I need to start this post with an apology: I know that it has been a little while, but this is the furthest thing from my day job. You may be thinking “How can an international man of mystery do everything he does and still be able to blog about cycling?” Before I answer that, let me thank you for having such an awesome perception of what I do for a living. If you knew the truth (indeed, you can check my About page for the truth) you would be horribly disappointed. The real excuse is that I have been busy with my alternate identity, hard at work, coming home late, etc. Not to mention we had record heat for the few days following my last post. My being a Southern Californian used to mild weather did absolutely nothing to stop me from withering like a raisin under the oppressive jackbooting of the hot Santa Ana winds. Enough whining about the weather. Let’s get into more about my trip to San Diego (which, it seems is all on fire right now due the aforementioned heat wave).
If you’re anything like me, bicycles are an important part of your life. Maybe you don’t work in a bike shop on the weekends like me. Maybe you just prefer to think about or be around a bicycle to feel comfortable. I certainly do. If there is bicycle talk going on within earshot I tend to become more alert and attentive. Like many of you, I do like to visit other bike shops whilst traveling. I had the chance to visit Bike Bling in Escondido, CA. It is a pretty cool shop with awesomely nice, non-snobby employees. They took the time to chat with me even though they clearly knew I wasn’t buying (I bought some pedals anyway). Working in a much smaller shop like I do, I took notice of their repair and maintenance area. it was clean, well organized and pretty big in comparison to others I have seen.
Being a larger shop, their sense of humor wasn’t totally gone like other shops. The rescued Coca-Cola menu board listing some of their services was evidence of that. It was pretty cool to see the mechanics have so much room to move. It also was nice being in a shop where they weren’t really pushing one brand. It seems like a lot of shops are getting redone, and in some cases relocated, in order to feature one major brand. This trend seems like it is going to continue and clearly sucks, in my opinion. Sure, a lot of brands have full lines of bicycles to suit most riders’ needs. But having more brands and not really pushing one or the other is the best way to get the customer the best bicycle for them. In any case, I was also struck by Bike Bling’s vast offerings of bicycle accessories. Being from a smaller city, I had not really seen so many options for helmets, kit, triathlon gear (including wetsuits), computers, components, clothing. It was well organized and easy to locate. A salesperson was always available to help if I needed it. In fact, I was greeted by at least three of them during my first five minutes of my initial inspection of the sales floor. It’s a nice place. Even though they have a big presence of the Google Machine, their shop had a good local vibe with plenty of knowledge of the surrounding bikeable area. I highly suggest you stop by when you are down San Diego way. That is all.