When Maverick Cycles opened its doors in my neighborhood last April, it took me a minute to get over my disbelief that such a place had sprung into existence here on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County.
For those unfamiliar with East Los Angeles, Whittier Boulevard is an iconic thoroughfare that runs the length of East LA through Whittier and ends in Brea. Known for its vibrant neighborhoods, street vendors, and storied history of lowrider culture, Whittier Boulevard is a passage of sorts from the heart of LA to the sprawl of Orange County.
About twenty miles from Downtown LA, closer to where Whittier Boulevard meets its suburban end, Maverick Cycles has found its place as a hub for coffee, cycling, and community.
A small building on one slice of a five-way intersection serves as the headquarters for the Maverick Cycles brand. It’s hard to define exactly what Maverick is — it’s part coffee shop (not to mention, a Rapha Partner Cafe), part bike brand, and part adventure cycling boutique. With plenty of reputable bike shops in the area (there’s even one across the street), owner Kevin Kang set out to build something that would serve the local cycling community in a different way.
Before Maverick Cycles, Kevin got his start in the track cycling scene. After getting hooked on racing in the velodrome and fixed gear culture, he co-founded the Engine11 brand, which he still runs today. While Engine11 has always focused on track cycling, Maverick is an opportunity to explore another side of cycling.
Maverick currently produces three steel frames, all built from Reynolds tubing, and on display in the shop. There’s the Santos (Gravel/All Road), Gravelle (Gravel/Touring), Jedan (SS/Track)–and a hardtail mountain bike frame on the way.
There is no shortage of things to nerd out about mid-espresso, from Kevin’s growing collection of film cameras to the curated selection of goods from the likes of Team Dream, Outer Shell, Silca, and Roadrunner Bags. At Maverick, it’s the little things that make cycling fun and it’s clear that everything on display was put there with intention.
I typically find myself stopping by at the end of a ride, intending to grab a quick coffee and coast the few blocks home to my house, but I often end up sticking around for a while. The friendly, light-filled atmosphere makes an impression on you and you can’t help but linger for a while.
If you’ve ever wanted to check out Turnbull and/or Powder Canyon (Whittier’s local trail networks), Maverick is a great place to start and end your ride.
Better yet, on the first Thursday of the month, Kevin and the shop locals will gladly show you around their favorite trails. Regular shop rides and group bike camping trips are announced via Instagram (weather and COVID permitting). Stop in next time you’re visiting mom and dad in the OC, and you just might leave feeling like a local.