Paul de Valera does it all, he’s the mechanic, manager, buyer, PR, HR, ride leader, ride organizer, social media expert, designer, illustrator, coaster brake extraordinaire at Atomic Cycles. Paul doesn’t have a cell phone, still uses a yahoo email address, and hand draws every single one of his flyers. While this may be fine for a shop that puts on a handful of events a year, but Paul’s ride calendar is ridiculous. Atomic Cycles host a weekly BMX Cruiser ride, two Coaster Brake Race Series a year, vintage mountain bike rides, downhill racing on children’s bikes, a few long gravel rides, a winter and summer solstice ride across the Santa Monica Mountains, a SoCal Single Speed Mountain Bike Championship, a ride where everyone dresses like ninjas in the middle of the night and spends most the ride in fear of someone jumping out and attacking them, a BMX Sidehack Race, the S.C.U.M.B.A.G Mountain Bike Weekend, a Turkey Day Ride, and a SanFernando Valley to DTLA ride. Try to say that 10 times fast!
My first visit to Atomic Cycles was during last years Coaster Brake Challenge, when I pulled up I didn’t know if I was even in the right place. There is absolutely no signage outside and all the bikes for sale outside were so different, it felt more like the bike rack at your local Middle School. I needed a axle to turn a 110 coaster hub into something 135 to fit an All-City JYD for a someone. While QBP most definitely did not have the part, Paul was sitting on hundreds of them. I’d say Paul also has the largest collection of old Schwinn one-piece cranks in the world, hopefully, one person reading this utilizes that information.
When you walk in, it feels like you just dug yourself out of the largest bike pile you’ve ever been a part of. There are bikes hanging from everywhere. You have Fat Chances and old Italian bikes sitting next to $65 bikes. There’s cheap stuff and there’s $200 handmade in the USA BMX Cruiser stems. Paul even makes his own BMX Cruiser/Klunker Bikes: The Article One, Two, and Three, you can see those hanging from the walls with his own 26″ Snakebelly tires. Paul also has made a few Champion and Cook Bros replica bikes that he raffles off at the end of every Coaster Brake Challenge. While this place isn’t for everyone, I’m pretty sure everyone could find something in this small shop they can’t live without! It’s really not often you can say that about a bike shop.
Take a look at the photos, plan a visit to the shop, but more importantly, make it to one of Paul’s events! That is where the true magic happens, I know I’ll be attending Atomic Cycles’ events for as long as he can keep it up! I’m really hoping to get a Sidehack together this year for the race on October 4th! Even if I don’t, I’ll definitely make sure I’m there, with camera in hand.