In his mid-20s, without prior business education or experience, Dylan Scott bought his first company. At the time, Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours (306 S. 25th St.) was a failing business with little more than a name, but Scott created a successful company that helps adventure-seekers experience downhill rides along the Pikes Peak Highway and Gold Camp Road. Scott, 36, spoke to the Business Journal this week about his business, his own cycling pursuits and how the two converge.
Tell me a little bit about the business.
It was about nine years ago when we first started. I took it over and we were keeping everything in a semi trailer and running all the tours out of a trailer parked in the lot next door. We did that for the first six years, and during that I had another full-time job in sales and was manager of an electrical supply house here in town. It was really difficult to handle the two of those at once. Even though this was my love, it ended up being neglected. I had to make a decision to either get rid of the business or really to go all in. So I decided to stick with my other job and sell the business … but I ended up backing out, because it is my dream to put people on bikes and do my own thing. So I quit that job and took the risk to build this business up.
That’s when you moved into the building?
Yeah, we moved in here, and I did all the construction work and everything to try to set it up nice. So this is our fourth year in here and we’ve seen a lot of growth since then — it has been so much fun and I absolutely love what I do. I personally love mountain biking, so I love to put other people on bikes and do these tours … We hear all the time that this is the most fun someone has had while they were on vacation … although we also get a lot of locals. It’s surprising how many people that live here haven’t been up Pikes Peak. I love doing it and I love the flexibility it offers me personally, because I race a lot. We couldn’t do what we do and we wouldn’t be ranked No. 1 on TripAdvisor for Colorado Springs if it weren’t for the amazing guides that we’re blessed to have working here.
Have you always been a biker?
For the first six years or so after I bought the business, I liked biking, but I didn’t love it. I would go out a handful of times in the summer and mess around with my friends, but it really wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve become really passionate about it. I have a friend who got me into racing and through that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the sport. It’s fun now to have that passion for biking and be involved in a business that is all about biking — it makes me love it all much more.
Backtracking a little bit here: Where are you from originally?
I’m actually from Ely, Minn. I went to college in the Twin Cities and while I was in college, the summer between my junior and senior years, two of my friends … we ended up coming out to Ouray, Colo., to camp all summer … I got into rock climbing, fly fishing and I just fell in love with the mountains that summer. So after I finished up college, I moved out here and I’ve been here for about 13 years now.
What did you study in college?
I went to school for intercultural studies. At the time, my desire was to be a bush pilot in a different country. I love different cultures, experiencing different ways of life and traveling. I still have a passion for all of that, but there are definitely times I wish I would have gotten a business major instead.
What was it like buying the business in Colorado Springs?
It was definitely overwhelming, because I didn’t know anything about business plans or bookkeeping or any of that stuff. I had some people help me out and get me on the right track. I don’t have any experience anywhere else starting a business, so I don’t know that there is “good or bad” specifically. But, in the summertime, everyone loves to come to Colorado, so obviously what I do is a good fit. I do enjoy the fact that it is sort of a tourism business. I enjoy giving people new experiences. There are a lot of people who come out and haven’t seen a mountain before — the things we see every day and take for granted — so it keeps things fresh for us too.
Where do you plan to go from here?
I would love to continue to grow what we already have … but I always have ideas of doing different things as well. I want to expand our season to be year-round, and I think that’s the next step we’ll take. We’ve got a fleet of fat tire bikes now, and I think it would be phenomenal to be able to run tours up on Gold Camp during the winter … I’d also like to expand into more technical rides and off-road tours in Cheyenne Canyon or Palmer Park. Right now everything we do is catered to a beginner, so I would like to be able to offer more moderate tours as well as advanced, technical things.
How do you spend your free time?
I do Enduro races, so in the summertime I’m gone every other weekend all across the state and even down in New Mexico. … I’ve got two daughters (3 and 8) and they also love to bike, which is a beautiful thing. For instance, tomorrow morning I am taking them to the dirt track at Goose Gossage Park, because they love to play around there. So instead of taking them to daycare, we get to do that. It’s a way of life that I love, and it would be hard to go back to a standard job now.