Owners: Sarah, Tad, and Josephine Armstrong.
photos by Greg Clarke

Hesitation Point
Bike and Backcountry

by Karen E. Farley

Throughout the year, outdoor enthusiasts head for Brown County to hike and ride the trails. Most return home after exploring, but Tad and Sarah Armstrong decided to make Brown County their new home. In March, they relocated from Indianapolis to Nashville.

The couple met in Bloomington five years ago, while Tad was playing at a show in a restaurant. He is a singer, songwriter and plays bass guitar. Both enjoy the outdoors and recently completed 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Over the last few years, the idea of a bike shop in Nashville kept coming up in their conversations.

“In October, after the Brown County Breakdown, that’s a mountain biking event held each fall in the park, we said, ‘Let’s do this. We either do this or stop talking about it,'” says Sarah.

Two months ago, the couple opened Hesitation Point Bike and Back Country in downtown Nashville.

“We chose that name because Hesitation Point, in Brown County State Park, is one of the area’s most beautiful vistas,” Tad says.
The mountain biking trail may have inspired the name of their bike shop, but riding trails is not new to the adventurous couple.

They both grew up in Northern Indiana. Sarah was raised on a farm and spent most of her time riding horses. Tad always rode a bike around the neighborhood. He remembers his first bike that his grandparents gave him and his brother.

“We had matching red, Schwinn Stingrays,” he says. “We rode around delivering newspapers on them. We both saved up money from our paper routes and bought different seats, handlebars and pedals. We converted them to BMX bikes. Eventually, we bought actual BMX bikes because the Stingrays were just not cutting it in the neighborhood. I still have those bikes. I rescued them from my mom’s attic.”

Tad and Sarah love the outdoors and plan to share that passion with others. Their excitement is what keeps customers coming back for tune-ups and accessories, and sharing stories about trails across the country.

“Our aim is to get more people on more trails: hiking, biking, running or riding,” he adds. “We love the outdoors and want to be a place to rest, look at the map and figure out your next move.”

For the past three years, Tad has participated in the Brown County Breakdown in the park. It is the biggest fundraiser for the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association (HMBA). The 9th Annual Breakdown is scheduled for Sept. 27-29. According to HMBA website, “The Brown County Breakdown isn’t a race; it’s just a great ride in the woods with a few hundred of your closest friends.” The ride begins and ends at Brown County State Park. There is live bluegrass music throughout the weekend, food and drinks will be available at the end of the ride. Limited group camping will be at the start/finish area. Bikers can register online at <www.browncountymountainbiking.com/breakdown>.

Brown County has become a world-class mountain biking destination. In 2011, Brown County was added to the International Mountain Biking Association’s Epic Rides. With so many locals and tourists from around the world, Tad and Sarah saw an obvious need in Nashville.

“There wasn’t a bike shop in Nashville,” he explains. “Occasionally we would need something and the closest place was either Bloomington or Columbus. It seemed that there was a space to fill here.”

With their love of mountain biking, and desire to seize an opportunity, they opened the shop.

The couple hired Andre Phillips as the bike repair expert. They are excited about the professionalism he brings to the shop “We wanted someone who was really good at repairing bikes,” he adds. “Andre is a perfectionist,” says Tad. “His idea of a good time is working on bikes- diagnosing problems and fixing them, making bikes run better. Every bike we sell has been inspected and approved by Andre. Nothing gets out the door without his okay.”

Hesitation Point Bike and Back Country sells bikes, accessories and outdoor gear. They currently carry two brands of bikes: Felt and Niner. The store also offers both 26 and 29 inch Felt mountain bikes for day rental with free delivery to Brown County State Park. They plan to expand their product line and offer group rides in the fall.
The new bike shop is definitely a family affair. Their 14-year-old daughter, Josephine, helps out at the shop on weekends and enjoys helping customers and organizing merchandise.

Stop by the shop for a tune-up, cup of espresso or chat with Tad, Sarah, Josephine or Andre at 23 North Jefferson, next to Nashville’s Village Green area. Open 10 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday and 11 to 5 on Sunday. Call (812) 988-4566 for appointments or rentals.
Visit their website at <www.hesitationpoint.com>, or check out their facebook page at <www.facebook.com/HesitationPoint>.