Classic Moab bike shop in new hands


Tracy Bentley has run the Chile Pepper Bike Shop, a mainstay of Moab’s mountain bike community, for 17 years. 

“There’s been a hell of a lot of change in Moab itself, and also within the shop,” she said. “I just wish I had kept a journal of all the people and events that have happened over the years.”

When Bentley looks at everything that has happened since she bought the shop, which was founded in 1995, she says she’s satisfied with the work she’s done. 

“I set a goal for myself, and I met that goal,” she said proudly.

Now Bentley is turning over the shop and its future to Cole and Sarah Bangert, who recently purchased the Chile Pepper and have their own deep roots in cycling. 

Cole has been in the bike industry since he was young and was the U.S. national downhill champion in 2007. 

“Coming to Moab, it was like the ultimate playground for bikes,” Cole said. “When I was 10, my family would come here for a week and ride the Slickrock Trail every day for a week.”

“My life is just keeping up with him,” Sarah said. The couple has been coming to Moab since they started dating. 

On New Year’s Day this year, the couple and their children were driving back to their home in Fruita, Colorado, from a visit to Moab when they started talking about their love for the area. 

“Sarah decided to check online to see if there were any cool businesses for sale,” Cole said. “I could tell she found something special and she said, ‘Chile Pepper is for sale!’”

The Bangerts have been customers of the shop for many years and ran a recreation company in Eagle County in Colorado for 14 years, so they were confident in their business chops. The pair connected with Bentley and hit it off, with the sale coming together swiftly. 

“This shop has such a cool reputation. We’ve been customers of it for so long… it kind of felt like it was meant to be,” Cole said. 

“Tracy has done such an amazing job,” he went on. “If we can do her proud and honor what she’s built, that would be amazing. And we’re bringing our past experiences and passion for this area.”

Sarah said that right now, the pair were learning about the business and culture that Bentley built at Chile Pepper. “We have ideas and visions and we’re getting a feel as to what the community needs and wants,” she said.

“It’s been an amazing welcome,” Cole said. “I can’t tell you how many locals come in here and when the staff introduces us as the new owners, everyone’s been, ‘Welcome to Moab! This is so cool, I hope you guys do great.’ Every single one of the staff, too.”

While Bentley is stepping away from the shop, she’s staying very much involved with the local bike scene.  “I’m not going anywhere,” she said.

Bentley and the Bangerts are unanimous in their excitement about the quality of Moab-area biking, crediting the community including the Grand County Active Trails & Transportation Department, Trail Mix and the Moab Mountain Bike Association for keeping Moab’s mountain bike scene strong and thriving. 

“Just being able to honor the name of the shop and keep the community feel is important for us,” Sarah said. “But also reaching out and spreading that name worldwide. Moab’s getting a lot more travelers from all over the world and we can give them a little taste of the Chile Pepper while they’re here.”

“I’ve ridden bikes in a fair number of places around the world,” Bentley said, “and I still come back to Moab and say, ‘This is the place!’”

Cole and Sarah smiled in agreement.

“That’s the reason we’re all here, right?” Cole said. “It’s Moab, it’s mountain biking: what else can you say? It’s world-class and it’s timeless.”

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