Aaron Apel

Aaron Apel

Aaron has called the Flint Hills region home for 15 years( literally has gravel out the backdoor), graduating from Kansas State University in 2009 with BA degrees in Political Science and Philosophy. Directly after his time at KSU Aaron founded, owned and operated Big Poppi Bicycle Co., a brick-and-mortar bicycle shop in the Aggieville business district of MHK. Nationally renowned for its friendly service, repair expertise, and business savvy. Big Poppi Bicycle Co. commonly found itself ranked in the Top 100 bicycle shops in America for their seven year duration.

More recently Aaron has been splitting time doing business development and marketing strategy for Anderson Knight Architects, and has founded Native Trail Solutions, whose core vision is to provide a quality of place through immersive trail experience that allows users intimacy with their natural environment.

When it comes to gravel Aaron is no stranger, competing in the 2009 addition of the DK200 riding single speed, he decided one was enough for a while and has switched to a support role for the last seven additions as a professional mechanic.  Aaron is a Barnetts Bicycle Institute trained master mechanic and USAC certified pro race mechanic and spent three DK200 editions wrenching for Carmichael Training Systems and more recently has been privately hired for some of the events top competitors.

In a nutshell he loves all things bicycle, and the machine itself is a fascinating amalgamation of working with your hands and mental aptitude.  It often requires complex thinking. In fixing bicycles you come up with several potential lines of cause and effect for manifested symptoms, judging their likelihood before executing a physical investigation and repair. This imagining relies on a mental library that is developed over years. A drive train/brakes/wheels can work in any number of ways, and different manufacturers have tried different approaches. Each has its own proclivities for failure. You also develop a library of sounds and smells and feels. And then……. After it’s tuned perfectly, exploring and letting that machine push you to places you never thought you could go physically and mentally is like nothing else in the world.

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