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The triple threat: A new athletic shop opens in downtown SLO


RUN, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN:  SLO Bike and Run understands the needs of its athletic customers. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • RUN, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN: SLO Bike and Run understands the needs of its athletic customers.

Small businesses in SLO have it tough. Having to compete with corporations and online vendors can make it difficult for a small town shop owner to keep up.

But according to SLO Bike and Run owner Debbie Gower, her business has something that puts the “unity” back in community.

As the only full service biking and running store downtown, as well as the only store of its kind to be a member of both the SLO Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Association, the sister store to Atascadero’s Go For It Sports is much more than the name implies.

The athletic store opened on Nov. 4 on Marsh Street next to the post office. It provides a mechanic seven days a week to service major and minor bike repairs, experienced runners—from ultra-distance to marathon runners—to size and perform a stride analysis on every customer and even wet suit rentals and swim gear for triathletes.

“It’s thrilling to be in an area that has so much energy. The vibe [downtown] is really good,” Gower said. “It’s very energetic and positive.”

A 12-year triathlete herself, Gower and husband, Scott, have a passion and knowledge for fitness. And they cite the fact that Go For It Sports has become a familiar name at marathons and running events across the West Coast.

“We have a strong athletic background,” Gower said. “It’s great because we can relate to our customers’ issues and needs. If someone comes in and says ‘hey, I’m on mile 23 and I’m going through this,’ we can help them.”

Being able to share free knowledge with others who are setting personal goals for themselves in any or all three sports, Gower admits, is “pretty fulfilling.”

Unlike bigger corporate stores, SLO Bike and Run provides expert, one-on-one customer service as well as a sense of friendship to ensure an experience that locals and tourists alike will appreciate.

“Customers come and go. But some customers, we give them a little dream and they start slow. Then they progress and progress and actually meet their goal,” Gower said. “And it’s really cool for us to see that.”

Ranging from urban-commuters to elegant racing bikes for beginners and elites, the new shop sells and rents bikes for daily and weekly rentals starting from $50. Minor tune-ups and major repairs start at $60. Eight-year owners of Go For It Sports, the Gowers will beat or meet any competitor’s prices at SLO Bike and Run to ensure optimal customer service.

Although just a few weeks old, the new tri-shop has big plans for the future, from scheduled runs and bike training to a ride-up bike repair service. SLO Bike and Run will be holding its grand opening toward the second weekend of December.

While they are still setting up shop and figuring out official store hours, visit Go For It Sports’ Facebook page for store updates and local events.


Fast fact

The 35th annual Central Coast Craft Fair and Boutique is coming to the SLO Veterans Hall Friday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. With more than 130 vendors, this event is the largest indoor and outdoor craft show on the Central Coast. In addition to the handmade arts, crafts, and decorations, drawings for free door prizes will be held every 30 minutes. For more information, contact


Intern Tally Meyers compiled this week’s Strokes. Send your business and nonprofit news to

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