GRAND AVENUE, WEST OF 580 – December 2015
Hi Neighbors! This month we look at two new, closely related bicycle enterprises sharing space on Grand Avenue west of 580. — LZ
On Plaid Friday, November 27, Brian Drayton and his wife, Pearly Tan, opened the Oakland SPOKES Bike Lounge at 366A Grand Avenue. It’s next door to the former site of Ensarro Ethiopian Restaurant (now operating at its new expanded location at 375 Grand).
Oakland SPOKES is a community and family biking shop where customers can find bikes for recreation, errands or commuting that fit people whose bodies may not look anything like riders in the Tour de France. Pearly confides that riding a bike was never fun or comfortable for her until Brian helped her select a bike proportioned to her Asian physique. Brian says, “People not only need affordable bikes, they need bikes and equipment that fit their body types, sizes, shapes and lifestyles. It is not just racers that should be fitted for their bikes.”
Oakland SPOKES specializes in finding bikes for smaller people, including women and children, who desire weight-appropriate and size-appropriate bikes for everyday riding. The shop carries adult tricycles, cargo bikes, tandems, mobility bikes and electrically assisted bikes to expand biking access to more people and more terrains. They also stock bikes for young riders ranging from balance bikes to competitive youth racing bikes. Customers can test ride any bicycle at Lakeside Park. All bicycle purchases include one free tune up and 50% off the next two tune ups. In addition the shop sells related clothing, colorful helmets in many styles and sizes and family biking equipment.
SPOKES Bike Lounge is a full-service bike shop where crew members provide fitting for casual and professional cyclists, maintenance and repairs. But it is more than a typical bike shop. Having your bike gears adjusted? Relax in a round, cushioned rattan chair as you contemplate artfully displayed bicycles suspended from the ceiling and mounted on racks, walls and a ladder.
The lounge does not sell food or beverages but does offer complimentary Numi Tea and Bicycle Coffee and pedal powered Wi-Fi. Receive a free beer token for Room 389 (across the street) with a purchase of $40 or more at SPOKES during Bike Happy Hour, Fridays beginning at 5:30 PM. Ask Brian about special deals on services including free safety check-ups, Cycle Protective Services (CPS) loyalty card discounts and loaner bikes when your bike needs an extended stay for service. SPOKES also offers hands-on basic bike repair workshops to encourage learning in a friendly, supportive environment.
The Family Bike Collective (FBC) is a nonprofit membership organization founded by Brian and co-located with Oakland SPOKES. FBC is dedicated to getting children on bikes that match their sizes and skill levels as they grow.
Each Sunday morning, FBC sponsors “Training Wheel Freedom Dayz” at Lake Merritt’s Lakeside Park (665 Bellevue Avenue) across from the Lake Merritt Garden Center on the lawn by Children’s Fairyland. Families are encouraged to bring a blanket and picnic basket to enjoy while getting a free fitting assessment and safety check of their bicycles.
Brian and Pearly demonstrate four sizes of sturdy lightweight kids’ bikes that are made to thrill children – physically, mentally and safely – and explain FBC membership benefits to interested parents. FBC membership includes free bike assembly and service for a year, a helmet and bike lights set, a bike safety workshop pass, guaranteed bike buy-back at 50% of purchase price as you upgrade styles and sizes to fit your growing child, discounted access to SPOKES workshops and events, and membership in the national SPOKES biking community that provides information and advocacy.
FBC is pursuing partnerships with Oakland Parks and Recreation and with neighborhood schools and churches to expand bike equity and create inter-generational programs that encourage children and families and seniors to ride together in the park.
Why did Brian become fervent about biking access and bicycling as a community building activity? His passion began 35 years ago when he was growing up in Baltimore. He recalls doing chores for 6 months to earn $100 in order to buy a new bicycle. But after only 2 weeks, someone stole it.
Undaunted, Brian tried a different approach to acquire his second bike. He collected old bicycles that still had good parts that friends had accumulated in basements and garages and found other components discarded in trash piles. From these pieces he assembled a replacement bike that only needed $14 dollars of new material. Neighbors marveled at the bike, nicknamed him “the $14 Bike Guy” and asked him to create similarly affordable bikes for them. The rest is history.
Tues. – Fri. 8:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. & 1:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Sat. – Sun. 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Tues. – Fri. 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.
Sat. – Sun. 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.
Bike Happy Hour – Fridays, begins at 5:30 PM
Bike Workshops & Events – see the Bike Lounge calendar at the website