Interview with Conner Lacey — Bike Racer and Shop Manager

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By Anthony J. Nocella II — Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Conner Lacey to talk about managing a bicycle shop and team. Conner has honed his skills at Contender Bicycles in Park City, and at Hanger 15 Bicycles in Millcreek, Utah. He currently manages Sun and Ski Sports in Murray, Utah.

Anthony Nocella: Being a manager entails a balance between possessing knowledge and skills and demonstrating care for both people and the environment. When establishing a bicycle shop or team, cultivating certain values is crucial. What are some of the important values you look for between your teammates and co-workers?

Conner Lacey: For both the shop and my teammates I’m looking for outgoing, fun, positive, and most importantly kind people, who are striving to pursue their passion for cycling. With that passion fosters a team that will work together and set goals for success. 

Conner Lacey, bike racer and shop manager. Photo by Dallin Burkart

AN: What are some of the most important skills and knowledge to have as a manager of a bike shop?

CL: First you have to be a good fit for a bike shop and vis versa. Let me explain, there is a lot that goes into running a successful shop; you have to be as knowledgeable as possible on all types of bicycles your bike shop caters to, (without being arrogant), which might not be all types of bicycles in general.

Some bike shops only cater to mountain bikers or road bikers, or e-bikers, or BMXers, or lowrider bikes, or used bikes, or affordable bikes, or triathlon bikes, or handmade bikes, or gravel/cyclocross bikes, while a few shops carry everything for the family.

I believe people who intend to spend thousands of dollars and those that are only looking to spend a few dollars, should all be served with the same excellent and respectful quality of service so they can get out of the door set up on a bike for success. I do not believe that if you spend more you get better service, and if you spend less you should not get great service.

AN: As a nationally competitive cyclist who has been immersed in the Salt Lake bicycle community for your entire life, what aspect do you cherish most about the cycling scene in Salt Lake City?

CL: I have been racing nationally road and mountain bikes for most of my life, one thing about the Utah cycling community that keeps me going is the generally friendly and outgoing nature of people. Though it can seem highly competitive and serious in Utah, most everyone is out there to have a good time. Road group rides such as TNE and Sunday Worship express that attitude that very well. I also see competitive cycling, but very friendly and fun attitudes at the local mountain bike race series Midweek and the Wednesday night weekly race series.

AN: What would you like to see more of in the cycling community in general and in Salt Lake City in particular?

CL: This one is tough, as much as I would like to see more high-level UCI mountain bike and road races locally, I really think we should be looking at supporting the youngsters in the Utah high school league, NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association). As great as that program is, it drills in a lot of these kids heads that cycling is only about competing and it’s not at all what that should be. Most teams focus on training for a race or racing, not bikepacking, bike safety on the road, dirt jumping, bike polo, fixie riding, lowrider bikes, or other fun activities with bikes. We should strive to give them that passion to just ride, having fun on a bike is much more than just being on a racetrack. The local Group Maybird Cycling is doing a great job at just that. 

AN: What do you think we as cyclists can do to protect environment more?

CL: Commute! Not only is it good for the environment. It’s a really nice way to clear your head to or from — work, relationships, school, politics, or family. 

AN: What would you say are the five best mountain bike trails in Utah and why?

CL: I have always tough time thinking of the best mountain bike trails in Utah, but the ones I always go back to are the; Mag 7 trail system located in Moab, Utah, Jacob’s Ladder in Corner Canyon Trails located in Draper, Utah, Pinecone located in Park City, Utah, Mill D located in Park City, and The Zen Trail located in Saint George, Utah.

 

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