Dan and his new ride. Okay, this one is for his wife.
We had been in California for all of an hour when I was overcome with an urge to visit a vintage bike-shop I had seen on our way into La Jolla. All that I had to say was,”Hey, let’s to go the bike shop” to convince my brother-in-law Dan to take me down there.
Velo Culture is a cool, fun shop. Go there if you’re ever in San Diego. They have fixie bikes of all vintages, with cool parts and a cool staff. In the market for an aero frame circa 1988? They have it, along with some kickin’ disk wheels to round it out properly. Though small, it was a place I could’ve stayed for hours and hours. It’s a good thing I didn’t stick around. I would’ve spent some money that – really – I don’t have.
So, I helped Dan spend some of his money, instead. Call it the Devil in me, but I like to exert my influence when it comes to anything FUN.
I said to the mechanic: “Hey, you have a lot of cool stuff here, but I think Dan here’s more in the market for a cruiser bike. Got any of those?”
“Nah,” said the friendly, pierced hipster with the full ink-shirt,”but if you go down the road to PB, you’ll find one of the best cruiser shops anywhere.” So off we went to PB. (That’s Pacific Beach, by the way…)
Just a mile or two down the road from Velo Culture is Bicycle Discovery, and there we found cruiser heaven. So, of course, we bought two. Actually, Dan bought two of them, with strong encouragement from me. Oh, and with some good cheer-leading from the nice Jamaican sales-guy who helped us, too. When we got on for the test rides, he laughed and clapped and said,”That’s the way you do it, Man!”
The whole experience was a lot of fun, the way that it should be. It was obvious that the staff at Bicycle Discovery was having fun while we were there. This wasn’t just because it was a busy Friday. They seem to have fun all the time, and it was noticeable. I said as much to Dan, and he said,”Why wouldn’t their job be fun? They work in a bike shop!”
“Sadly,” I said,”that’s not always the case.” So many shops that should be specializing in FUN forget about this important detail, especially when economic times are tough. Sales shift to being about the product instead of about the activity, and this isn’t good. Rutabaga in Madison likes to make the distinction really clear, to everybody: “We sell time on the water.”
At Bicycle Discovery, it was obvious that they were selling California beach culture, with some fat tires and coaster brakes thrown in for added measure. Oh, and FUN was included, too.
ps: If FUN wasn’t a compelling reason enough, I was able to take one of the new cruisers on its maiden-ride back to La Jolla and saw this sign en route: