Said good-bye to Los Altos today…

Our Los Altos store after the last customer, 24 years after the first customer, has left and the front door locked for the last time.

It was a day in three parts, and definitely didn’t save the “best” for last.

It began with Kevin and I providing ride support for the annual Foster City Community bike ride, like we’ve done the past quite-a-few-years. Basically it involves inflating a whole lot of flat tires. I mean tons of ’em. As if nobody has a pump with a gauge at home, even though everyone claims they do. We bring a bunch of floor pumps, but nobody seems to know how to use them, even though they claim they have one. So yeah, we get quite a workout! Actually this year Kevin seemed to have gotten a bit smarter about things and was often putting bikes in the stand to take care of some adjustments, leaving me to pump the tires. Kid’s getting smarter!

Get home about 11:30, get dressed and go out for a quick ride ‘cuz Kevin’s got a train to catch at 3:20 to see a girlfriend near Berkeley. Has to be something short & pretty hard, just like last week. I’m really missing a longer ride!!! Next week, Pescadero or bust. Today it was Old LaHonda, West Old LaHonda (yes, you can squeeze past the barriers when they’re not working on weekends), then back up to Skyline, north all the way to 92 and back via Canada. A surprisingly-tough ride with Kevin pushing the pace most of the way.

And then Becky, Karen (my wife) and I headed down to the Los Altos store for its final hour. More like 90 minutes, as it stayed pretty busy for a while. I figured they could use the help and it wouldn’t seem right not being there for the end. It was a bit emotional at times, with regular customers coming in to say good-bye, and Amy, former store manager, flying in from New York, a complete (and emotional) surprise for my brother Steve. One of the staff (CJ) set up a grill after everything was over and served burgers as we discussed the good times and the… actually, just the good times. Many to remember. Some will be heading up to Redwood City after we get the remaining inventory moved up.

The total remaining inventory of socks after we closed down the Los Altos store. Wonder what was so wrong with these last 5 pair?

And tonight, it’s been all about running down the various places people would find information about the Los Altos store and making sure things were updated to show it’s no longer in operation. That’s an emotional thing in itself, and something I want to get out of the way quickly not just so customers don’t head down there thinking they can buy a bike, but also because it’s a bit painful and I’d rather not have to do it down the road. Just get it over with.

So yeah, kind of a big day, with many more still to come, as we have to make room to absorb what’s left. Have to admit we did much better on the closeout apparel than I thought we would.

Hate taking a couple days off from riding, but could be worse… Kevin (pilot) was worse.

Finally, the county is repairing West Old LaHonda!
Sunday, had to do a short ride because we had a wedding in Carmel to get to (my brother Steve’s son). Monday I flew to Las Vegas for the bicycle trade show, and lived indoors for two days, missing the Tuesday-morning ride, missing my commute rides between home & work, and worst of all, on Tuesday, being in meetings from 8am-5pm. Nah, worse than that, not meetings, but a single, very long meeting (I serve on the Board of Directors of the National Bicycle Dealer Association).

But Wednesday afternoon it was time for me to jet, literally, back to reality. Just a few short hours at a trade show (after 20+ years there really isn’t that much new to see and besides, most everyting is on-line anyway, at least that’s what my customers think) and then off to the airport where, at 6:39pm, I leave for home! Except that didn’t happen. “Weather” at SFO had reduced things to one runway, so we were a bit over an hour delayed. Could have been worse; the plane ahead of us was two hours delayed, finally got out on the runway and then… got to sit there for 75 minutes. At least we were in the terminal. But it doesn’t end there; arriving at SFO we were stuck between runways forever, waiting, essentially, for a gap in the traffic to cross. But wait, the story (the wait) continues. There was still a plane at the gate we were heading to. Finally, it leaves. We pull up to the gate and… the jetway isn’t working! Another 10 minutes stuck in the metal tube before finally getting out. But eventually I arrived home, and that meant I could ride this morning!

I knew it wasn’t going to be fast, but I didn’t know it was going to be quite as slow as it was. Just myself and the two Kevins, and Pilot Kevin’s breathing and hacking was as bad as mine in the winter… and that’s really, really bad. I had planned a 32 minute ride up the hill; escorting Kevin we got up in just under 40. I haven’t felt so sorry for a fellow cyclist in a very long time, if ever. He didn’t complete the ride with us; he lives off of Skyline and left us to head to the doctor.

In a way, we didn’t complete the ride either. Despite running later than planned, we did continue down 84 to West Old LaHonda and headed up towards the concrete barriers. On the way, we came across several cyclists coming the other way, warning us we would get turned back. Turned back? This sounded exciting! Got to see what’s going on, right? And turns out they’re finally fixing the road! That’s a whole different thing than simply putting up barriers to keep cyclists out. I don’t know how long it will take, but we’ll monitor the situation and post updates. We didn’t get too close, as they were moving some heavy trucks up and down the road, and there’s not much room.

This did mean reversing course and heading back up 84, reminding us why keeping West Old LaHonda available to cyclists is so important. There remain at least three corners on 84 where the hillside continues to slip onto the roadway, eliminating the shoulder in the least-safe places possible. If you’re fairly fast and have ears, you can get through OK, but it wouldn’t be good for someone taking their time.