BY SARA BOWEN | COBALT CONSULTING LLC — Mountain Man Sports opened its doors in Maumee 45 years ago at Parkway Plaza and is still guiding residents to the right gear for the perfect recreational experience.
Staff members Mark Armstrong, Adam Slough and Mark Musgrave are all experts in their recreational fields and are always happy to share their experience with our community. Let’s learn more below.
Northwest Ohio is not always synonymous with outdoor recreation. Where do you find your adventures?
Armstrong: “Mountain Man has been taking people outdoors since 1976, and that is where your adventure will begin in Northwest Ohio. We may not have mountains here, but we have a plethora of ways to enjoy the outdoors. There are endless bike trails for both mountain and road biking. We have Lake Erie to draw us into water adventures, like kite boarding, and numerous ski resorts dating back to the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s all within driving distance of Mountain Man. For those wanting a true mountain experience, Detroit Metro and Toledo Express can make that happen within a few short hours. Another area that many people are starting to enjoy is bikepacking and bike touring.”
Bikepacking? What does that mean?
Armstrong: “Bikepacking or touring is when you go camping using your bike as transportation and a gear carrier. You have no limit on where you ride. People use the Rails to Trails system, roads or off-road trails to explore. Bikers plan on camping or riding from hotel to hotel, depending on their travel style. We carry the gear that will equip your bike with touring bags to carry your luggage. This has been an especially great way to explore and accommodate social distancing.”
How has the community changed over the years in regard to recreation?
Slough: “When Mountain Man opened its doors in the Maumee Parkway Plaza, it was to serve the demand that was underserved for quality outdoor gear. The need for this gear has not changed over the years very much, but the gear itself certainly has. One of the great things about our shop is that all of us who work there like to get outside, ourselves, which enables us to keep up with the trends. We keep the shop supply current to ensure our customers always have access to the best equipment.”
What is an example of new gear that is out there?
Musgrave: “There are several sports that have been introduced since our shop opened. Snowboarding and kite boarding are two examples of relatively young sports that we have adapted our shop to support. Within each sport, there are always advancements. For example, now we carry electric bikes, which are great for people who want to ride their bikes for commuting or to use them to carry them further than they could on their own. Interestingly, they are also a cycling equalizer. If you have a group of friends that love to ride and one is not as fast, the e-bike allows that person to stay with the pack and ride with their friends. This is a fantastic application we did not expect.”
Tell me about the COVID impact on recreation.
Slough: “While living through a pandemic has been a challenge for all of us, the interesting positive outcome is our collective appreciation for the outdoors. We have seen many new faces come into the shop looking to find new ways to recreate, and we are so glad to help. Our saying, ‘Taking People Outside Since 1976,’ has been applied to many new people this year. The shop’s vast supply of bikes, skateboards, kites, skis, snowboards and clothing is here, ready to support the adventures of all sizes, kids to adults.”
We keep hearing about supply shortages. What are you seeing?
Armstrong: “Yes, there have been significant shortages in the supply chain with the global interruption of the workforce, and we are all seeing the impact. However, our longstanding relationships with our suppliers have helped us navigate the shortages well and we are usually able to find what we need to help our customers.”
Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share with our community?
Slough: “We love serving our community and do so in so many ways. We are hopeful as we move out of this pandemic that the growing appreciation for outdoor recreation continues. A few activities that we have to participate in include:
Kite clinics – come learn how to kite board at Maumee Bay State Park on Saturdays, July 10 and August 21.
Mountain bike rides – every Tuesday, meet at the Mountain Man Shop.
Annual ski swap – in the fall, watch for dates.
Annual bike swap – in the spring, watch for dates.
We also love to give back. One of our favorite charities is Toledo Bikes. This organization is a community bicycle-recycling and education center. We donate equipment and our time to get these bikes running and outside in use.”
How do people find you?
Armstrong: “Since the mid-1980s, we have been located on Reynolds Road just south of Central Avenue. Check our website at www.mountainmansports.com for current hours, as they are seasonal.”