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05/27/2007: "The Smallest Bike Shop"
It being Sunday, I rode down to the beach about twelve miles away and cruised along the famous Venice Boardwalk for a while, lazily pedaling the fixie among the sparse crowds of a cool May morning.

There was the usual array of painters, potters, and poster makers, henna tattoo artists, political ranters and ravers, street musicians, homeless comics, and so forth, facing off with the T-shirt shops and pizza parlors and bars and stoner shops and ethnic dress shops (and a lonely but exhuberant synagogue), all vying for the attention of the sandaled and bikini'd tourists and somewhat ragged locals drifting along between the city and the sand. The sea, bespeckled with surfers, grunted contentedly to my right, and the morning haze was beginning to clear, when I saw bicycle bits glinting to my left.

I circled the fixie round, and came upon what must be the smallest bike shop in all of North America, no more than ten feet wide and barely four feet deep, crammed with old frames, wheels, spare parts and tools, and with a nice little Zeus track bike hanging from the singular rafter.

Chatted up Don Olson, the bike wallah, who was a very nice fellow and who seemed to know his way around bike parts and wheel building, and learned he had been there only fourteen weeks, but that business was steady if a bit slow.

I did not have a camera with me, but I highly recommend a visit to 1313 Ocean Front Walk for those who live withing pedaling distance of Venice Beach.

It tells you something about the economy of the bicycle that a viable bike-based business can exist in a space barely big enough for two close friends to share a coffee.

Made my day!

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