potential for Billings to become a premier cycling destination, both on pavement and dirt, can be realized through collaboration and community-driven efforts.

As Dean celebrates the 50th year of The Spoke Shop, he does so with an immense sense of pride and gratitude. The upcoming anniversary celebration is a testament to the vibrant cycling community he has nurtured over the years. But beyond the festivities, Dean’s journey exemplifies the power of passion, community, and a drive to create a lasting impact. His legacy isn’t just about selling bikes; it’s about inspiring adventure and a love for the outdoors that transcends generations.

You are invited to celebrate the The Spoke Shop’s 50 years in business! “There will be tons of bikes on sale,” says Dean.  “Now manufacturers have too much product so now is the time to buy a bike.”  The party at The Spoke Shop will be Sept. 22, from 6-9 pm. There will be live music, food, beer, raffle, and “crazy blowout prices.”



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