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Ex-pro cyclists combine passion for bikes, coffee

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Weekends were for racing when Jerry Cannon was a professional cyclist. Mondays were for coffee. He would start a new week by giving his legs a break, finding a coffee shop and hanging out. A business idea was born. Cannon envisioned a place where cyclists could share stories, gather for group rides, get a flat tire repaired, fill a water bottle and enjoy a cup of coffee and a baked good. So far it has been so good for Trailhead Coffee & Cycling Lounge at the corner of Taylor Road and English Colony Way in Penryn. A celebration last month marked the business’ first anniversary. Last September was hardly the opportune time to start a business. Cannon and another former pro cyclist, Rob Johnson, pedaled ahead with confidence as they turned Trailhead into a reality. All those Mondays spent in coffee shops convinced Cannon that he and Johnson could make it work. “That’s how I got this concept,” Cannon said. “I’ve had this on my mind for about three to six years.” The lounge sits at the end of a row of shops and was once a real estate office. Cannon renovated the space, which he described as a “dungeon,” and continues to tinker with the design. “I took a gamble,” he said. “You have to go in full bore or don’t go in at all.” The cycling part of the venture was easy for the partners. Cannon and Johnson can talk about bikes with the best in the business. Cycling memorabilia covers the lounge’s walls and ceiling. A Team Telekom bike ridden in the Tour de France hangs from a ceiling. A Greg LeMond bike frame sits on a shelf. All the walls are covered with jerseys and photos, and a few are autographed. “Everything in here is real,” Cannon explained. “There’s a story behind every jersey and every bike.” Cannon and Johnson have ordered Trailhead jerseys and riding shorts that will soon be for sale at the lounge. They can also assist customers in buying a bike, whether it is new or pre-owned. The two also know how to repair bikes to keep riders on the road. There is a large tool box and a repair stand on the lounge’s deck. A mechanic is on duty Fridays and Saturdays to assist cyclists. If a broken bike strands a cyclist, Cannon and Johnson will loan the rider a bike so he or she can get home. “That blows people away,” said Cannon, who keeps his bike parked outside the lounge’s bathroom. When it comes to making coffee, Cannon can draw from his experience of managing a coffee shop for four years after retiring from cycling. Johnson is a chef who bakes snacks at his home. Johnson’s Trailhead bars are a tasty treat for cyclists and for those who prefer other modes of transportation. Bob Smith lives in Sebastopol and brings along his bike when he visits his daughter in Auburn. He stopped by Trailhead one recent morning during his ride when he was running low on water. “I’ve come across bike shops and coffee shops,” Smith said, “but this place is a great combination.”