Bike shops are exciting places. You can visit them, loiter, arrange rides, buy bikes and accessories, make friends. The best shops create community, and Aloha Mountain Cyclery in Carbondale, Colorado, is such a shop. Full disclosure: I loiter, arrange rides, buy stuff, and hang out in this shop. From time to time, I even take an 11-pack (or 10-pack, or 9-pack) of beer to the shop, sort of a rental payment for the time I spend sitting on the comfy couch they have. However, aside from saying nice things about the owners and staff, this is not a shop review.
It’s a review of their cat, Button.
Not many bike shops have a shop cat, particularly a lovely critter such as this one. Button was a rescue cat. Honestly, I have no idea why anyone would have let this sweet, aged cat leave their household. Since moving into the shop a bit over a year ago, she has diligently gone to work, slowly crushing boxes into submission by sitting on them, mooching bites from staff lunches, and using her impressive voice to decalcify spines. Button is, like most cats, aloof and demanding at the same time, particularly when it comes to scratches and rubs. She will ignore you until you get within range, then make it abundantly clear that she deserves attention. This will be even more focused if you have a sandwich in your possession, particularly if it’s chicken.
Button is enough a part of the shop and community that this year’s T-shirt features her.
If your local bike shop doesn’t have a shop cat, you need to re-evaluate your criteria. If you go to Carbondale, you can stop in and visit her. It’s worth the trip.
Update, January 4, 2019: Sadly, Button died on New Year’s Eve, surrounded by the boys in the shop. She was loved by everyone who came into the shop and she will be missed.