By Eva Sanchez 

Marden Timen didn’t ever expect to have the keys to College Park Bicycles in hand. The 27-year-old polyglot loved riding bikes for recreation, but he never thought that they would become the center of his career — or that he would one day become the owner of a bike shop. 

Marden Timen at College Park Bicycles
Marden Timen is the new owner of College Park Bicycles.
Courtesy: Eva Sanchez

“It’s interesting; working with bikes is always interesting,” said Timen. “I like to come here [to the shop]. If I don’t come here one day, I feel like I lose something.” 

Timen is Uyghur Muslim and was born and raised in Western China. His life experiences have motivated him to work hard. 

In 2015, Timen came to the U.S. on a student VISA and began studying marketing at Montana State University. Timen speaks many languages, including Turkish, Malay, Uzbek, Uyghur and Chinese. In 2016, Timen began learning English. 

“Right after I graduated college, I tried to find jobs. And then there’s my English. It’s not easy for me,” Timen noted. “I tried so hard to find a job for a couple of months and, like, the pandemic come in, and then there’s no jobs.” 

So Timen turned to biking, his childhood interest. “I see that bikes are hard to find, and I start to buy used bikes and sell them and import some, and that’s how I started,” he said. Timen started selling bicycles a year ago.

One day a postal worker came into Timen’s warehouse and told him that long-time College Park Bicycles owner Larry Black was retiring. 

“I talked with Larry, and he liked me, and I liked him,” Timen said. The transition of ownership from Black to Timen was smooth — so smooth, in fact, that the two still work closely together. Black, a long-time bike enthusiast, has generously shared his knowledge with Timen, and Timen, who started his own brand, ARMDEN sports, has given Black some of his bicycles. 

Timen is eager to improve college students’ access to bikes. “I know the college students are looking for, literal, you know, low price and quality bikes. So that’s what our main target market will be,” said Timen.  

Timen is keenly aware of the environmental advantages of cycling — conventional bicycles offer zero-emission transportation.  But environmental issues can be at play when choosing a bike to buy. 

Timen noted that inexpensive bikes may not last long and sometimes cannot be repaired — and tossing that bike and buying a new one has consequences. “Your intention is to protect the environment, but you’re hurting the environment, because that bike will not work after one year or two years, and you’re throwing it to the trash,” said Timen. 

Timen is passionate about bikes, and it shows; his dedication to the customers and his curiosity for the sport carries on the Larry Black tradition of excellence at the shop. “It’s not just a bike, you know — it’s art,” he said, looking around at all the bikes on display at College Park Bicycles.