April 23rd 1995 was the first day we turned the sign to “open” and Over the Edge Sports was born in Fruita, Colorado USA. At the base of the Colorado National Monument and on the banks of the Colorado River, Fruita was in rebuilding mode after a sudden collapse in the energy economy left the quaint little community of 2,500 seeking a new path forward. Many were skeptical about this “Mountain Bike Destination” idea and many more had no idea what it even meant. The impassioned crew at Over the Edge and a key group of supporters and riders saw the town as a hidden gem and the surrounds of public land for hundreds of miles as the perfect recipe for an intentionally created mountain bike town.
The unique legacy of Over the Edge began as we scrambled to prepare a 90 year old nearly abandoned building into a bike shop while carving out a network of singletrack trails in the desert north of Fruita off of “18 Road”. Our beautiful home building was built in 1906 as A.B. Timmerman Furniture and Undertaking” and had most recently hosted Mountainair Honey and its legendary proprietor Juaquin Watkins who had recently passed away. As people saw activity in the “Honey Building” a collection of people gathered around the movement. “What’s going on” was followed by “how can we help” and a whole army of volunteers rose up and joined the effort to re-fit this building, empty it of its leftover antiquated contents and even carve out trails from old cow tracks in the north Fruita desert. The winter of 1994/1995 was a frenzy of activity surrounding downtown Fruita and the community rallied around it with powerfully open arms. More than a dozen trips to the dump, dozens of antique seekers and a family of workers that took that building from an abandon honey factory to Fruita’s newest business in a mere 6 months. When asked in late 1994 “when will you be open” we replied “by May”, and they retorted with “May of ’96 maybe”! But we made it.
In 1996 someone teased us, saying “I see what you’ve done here, opened a business in a town with no customers and no trails” 😊 But the vision was clear and the powerful passion was alive and on the move. Trails were being built surrounding Fruita before we even knew we needed to ask permission to do so. By the time the BLM became aware and tried to reign in the Fruita MTB movement, the cities of Fruita and Grand Junction had noticed the attention and became supporters of the idea. As the Federal Land Managers told the OTE crew to “stop”, the city of Fruita rode up and said “hold on, we are pretty happy with what’s happening here” and it opened a door between Mountain Bikers and Land Managers that led Over the Edge and Fruita to be an international example of leadership in Mountain Bike Trail development and public land relations.
In April of 1996 at our one year anniversary we hosted the inaugural Fruita Fat Tire Festival and the word of Western Colorado Mountain Biking was out! People had heard that things were happening in Fruita and the world responded in force. Attendees from across the USA and Europe came to ride bikes and join the movement in Fruita Colorado. By the spring of 1997 the Edge Loop had been completed as our banner 30 mile MTB loop and Fruita was seeing out of state plates in town seeking what little was available as far as a meal or a motel. Trails were frantically being built and relations with the BLM were being expanded, and Fruita USA as a MTB World destination was off and running. Over the Edge and the boom of Mountain Biking were ablaze across the western USA and the World.
Our first phrase that we printed on Over the Edge socks and T-shirts was “be passionate about something” and we certainly were; Over the Edge spent the end of the 90’s building exemplary single-track in the area, learning to deal with the BLM and MTB advocacy with the help of the local governments as well as publishing the local guide book and standing up as the driver of trail development and community in vision, we were passionate and had found a community of mutual inspiration and partnership. Fruita as a mountain bike destination had been born and emerged as a leader and example in the world for trail development and the use of MTB Tourism as the driver of a small town America community re-vamp. We are proud to continue to work with communities around the world on this topic of using the power of trails and bikes to energize and unite a community.
By the 10th Anniversary of OTE. Fruita was cemented as an international destination in the MTB World. We ventured into building our own custom bicycles and have continued to explore that with our industry partners. We are proud of our “Edge Cycles” and the family members who ride them to this day. We were blessed with legendary talent and leadership in our ranks; people who went on to found their own legendary businesses such as ACME bikes in Rapid City SD, the Hot Tomato Pizzeria in Fruita Colorado and key leadership positions throughout the MTB business world. We found on an idea of love your people, love your place and move with integrity/love as a business anchor ideal. We are proud of the people who have been a part of this legacy and honored to have worked with the true legends of mountain biking, Fruita Colorado and the passionate leaders of our world. My sincere appreciation to all who have found a shared passion in the community that surrounds Over the Edge Sports and the passionate people who drove it to be what it is today.
We have just celebrated the 27th year of Over the Edge and the Fruita USA MTB legacy. Through our involvement in helping other communities with finding their power in MTB Tourism we have OTE partners in Hurricane Utah, Melrose South Australia, Todos Santos BCS Mexico and our powerful impact in MTB communities around the world. It is our passion and our power and our promise to you, that this is a business of “Love your People and let them Love you back. We offer our most sincere gratitude to the people who believed, the people who became our friends, for your continued passion for life, for adventure and for sharing this power with us. We are proud of the legacy and so excited to be your friends for the next 27 years ahead.
Thank You for being Over the Edge and letting us be your bike shop. Come ride with us!