We are a tight-knit group of hard-working, hard-riding, bicycle-loving, Sedona-devoted friends. We started Thunder Mountain Bikes because we believe that the riding here is some of the best in the world, and we want to share that experience with everyone. Collectively, our staff has been pedaling and wrenching bikes for decades—perhaps over a century, though that’s a little scary to admit. We aspire to provide fast and flawless bike repair and service, the widest range possible of killer bikes and gear, and a friendly welcome to everyone who steps through the door. Please stop in, say hi, let’s talk bikes and all things Sedona.
When we opened our West-Sedona location in 2011, we knew we wanted to help grow the cycling scene in town, but we only dreamed that it would become as big and vibrant as it has today. We’re still in the same cozy, brick building we started at a decade ago, but our staff has doubled, our rental fleet quintupled, and our shelves are graced by the largest selection of bike and apparel brands of any shop in town. We’ve volunteered countless hours and dollars to building local trails and launched the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, now in its sixth year. Through it all, we’ve ridden every inch of every trail in town countless times, retained the most skilled bike mechanics in the state, and continued to refine our knowledge and passion for Sedona riding. What’s next? More trails, more folks visiting us to ride, and much more fun, we hope. It’s been a great first decade for us, and Thunder Mountain Bikes is looking forward to even better trails ahead.
At Thunder Mountain Bikes, we don’t just talk about improving Sedona riding; we make it happen. We’re supporters of both the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition (VVCC), which advocates for expanded local bike lanes and MTB projects including the Sedona Bike Skills Park, and the Red Rock Trail Fund, a nonprofit that has donated thousands of dollars and countless hours to town trail creation and maintenance. We also sponsor regular trail-maintenance days, as well as contribute to the Sedona Trail Keepers, a consortium of local businesses that have donated over $370,000 to trail development and upkeep since the group’s 2017 inception. We collaborated with the Chamber of Commerce to pay for and install seven bike fix-it stations at popular trailheads around town (Hiline, Adobe Jack, Chuckwagon, etc.) Oh, and the annual Sedona Mountain Bike Festival? We conceived and put that on every year, too.
A native of southern California and a San Diego State alum with a degree in business and sales, Jason First spent almost a decade at boutique bike components brand Crank Brothers before launching Thunder Mountain Bikes. “I’ve been immersed in the bike industry forever, so starting a shop just made sense,” he says. “Our main aim has always been to foster the community of cycling in Sedona. We want to be a hub for locals, tourists, and everything biking in this town.” It takes a lot of time together behind the counter to make a bike shop successful over ten years, but Firsty and Raney agreed early on that part of the business is riding, and they still get out and shred local trails together weekly. “Even today, the quality of riding here amazes me,” Firsty says. “There are tons of technical trails, but plenty of riding for everyone. The views are everywhere. And there’s nowhere with more great trail in such proximity to town. This is definitely the right place.”
From the day he started at Dirty Harry’s Bikes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at age 14, Mike knew he’d someday have his own bike shop. The only years he didn’t work full-time at a shop was while at college at Flagstaff’s Northern Arizona University, where he earned a business degree while racing both road and downhill, and during a five-year stint as a purchaser and brand manager at BTI, one of the country’s biggest bicycle suppliers. Along with partner Jason First, whom he met on the downhill circuit, Mike returned to retail in 2011, when the pair launched their shop in Sedona. Mike was also the vision and force behind the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival. “It’s always been my goal to make cycling as normal and approachable as football or basketball,” he says. “No way will I say we’re fully responsible, but we’ve been psyched to be part of the growth and energy that has made Sedona one of the country’s hottest riding destinations.”