Going to a bike shop has never been a drop off-and-pick up deal for me. I do not own a car, so ever since I started riding, going for a repair meant I’d ride/walk my bike and hang about in the shop while the mechanic took care of whatever needed attention. This developed into a habit: lurk around at bike shops every time I went to one, which was received in different ways depending on the place I’d go to, since I’d want to see and learn from what was being done while at the same time try not to annoy the person working, a balance hard to achieve.
A month after the autumnal equinox I found myself on a 15-hour drive up the backbone of California to attend the 2019 Chris King Open House. After last year’s event, I wondered if the event would be as splendid as the year prior. I must admit, I was surprised.
Nevada City is located in the western Sierra foothills in California. If you were to drive from San Francisco to the sleepy little mountain bike destination town of Downieville, chances are you’d roll right through Nevada City. It’s this gateway location that prompted Jay Barre to open a new bike shop, named You Bet.
Santa Cruz has no shortage of bike shops. This sleepy little beach town might be known for its surfing and pesky vampires, but the road and mountain riding is exceptional. With a myriad of dirt and paved roads snaking their way through coastal redwoods, and dusty, steep mountain bike trails, any cyclist can spend days upon days exploring the terrain. Spokesman Bicycles is one of the powerhouse shops in Santa Cruz and just recently opened up what they’re calling Outpost on the West Side of town, right next to their friends Sawyer and Co, a surfing lifestyle shop.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve looked at a few bike shops with very unique business models. From opening their stock up as a rental fleet, to stocking only Rivendell and Bob Dylan, and roadside attractions, looking to recycle as much as possible, we’ve run quite the gammut of business models this summer here on the Radavist. Another shop that I recently documented was Santa Fe’s Broken Spoke and they’re doing something unique in the modern internet sales versus the Local Bike Shop climate…
This is the unofficial mantra of Rivelo in Portland, Oregon, the only Rivendell bike shop in Portland. Crazy, right!?! That’s what I thought too! Rivelo is also the only bike shop in the world that only carries Rivendell. There are no All-City, Crust, Rawland, Velo Orange, Soma, or any other bikes but Rivendells. While many bike shops carry brands that have all been inspired by Rivendell or maybe even wouldn’t exist without Rivendell. Rivelo makes it a point to just carry Rivendell. They aren’t scared of 1″ threaded headsets and rim brakes, that’s for damn sure!
Summer is here and with it, road trips! On our recent romp throughout the American West, we found ourselves driving through the little town of Dolores, Colorado to refuel. Along the highway was a peculiar outpost, accompanied by an even more peculiar sign. A massive, handmade lizard, constructed from sprockets and other bicycle parts, commanding my attention as both a closet herp freak and an overt cycling freak. What on earth was this place?
In the modern era, opening a new shop is risky business, especially if you’re trying to just make a quick buck. I’ve watched shops close all around me, yet sometimes the right combination of factors unite and a new shop is born. One of those factors includes a town with a growing cycling scene, access to wilderness, and a supporting cycling infrastructure. Santa Fe just so happens to be one of those rare places in the Four Corners of the Western United States.
Sincere Cycles is the newest venture by Bailey Newbrey. Bailey co-founded Comrade Cycles in Chicago. About two years ago, he left to work with Bobby and crew at District Bicycles. While there, he began to plan out his next move…
“Try before you buy.” It’s not a saying you’d normally associate with a bike shop. Sure, most shops will let you take a bike on a test ride around the block or in their parking lot, but to pull a brand new bike off the shelf and “demo” it for a day, or two, or a whole month, if you so wanted to, is unique. That model was very foreign to me until I walked into Santa Fe’s Mellow Velo.
While visiting the midwest in a cover of snow might not seem like the most fun, I was able to take a load off and warm up inside of Cedaero this past February. You remember Cedaero right? They made some waves a while back with Kid’s trout-themed Salsa Blackborow.
Cactus Fruit and Community at FASS Bike – Locke Hassett
Words and photos by Locke Hassett
A few weeks back, I found myself an hour from the Mexican border with no real plan. This impromptu trip was a response to bad weather in Moab and a spooky snowpack in the La Sals putting a damper on a spring break sufferfest that had cooked up. I found my passport in my truck, and we decided the night before leaving to head to Baja instead. This would in no way be the same trip, and I’m ok with that. Still, I couldn’t go on a week-long road trip and leave the bikes at home. Luckily, my co-pilot understood my addiction and played along. Before the border crossing, I sent some friends a message asking for tips of cool places to ride in Baja. Lael came through with the recommendation of checking out FASS Bike in Vicente Guerrero and the trails near there. Lael knows what’s up, so I heeded their advice.
Photos by Arthur Alvarez
Danish brand Pas Normal Studios have been making waves in the cycling apparel and accessories world since their launch with their minimal designs and precision fit. Today, we look inside their new Pop Up in San Francisco and gain more information inside this clean, minimal, yet beautiful space. Read on below.
BTCHN’ Bikes, the latest chapter in Chico Framebuilding
Photos and words by California Travis
The small college town of Chico, California has been home to a few very notable framebuilders over the years. Jeff Lindsay starting out building road bikes is 1972, and was one of the first pioneers to create mountain bikes under the name Mountain Goat in 1981. Bob Seals (inventor of the Klean Kanteen and Cool Tool amongst other things) took modern geometry and quality materials, combined them with classic curvy steel cruiser aesthetics and founded Retrotec Bicycles in 1992. Mitch Pryor of MAP Bicycles took custom randonneuring frames to the next level of meticulous perfection in Chico and then Paradise.
Readers of this website might know of Strawfoot Handmade‘s bike-related products. Garrett and Vince make saddle bags, musettes, and other on or off-the-bike portage solutions. In recent years, Strawfoot has pivoted to make more than just bike bags, or bags in general. With the growing popularity of Sprinter van buildouts and other forms of mini-RVs, Garrett began making insultated window shades for the various van models, allowing the owners to not only reflect heat but offer a bit of privacy from the outside world. As you can imagine with the increased popularity of van buildouts, Strawfoot is very busy. When I was in Santa Cruz before the Sea Otter Classic, I checked in with Strawfoot, who had just moved into Rock Lobster’s old space…
Belmars Bike Shop’s Beach Front BBQ Bash
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk
It was 2002 and Kyle was sitting inside of what was at the time DJs Bikes in Belmar, NJ, 16 bright-eyed and loving bikes. Ten years later Hurricane Sandy shook the eastern seaboard, in its wake not much made it through the winter, not even the bicycle shop Kyle worked at 10 years earlier. With five grand a hell of a lot of heart, hard work, and surely ramen noodle meals, Kyle, friends, and family built Belmar Bike Shop in what was once his former employer’s space that winter, hibernation can sometimes be a great catalyst for change. Looking back to that first year, and all of the uncertainty Kyle said he’s stoked he took that first step, now in year 7 its been a wild ride and was even the original birthplace of Crust Bikes before moving down the street. My first interaction with Belmar Bike Shop was watching Kyle huck in Tahoe, so when I was invited to spend a few days checking out Belmar a few months ago cause I knew for sure I’d be in for a party.
Captain + “The Most” Stoker Coffee
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
If you’ve been to the Sea Otter Classic in the last couple years, it’s very likely that you’ve been to Captain + Stoker Coffee. It’s become quite the staple for bicycle nerds making the annual pilgrimage to the event. I’d even say that Captain + Stoker has become a home base for many people attending the Classic. Hundreds of people meet there before and after rides, they host movie screenings and even live stream races in their beautifully converted service station.
It hasn’t been easy for Tyler Ellis and Kelsey Richmond the owners of Captain + Stoker to get to this point, but from what I’ve seen each time I’ve been there, I believe they’ve both found their calling.
After spending close to a month in Tucson, I got a good handle on what the cycling community is like in that wonderful city. Well, in the winter anyway, summer is another story. One place I found myself stopping by frequently for events is Transit Cycles. With Spencer’s gallery being one of my favorite Shop Visits on this site, I didn’t feel it necessary to completely revisit Transit, photographically. While they did move to a new location since Spencer’s piece, many of the vignettes and textures are still relevant to Transit’s modus operandi. I did, however, feel compelled to check out their new space and hit some highlights, and as the title implies, to shoot the owner, Duncan’s, Black Cat All Road.
Bikepacking Bags Made in Arizona at Rogue Panda
Photos and words by Locke Hassett
A small, unassuming garage accessed from a residential alley in Flagstaff houses one of the world’s best bikepacking bag makers: Rogue Panda Designs. The folks here pride themselves on thoughtful design, innovation, and blending function and form seamlessly. I visited RP on my way back from Utah to get a prototype bolt-on frame bag, chat with the makers, and snap some photos of the shop.