A visit to Alternabike

The kids and I are visiting family in Los Angeles for nine days and took a break from La La Land to ride the four-year-old’s favorite train–the Amtrak Surfliner–to Solana Beach for a visit to Alternabike and Velo Hangar. I rented the Alternabike Gazelle Cabby in San Diego almost a year ago, but that was before they had a physical shop to visit. Yippee!

Laurel offered to pick us up at the train station, but it was just a 1.3-mile walk, so I pushed the boys in the jogging stroller up a hill I think would have been too big for me to bike up and over. I’m not sure this is the vehicle Laurel would have fetched us with, but it’s the coolest shop van I’ve ever seen:

And check out the shop–it’s very hangaresque:

With a stylish Brooks saddle stool at the counter:

And cute logoed cow bells in the bathroom:

And bikes! We didn’t ride the Cabby again, since there was only so much time in the day, but I lured the kids away from the Legos and sidewalk chalk out back to ride a few cargo bikes. I know a lot of people with Madsen bucket bikes, but this was my first time on one myself.

Zak of Bike Temecula and two of his kids met us there. He’s got a Metrofiets at home which sounds simply awesome. I’ll have to check them out on my next trip to Portland. Zak got pretty fancy on the Christiania (meaning he took the turns so fast I couldn’t watch), but kept all three wheels on the ground. I love the kooky handling of the Christiania, but kept it slow and cautious while Zak rode the Nihola.

The boys were excited to finally get their turn on the Nihola. They love this trike so much–ever since our first visit to Clever Cycles when they rode with the shop [stuffed] dog.

Zak and kids had to head back to Temecula, but my friend Gina kept the visiting hours going. Tuesday just so happens to be the day she takes a long bike ride out of San Diego so she didn’t hesitate to grab a couple of her roadie friends and bike 25 miles to Solana Beach.

When I met Gina she was a downhill mountain bike racer (something I’ll probably never try–too scary!), but did some cross country (regular) mountain biking on the side and led a ladies’ ride I went on (and slowed down) a few times. Then she went through a track racing phase, at which she kicked butt, and now I think she just bikes a million miles a week on the road. Oh, and she started a memorial bead business with a fellow cyclist. I have to admit I didn’t put a lot of thought into Gina’s beads when she first told me about them, but when my sweet little doggie passed away six months ago, I realized it was the greatest thing ever. So now Lyle, my very first bike passenger 18 years ago, is three Sisu Beads.

But back to today! Gina and her friends hadn’t been to Alternabike/Velo Hangar before so I was happy to introduce them to a new local (local if you ride hundreds of miles a week, anyway) shop. They couldn’t stay long, but I borrowed the Nihola and we rode a couple blocks together to a playground so the boys could get some play structure and sand time in before we had to head back to the train station.

All in all, an awesome day!

3 thoughts on “A visit to Alternabike

  1. Madi it was so great seeing you and the boys! Next time we will have to make the visit a little bit longer! I love you blog and your photos!

  2. I loved that you all had on your Sisu Beads! I loved little Lyle, he was such a handsome little guy. That is just like you to live in Seattle and still know the coolest bike shop in San Diego! I love that you were the one who showed it to me! Miss you.

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