When former massage therapist Sara Dennehy injured herself skiing last year, she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to work in the field again.
But since then she and her husband Brant have opened a new bike shop Uptown, and the Butte native has found a new path forward.
The Dennehys opened Derailed Bike Shop on West Broadway Street in Uptown Butte April 16, and since then the couple has been fixing up the broken bikes of Butte and selling an array of bikes and cycling-related gear.
The Dennehys have been mountain biking for about 20 years, and the activity is something the Butte natives enjoy together.
“(I like) the fact that you can get out in the middle of nowhere,” said Dennehy when asked what drew her to the sport. Plus, it’s good exercise and a great way to train for skiing, she said.
“It’s something we got into over time,” said Brandt Dennehy, who described biking as a stress reliever and “good for the mind.”
Even before Dennehy’s injury, the couple had often thought of opening their own shop.
Then, last year, Butte bike shop the Outdoorsman closed its doors on Harrison Avenue, which served as a catalyst for the Dennehys, who wanted to fill the gap left behind by the 48-year-old business.
“We thought the community needed another bike shop,” said Brant, reflecting on the decision to start the business.
Derailed is Brant’s second enterprise. He also owns Dennehy Eye Care on Amherst Avenue.
Owning the shop has introduced the Dennehys to cycling enthusiasts from near and abroad.
For many of the cyclists who make the annual journey between Banff, Canada, and Antelope Wells, New Mexico for the Tour Divide mountain bike race, Butte is a common pit stop, drawing cyclists from throughout the U.S. and world.
But there’s plenty of locals, too, who stop by the shop for their biking needs.
“You meet everyone from the beginning rider to the professional riders in town,” said Dennehy. “We get to meet a lot of cool, interesting people.”
The couple says one of their long-term goals for Derailed is to use the business to help grow Butte’s biking community and give cycling a more robust presence in the Mining City, something Dennehy says could be a shot in the arm for tourism.
“We have people who come all the way from Bozeman to ride our trails,” said Dennehy, noting that Butte’s biking trails are one of Montana’s best-kept secrets.
One of the ways the bike shop is helping to grow the sport in Butte is by taking part in the Highlands Cycling Club — an organization that, among other things, advocates for trail maintenance and new trail systems while offering cycling clinics — and participating in the local chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.
In early October, the local chapter announced plans to establish a Montana youth mountain bike league for high school and middle school riders.
The bike shop, meanwhile, offers bikes for kids and adults, running from $200 to $10,000.
“There’s a bike for every rider out there,” Dennehy said.