Bikes and brews, they go hand in hand. Or at least Greenville’s Chip and Jackie Batson seem to think so.
The husband-and-wife duo and veteran mountain bikers recently held the grand opening for their new venture, Piney Mountain Bike Lounge, on March 18.
The new full-service bike shop and craft beer taproom, which is located at 20 Piney Mountain Road, features local craft beers, a pump track with an outdoor viewing area, and an extensive inventory of mountain bikes and gear.
“We want Piney Mountain Bike Lounge to become the wheelhouse for the Upstate’s mountain biking community,” said Chip Batson. “We’ve created a space where people can hang out, buy a beer, plan weekend rides, share stories, and meet new people from the community.”
In 2016, Jackie decided to quit her job at Greenville Middle School, where she taught eighth-grade math for 12 years. She then discussed her decision with Chip, who encouraged her to pursue something different.
She chose mountain biking.
Both Chip and Jackie have extensive mountain biking history. Chip, who started mountain biking in 1988 with his father, has ventured to West Virginia and several other states to shred rubber across new trails. And Jackie, who started mountain biking in 1992 as a student at the University of Georgia, spends some weekends racing across trails as a member of several mountain biking teams.
For years, they discussed the need for a place that mountain bikers could call home, and to get more people interested in mountain biking. The duo eventually noticed an empty building off Piney Mountain Road that was directly in the path of Paris Mountain.
“It started as a joke, but it had natural momentum,” Jackie said. “We had friends who wanted to be a part of it, and volunteers who wanted to help us out. It just seemed like something the community really wanted.”
She added, “With the mountain biking culture, beer is often involved. We decided to combine the two.”
The duo started planning their shop and purchased the building in April.
With help from friends and volunteers, they spent the summer demolishing and reconstructing the building. It now features a full-service bike shop that offers brake adjustments, bolt checks, custom wheels, and more. Piney Mountain Bike Lounge also currently sells Rocky Mountain and Norco mountain bikes, which interested customers can demo on local trails before purchasing.
The bar serves various local and regional craft beers, including Greenville’s Brewery 85 and Birds Fly South Ale Project, and hosts several food trucks, including Automatic Taco and Chuck Truck.
But the most popular attraction at the Piney Mountain: The pump track, a looping trail of dirt mounds and curves that allows visitors to ride continuously without pedaling. “The goal is to use your upper and lower body pumping motion to maintain your speed around the track without using the pedals,” Chip said.
Piney Mountain Bike Lounge, which held a soft opening in November, has attracted interest from mountain bikers and non-bikers alike. “Our shop is not just for those riding bikes. We’re becoming the local watering hole for nearby neighborhoods, and kids are coming out to enjoy the pump track,” Jackie said. “It’s exactly what we hoped for.”
Now the duo is thinking about the shop’s future.
“We’re trying to get our feet under us at this point, but we’ve got some ideas circulating around,” Jackie said. “We’ve talked about hosting some local mountain bike races that might be fun and quirky.”