“We just want to see people on bikes,” Greg Miranda says of his motivation to run a bicycle shop in Cottonwood. Miranda and his partner, Kelly Zahoudanis (pictured), took over Verde Valley Bicycle Co. in August 2021. The previous owner wanted to pass the store on to someone who shared his vision for making the shop a community-oriented business. And Miranda, a lifelong cyclist with a passion for giving back, was the perfect fit.
“Our No. 1 priority is the community,” he says. “The Verde Valley is just an incredible hub for both beginner cyclists and tourists who want to come rent a bike.”
The shop has bikes for sale and rent, and it also offers repair services and guided bike tours, along with helping customers find the right bike for them. “We have a non-threatening approach,” Miranda says. “We go through a questioning process: ‘What kind of riding do you want to do?’ We’ve even taken people to the park and helped adults learn how to ride.”
Zahoudanis says the shop’s priorities include making sure people have a positive and safe experience on a bike. “I would always encourage someone starting out to go to their local bike shop,” she adds. “We’re going to spend time with the customer to really understand what level they’re at, as well as give them resources as a new cyclist.”
Miranda, who got into cycling as a kid, believes the activity is an outlet for physical and mental health, especially for young people. “I had a troubled upbringing, and [cycling] was always my outlet,” he says. “One of the things that I try to teach is that a bike has always been a resource for me to get back on track. It’s cheaper than a psychologist.”
Focusing on the community is at the forefront of what Verde Valley Bicycle Co. does, and that approach includes organizing weekly group rides for people of all ages and riding levels. “Tourists join us on the rides, and they have so much fun,” Zahoudanis says. “It doesn’t matter what your level is — everyone is just there to have fun.”
The rides are “no drop,” meaning no one gets left behind — everyone stays together, even if some riders have slower paces. For those interested in a higher-level cycling experience, there also are rides led by pro athletes and competitive cyclists.
Beth Duche, who’s been a customer at the bike shop for more than nine years, says Verde Valley Bicycle Co.’s small-town feel is what sets it apart. “You’re treated like a friend and neighbor as soon as you walk in the door,” she says. “Greg is very personable and makes sure his customers receive the bike that is best suited for their needs.”
Miranda also is heavily involved with local schools and their cycling clubs, helping to promote bike safety, health and wellness to students in the area. “I have a lot of head injuries, so getting kids to wear helmets is a huge part of it,” he says. “It’s neat to be able to see the changes that the bike shop is actually making.”
Aside from creating a community of cyclists, Miranda also wants to promote using bikes for transportation in the Verde Valley. He recently took over Chain Reaction, a nonprofit organization that provides refurbished bikes and helmets to veteran, homeless and low-income Verde Valley residents. “Just like Sedona has parking problems, Cottonwood’s going to get there,” Miranda says. “The more people we have on bikes, the fewer cars there are on the roads.”
If you’re considering getting into cycling, here’s Miranda’s best piece of advice: “Don’t spend a lot of money.” He encourages people to visit their local bike shop and get help finding the right fit.
Verde Valley Bicycle Co.
743 N. Main Street,