Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times
L.A. is home to a thriving cycling culture. These 13 bike shops will help you discover it
In our car-choked, freeway-stitched metropolis, this might sound strange or possibly absurd, but it’s something I believe to be true: Los Angeles is an amazing place to ride a bike.
Yes, there’s lots of evidence to the contrary. In 2022, L.A. reached a grim milestone — 312 people died in traffic collisions, including 20 cyclists. Wide arterial roads filled with speeding vehicles crisscross the city, creating a dangerous environment for people on bikes. And despite much fanfare, L.A.’s proposed citywide network of bike lanes and paths remains largely just an idea on paper (though a proposed ballot measure could change that).
L.A. is far from perfect. But if you look beyond the bad news, the City of Angels has so much to offer cyclists. From nearly ideal year-round weather to an abundance of terrain options for riding, the city stands out for many reasons, but none is more important than the incredible community of cyclists who live and pedal in L.A.
Don’t believe me? Spend some time in the city’s bike shops.
“I’ve been riding bikes in Los Angeles for almost 20 years now,” says Kyle Kelley, co-owner of Allez L.A. bike shop in Highland Park. “I’ve never gone anywhere and felt the love that I feel with the bicycle community here.”
In Los Angeles, bike shops span a wide spectrum, from hole-in-the-wall joints filled with steel frames and parts, to secret warehouses with insider deals on refurbished bikes, to spacious stores packed with sought-after components. And that’s just scratching the surface. The city’s bike shops cater to all the disciplines of cycling, from BMX to bikepacking, and many stores host open group rides that’ll help you meet fellow riders and explore L.A. on two wheels. At these meetups, the city’s diverse cycling scene is on full display.
“People show up in a T-shirt and shorts on an ’80s road bike, and the next person’s in full spandex on a cyclocross racing bike or gravel bike,” says Shawn Wolf, Kelley’s partner at Allez LA. “It’s pretty wild.”
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Once you get in the saddle, there’s endless terrain to explore. Los Angeles is ringed with mountains: The Verdugos rise up above Burbank; the Santa Monicas stretch from Ventura County all the way to Griffith Park; the San Gabriels tower above Pasadena; even urban parks like Elysian and Kenneth Hahn offer lots of hilly ground. That means you’re never far from a challenging climb, a meandering dirt trail or an incredible view. Looking for something mellower? Head for the beach — paved trails such as the Ballona Creek bike path offer a stress-free way to get there — and cruise along the 22-mile Marvin Braude Bike Trail that parallels the waves. For Jaime Rosas, who rode bikes around Elysian Park as a kid and recently opened his own bike shop in Boyle Heights, the region’s wealth of varied, easily accessible terrain makes it a truly special place to ride.
“I love it just because of the diversity of the city,” he says. “Even if I’m by myself and I go hit a small loop or something, it never feels boring.”
Whether you’re looking for people to ride with, an expert who can create your dream bicycle, or you just want to (finally) get that flat fixed on the old creaker in your garage, these shops can help you do it. Better yet, they’ll help you unlock the cycling secrets of Los Angeles — and see the city in a whole new light.
Fabrica de Rosas
That’s something he’s long felt has been missing in the city’s cycling scene.
“Growing up in L.A. riding bikes, it just never felt like there was something specifically for me,” he says.
His shop aims to fill that gap. Located inside a cavernous warehouse space shared with other artisans (enter via an alleyway next to the black wall with a white flower mural), everything about the shop proudly showcases Rosas’ heritage, from the light-up Our Lady of Guadalupe sign above his tool chest to the hanging tapestry by L.A.-based artist Jaime Muñoz. The bikes are just as vibrant as the decor. Up on a pedestal stands a brilliant green, red and gold track bike designed and painted by a friend in Mexico City. Rosas also stocks frames from Crust, an indie brand with a devoted cult following, in a kaleidoscope of pastel hues.
As Rosas gets into a rhythm with the shop, he’s planning community events. At his first shop ride, 15 people showed up, and half of them didn’t even have bikes. He loaned out bikes and showed off one of his favorite local routes into Ascot Hills Park. Afterward, several people approached him about getting their own set of wheels.
“It’s bringing in this crowd that I don’t think even saw bikes as cool or bikes being for them,” Rosas says. “I took a pause, and I was just like, ‘Whoa. This is exactly why I want to do this.’”
The floor and walls are crammed with bikes, tires and frames, and more steel steeds hang from the ceiling. Behind a cluttered counter is de Valera’s workshop, and this, as they say, is where the magic happens. Atomic is a go-to shop for affordable bike service. The rates are reasonable ($25 for a basic tune-up), and de Valera welcomes all kinds of rides, from beach cruisers to vintage road bikes and ’90s MTBs. Have a crusty old Schwinn in the garage? De Valera can get it back into riding shape without it costing you an arm and a leg. He’ll even do frame repairs, like fixing bent tubes and welding cracks, for just $40 an hour, plus any materials.
Already have a bike in good shape? Great — keep an eye out for Atomic’s group rides, which de Valera hosts on a weekly basis (check out the events calendar to see what’s coming up). Marquee events include BMX rides on Tuesdays, “Scumbag Sundays,” off-pavement jaunts through the Santa Monica Mountains, and the annual Coaster Brake Challenge, a series of downhill romps open to single-speed bikes. If you’re new to cycling, grab a copy of de Valera’s hand-drawn zine, “The Illustrated Guide for Beginning and Returning Cyclists,” which is full of tips for enjoyable riding.
But you can’t just walk inside. Call the shop to be let in — it’s open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — and then enter through the back alley off Fruitdale (beware the loud guard dogs inside the neighbor’s fenced lot). If all that sounds sketchy, the payoff is worth it. Coco’s occupies a sprawling warehouse filled with unique vintage bikes, antique tools, car parts and more, and in addition to general bicycle service, it’s an excellent place to look for a high-quality, affordable used bike. Coco’s even accepts trade-ins, so you can use your current bike to get some credit for an upgrade.
The shop’s trademark offerings are “Burrito Slayers,” refurbished ’80s and ’90s steel-frame mountain bikes set up with swept-back handlebars for city cruising. But it also sells kids bikes, Linus city bikes and budget-friendly Fairdale commuter bikes. On a recent weekday visit, several primo rides were on offer, including a refurbished teal green, lugged frame Raleigh and a new, heavily discounted All-City Gorilla Monsoon gravel bike. Coco’s unique merch also deserves a callout: Don’t miss the novelty license plate frames and the “L.A. United” sweatshirts inspired by the drop-shadow lettering on L.A. Unified School District vehicles (you can shop those online as well).
Let’s Ride Cyclery
If it’s camaraderie you’re looking for, Let’s Ride has plenty of that too. The shop hosts weekly rides, bike swap meets and even the occasional comedy show, but its marquee event is the L.A. Tourist Race, a bike race series that takes participants through L.A.’s wildest terrain, including the Verdugo and San Gabriel mountain ranges. Finish it, and you’ll earn serious bragging rights — and get a crash course on some of the best riding around Los Angeles.
Looking for a new whip for road or gravel rides? Luft sells Cervélo bikes as well as frames from its own house brand, BlackHeart Bike Co., founded by Lambert. You can test your legs at one of the shop’s monthly rides, but if you do, expect Type II fun: The most recent ride was a 67-mile jaunt through the Santa Monica Mountains with over 6,000 feet of climbing. For something a little less daunting, check out the shop’s online library of local routes for ride inspo.
Luft goes beyond cycling. It’s a must-visit for runners — the store offers running hats from cult favorite brand Ciele, and it hosts “Junk Miles” group runs that usually meet on Fridays. You can also get a mental reset at Luft’s “Maintenance Mondays,” a weekly yoga session hosted in the store on Monday evenings.
Topanga Creek Outpost
When you walk in, you’ll likely receive a greeting from Rover, the friendly shop dog, and a tour of the space from owner Chris Kelly. Outside, there’s a mechanic stand with a view of the creek — at TCO, bikes are serviced en plein air — and the shop itself is housed inside a rustic cabin. There’s a lot to take in: It’s a bike shop and leather goods workshop all in one. Under the cabin’s wooden beams, bike frames and wheels hanging from the ceiling mingle with Tibetan prayer flags, workbenches showcase sewing machines and presses, and one wall displays an assortment of leather bags, wallets and other goods for sale. Have a specific idea for a leather item? Talk it over with Kelly; he’s always interested in one-off creations.
If you’ve come here strictly for bikes, you won’t be disappointed. TCO is located just a stone’s throw from Topanga State Park, which offers some of the best off-road riding in the L.A. region, and the shop prides itself on building adventure bikes that are dialed in for the area’s terrain. (TCO mainly sells bikes from Surly, a brand known for its sturdy, dirt-friendly frames.) Kelly and his crew also host monthly group rides that make an excellent introduction to the massive network of fire roads and trails in the Santa Monica Mountains. Check the shop’s Instagram page for info.
Lux Bicycle Shop
“Pancho is an unbelievable mechanic,” says Kelley. “Besides Shawn, who is my mechanic and partner here, Pancho’s really the only other person that touches my bikes.”
Pancho is originally from Guatemala, and he got his start with bikes early: As a kid, he’d help out around his father’s bike shop. Nowadays, he specializes in fixing and tuning up road bikes and mountain bikes, although during my visit, lots of different rides were in the store for service, including a bright blue kid’s bike and a gleaming silver BMX bike. Great service is just the start: Lux also hosts monthly group rides with Edwin Barrientos (a.k.a. Chief Lunes), a race organizer and bike advocate focused on South L.A. These rides, collectively called La Ruta, are no joke. One event took participants on a 110-mile journey all the way to Oxnard, while another involved climbing 8,000 feet to Mt. Baldy. Follow the shop’s Instagram page for details on upcoming events.
“The key to a bike shop surviving is having things that people see on the internet only,” says Kelley. “That’s how I keep the bike shop interesting. That’s how I keep people coming in.”
Selling stuff is only part of the equation, however. The Allez L.A. team also takes community very seriously. Exhibit A: its weekly shop rides, which usually happen on Fridays and feature mixed-terrain routes threading through the mountains and hills of East L.A. and beyond. I joined a recent ride up to the Verdugo Mountains and had a blast: great company, lots of cool bikes (especially if you like retro MTBs) and a challenging yet beautiful route with stellar views.
The shop’s hours are a bit wonky — it’s open Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday during the day — and dependent on volunteer availability, so call to confirm before heading over. Don’t live nearby? Check out Bike Oven in Highland Park and Bikerowave in Mar Vista, both similar DIY workspaces for cyclists.
The Bicycle Stand
Of course, the store isn’t entirely devoted to museum pieces. The Bicycle Stand team works on all kinds of rides, and the shop has a variety of refurbished, ready-to-ride bikes for sale. On a recent visit, I spotted a refreshed Specialized Stumpjumper ($375) and a minty GT Zaskar ($650), as well as a pair of new single-speed city bikes from State Bicycle Co.
Frank’s has been in business since 1992, but over the past several years it has carved out a niche for itself as a destination for premium BMX builds and hard-to-find parts. The display counter has enough sparkle and shine to rival a jewelry store, and it includes sought-after items like Evil Alloy pedals with gold and blue anodizing and bright red V-brakes made by Bullseye, a BMX parts company based in Southern California. Got an idea for a full custom BMX build? This is the shop to work with. Moon and Console both have award-winning show bikes of their own and they’ve created bespoke bikes for celebs including Mr. Cartoon.
The Cub House
Owners Sean Talkington and Carla Alcibar envisioned the expansive shop as an antidote to the bland, stuffy bike stores they were used to. “I just felt like it should not feel like a bike shop, and that was a main goal,” says Alcibar. “It’s just a fun place to come hang out.”
The pace here is decidedly chill, so relax and get a feel for your surroundings. Play a game of ping-pong on the outdoor table, head into the mini greenhouse at the back to shop for a cactus, or just admire the vintage cycling apparel that graces the walls of the bright, airy space. During a recent visit, one longtime customer was gently persuading Talkington to part with a Tour de France bucket hat he spied in the store.
If you’re even remotely into bikes, block off a whole afternoon for a visit here. The Cub House designs its own cycling apparel — you can browse jerseys, bibs, T-shirts, and more in store — and makes custom bikes under the Beach Club moniker. The team sources premium Columbus steel and Dedacciai aluminum tubing from Italy for these builds, and each one wears an eye-catching color scheme, including splotch-pattern anodizing on the aluminum frames. With pricing starting around $4,000, they’re also relatively affordable for a custom bike. Finally, make sure to swing by the Cub House for the L.A. Invitational, a springtime weekend party featuring multiple bike rides and a vintage car and bike show outside the store.
Los Angeles Bike Academy
This fall, the shop began partnering with We Major, a group devoted to increasing BIPOC representation in cycling and the outdoors, to host a weekly “Family Ride” on Wednesday evenings. If you’re new to cycling in L.A., this is an excellent way to get more comfortable on a bike. The ride is open to cyclists of all experience levels, there are no drops (you won’t get left behind), and it travels at a relaxed “social pace.” Most rides meander from LABA’s Jefferson storefront to Marina del Rey and back, sometimes with a stop at Delicious Pizza to cap off an evening of riding. (Make sure to bring bike lights so you can find your way in the dark.)
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