Step Inside the Velo Cult Jul 21, 2010

While I was in town for the Summer Fix LA event, I got a car and drove down to San Diego to see one of my all-time-favorite shops in person. Velo Cult has always been a bit of a mystery to me living on the east coast. It’s one of those shops that actually takes the time to cultivate an online catalog of all (well, most) their inventory. Their blog posts are truly amazing and their graphic designer and photographer just kills it consistently. So with high hopes and my SLR, I headed through the front door of Velo Cult.

Step inside with me…

A good judge of character for any shop is what’s in the stand when you walk in the door. Be it a 3-speed cruiser with a flat, or a carbon road bike getting the newest group, what’s in the stand tells a lot about the kind of shop you’re dealing with. It just so happened that this beauty was getting an overhaul when I entered the shop.

It’s easy to focus on the small details in most bike shops; the autistic approach, focus on the leaves, not the tree, etc. When I stumbled into the amazingly-lit space that was breathing the gorgeous San Diego air, I couldn’t help but take in the overall space first. Bikes were everywhere.

I’m not just saying that either. Literally, the entire space was oozing with rare and hand-crafted machines. Like that Sachs? Or that Landshark? Or the countless other bicycle frames hanging by their dropouts?

The mechanics area was on display behind this Bilenky.

Giving you a glimpse into the inner workings.

Triangles created vignettes into decades of bike lust.

From behind the check-out counter.

As I said earlier, it’s easy to get lost in details.

… and overlook the beauty on display.

In the most peculiar of places.

Sky and Anthony offered me a brew (which I’ll call Koolaid for the purpose of the cult metaphor) which made the experience a bit more euphoric.

The headbadges alone would merit a post. Or a book.

A Coors Classic water bottle.

An ordinary Serotta?

Not by far. Look at that brake bridge? Super aero.

Velo Cult has amassed a stable of track bikes.

Details, right down to the business card displays.

Molteni for you and me.

If you get the chance to visit the shop, be sure to say hey to the shop dog. Later on that day, Sky showed me his private collection at the Velo Cult warehouse. It was the most overwhelming history in mountain bikes I’ve ever seen. That’s the real difference between most shops and the ones that make a difference; passion. You couldn’t put an enthusiast behind a desk in a cubicle, they need to be in the field getting their hands dirty. If you’re ever in San Diego, I highly recommend getting your hands dirty in Velo Cult and don’t worry, it’s ok to drink the Koolaid.

I took so many photos while I was there. It was hard to not limit this entry to 20, so I uploaded a ton more to my Flickr. Head on over and check them out!

  • I had a chance to stop in earlier this year. It’s so densely packed with great bikes it’s hard to capture with a camera. Great shop.

  • The shop is amazing, I was lucky enough to work here for a while and everyday Sky would bring in more and more frames and parts he would find from all over the US.

    Very hard not to spend my entire paycheck every week on something in the shop.

  • Great to meet with you John. It’s great when people “get” what we are doing here.

    That Serotta is a very early 1977 model made by Ben Serotta when it was just a one man operation. It has beautiful details all the way around. Here’s better photos

  • – Sweet!
    Wich it was my garage…
    I use my living room as a store for the moment and not so popular with my girlfriend for the moment but screw that…
    it’s my flat!!!?;-)
    u’r doing a hell of a nice job!!!
    Love from sweden!

  • ALEX

    The campy tool kit as the registrar desk area is so top notch isn’t it?
    glad you showed San Diego’s best bicycle enthusiast shop

  • Great article and pics.
    I’m definitely going on a tour next time i’m in So Cal.