Doing Business in the Same Location, Under the Same Ownership Since 1985!
Centrally located in San Francisco’s Mission District, Valencia Cyclery has been doing business in the same location, and under the same ownership, since 1985. Our store welcomes all age groups and riders. We are proud to be known as the bike shop that gives honest, expert advice to everyone from beginners to advanced cyclists.
We are very low-key in our approach to selling because we know that your trust in us is the secret to our success, not how much we can sell you. As a result, we are San Francisco’s busiest and most successful bike shop. One great store: not a chain, not a corporation.
We at Valencia Cyclery are grateful to our customers for our success! We carry everything from road bikes, electric bikes, BMX bikes, to commuter bikes, and kids' bikes. Call us today at (415) 550-6600 or stop by our showroom and ask us about the latest models. If it has to do with biking, we're the experts!
On The Birth of Valencia Cyclery From Our Founder Paul
I have always loved bicycles, I have an eclectic background, but bicycles have always been my foundation. I found my calling by opening Valencia Cyclery in the Mission back in 1985. Learning Spanish from my time in the Peace Corps made me better equipped to relate to our diverse customer base in the neighborhood. I am proud to think that we are one of the few true family bike shops that can work with just about anything, from beaters to the best. We have made children and adult beginners our specialty, with our goal always being to give great service to all.
My attachment to bicycles goes back to when I started riding as a junior in high school along the shores of Lake Erie, in Euclid, Ohio. My first bike, an old black Sears English Racer 3 speed, got me going. Soon my ride was a Murray-Ohio 10 speed, and when I graduated from high school in 1970 I indulged my dream of buying an all-Campagnolo equipped Raleigh Professional racing bicycle.
The shop that I bought my first pro bike from had a group ride early every Sunday morning and I soon found myself connected to the local bicycle racing scene. Fred, the oldest rider, had a son named Alan, who raced out of Michigan State University, but came home for the summers. Alan Marcosson took a bunch of us young riders under his wing and with his characteristic humility trained us to be competent racers. (Alan earned the national Best All-Around Rider title in 1971.) His example taught us how to be serious riders without the attitude.
Training for road racing got me doing upwards of 400 mile a week, starting in the early spring. I can still remember pedaling through the snow and loving it… With Alan as a coach, I earned Category 2 status and went on to compete in two National Championship Road Races, and even got an invitation to try out for the US world’s championship road team in 1974. Did I go to the tryouts? Nope. I figured that I would not have much of a chance. I was managing my first bicycle shop that year and didn’t have the time to train as I did the previous year. Instead I took vacation and bicycle toured from Cleveland, Ohio to Montreal, Canada and back again. I would instead end up being a spectator at the ’74 World’s.
In 1975 I returned to Kent State University and finished my bachelor’s degree in Conservation of Natural Resource. I had supported myself by working in bicycle shops during those summers, and during the school year I had a work-study job as an attendant for handicapped students. With my experience as a bicycle mechanic it wasn’t long before I was in charge of the campus wheelchair repair service. When I graduated in 1977 my horizons broadened significantly by joining the Peace Corps.
After two years working as a Peace Corps Volunteer with Guatemala’s INAFOR reforestation program, I was pretty fluent in Spanish. I returned to that country as a translator and mechanic in 1979 for the United States’ team competing in the international bike race, “La Vuelta Ciclística de Guatemala”. After the conclusion of the race, I converted my racing bike that I had brought along for a team spare into somewhat of a touring bike, and started north. I traveled through Mexico and ended up in Los Angeles for a couple of weeks, visiting friends along the way. Having other people to visit in San Francisco, and as far north as Seattle, I road up Highway One and arrived here in San Francisco that February of 1980. Then it started raining…a lot! That’s when I made San Francisco my home.
I settled in this city by the bay with only the few things I could carry on my bicycle, and whatever money was left from my Peace Corps resettlement allowance. I took jobs in local bike shops, Avenue Cyclery and then eventually the former Broadmoor Bicycles in Daly City. I put myself through graduate school at SF State, earning a MS in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling in 1983. After a stint in social work outside of the Bay Area I returned to work at Broadmoor Bicycles as I pondered my future. The owner of that shop, Lloyd Stephenson, must have seen something in me, and suggested that we start a new bicycle store in San Francisco. He would put up the cash and connections and I would do all the work, with him generously including an option for my eventual sole ownership of the business. On June 1st, 1985 Valencia Cyclery first opened its door in what is now our repair shop at 1065 Valencia Street.
In the spring of 1988, Herbert Strom, the long time owner of the building that is now our Sales Showroom at 1077 Valencia Street, had the patience to sell me his building, even as I jumped through the hoops of obtaining a Small Business Administration loan. Taking a bit of a risk, we kept our original storefront, and converted it into our Repair Shop and Kids' Bike Store. Luckily business proved to be good and the gamble paid off, and in 1994 we were also able to purchase our Repair Shop building. Owning our own space has given Valencia Cyclery through the years an enviable stability in a city of ever-rising store rents.
One Sunday in June of 1988, taking a long lunch break from the shop, I wandered two blocks over to check out the local Carnaval Parade which was making its way down Mission Street. Camera in hand, I was intent on taking pictures of the beautiful costumes and dancers. One of those dancers caught my eye. That is how I met my beautiful Brazilian wife, Zenia, and I learned to speak Portuguese. For years afterwards, Valencia Cyclery sponsored floats in the parade. Eventually Zenia became the store’s bookkeeper, making Valencia Cyclery a true “mom and pop” business.
Valencia Cyclery has been the most decorated bicycle shop in San Francisco for over 35 years. We have won more Best Bike Shop Awards than any other store. Our diverse staff is extremely experienced, some employees having worked here for over 30 years. From day one, I have strived to maintain a store culture that welcomes all levels of abilities and values and respects everyone. Our success is derived from the trust our customers place in us, not how much we happen to sell…
Thank you for taking the time to read our story!
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