Covid 19 & The Bike Revolution

This is something I wrote for those in the Downtown San Diego Community who keep asking where we are, what's going on, and why in the heck a Bike Shop closed it's doors amid the Cycling Boom...just so You know, the doors aren't completely closed - In Short - We had an awesome Shop that shut down for a large part because of Covid - 19, and a couple Robberies...and more. We derived 95% of our Business from Tourists and were heavy in helping the VA in La Jolla & Wounded Warrior Project Specialty Bike recipients with on site Bike Tune ups  and their annual event on Coronado. We still want to do well as Invest Heavy in Ebike rentals to do our part in keeping this beautiful place as beautiful as it can be. I can provide contact info for VA staff if needed. Read on if You want to know what went down...

Hi, hope You and Yours are Happy & Healthy. My name is Patty Cakes and I own and operate The Bike Revolution in Downtown San Diego. A lot has happened in the last few months to test the wherewith-all of our Essential Business - and I am doing everything I can to be sure it is not swallowed up by Covid 19.

It all started one sunny day...I wish I could keep going in that positive narrative, and I am going to try and highlight the positives as we go - but it really started in what looked like a war zone in the Gaslamp. The Beginning was kind of exciting, a nice break from the everyday doings of the people and Businesses in The Gaslamp Quarter - the Heart of San Diego - 6th and Island to be exact. After a few days though, I seemed to be almost the only person and the only one doing anything - even the Local Homeless Folks I am so used to seeing had fled for higher ground. I see them so often they’re friends, I help them, and they help me when possible. These guys are an often overlooked resource and they are some of the most clever people I’ve known. Clever enough to be gone, more clever than me I reckon in replaced by the physical manifestation of Sinister. Anyone who was there then knows what I mean - when the garbage cans are empty people really get hungry. I don’t know these guys, and I don’t want to know them. They don’t want to know me either.

I had started to question my judgement by that time…You see, at the time I was still the Manager of The Bike Revolution and had been for the last couple years. The Owner had moved to Vegas a few years ago - and had managed “Remotely” through a couple different local guys. They did a decent job and the numbers were ok, but the reputation of the Shop was on the decline, and I was there to turn it around so it could be the Dynamic, clean, exciting, and welcoming place anyone could come when they were ready to experience San Diego by Bike - and in doing so - realize and come to know the many benefits of adopting Cycling as a way of dealing with anyone’s anything - I.E. having Your own Bike Revolution. We were right there - and there was no way I was going to let down the Community we serve, or shirk on my responsibilities as the Manager of the Shop. The Owner and I agreed we should keep the Shop open - mainly so our laid off Team had a place to come back to when the Stay at home mandate was lifted. I went home to get a much needed shower and pack some clothes and maybe a weapon or two just in case - on the way out said hi to the Homeless guy who had been “sleeping” against the tree out front - and put my stuff in the car. I noticed an Officer in the Parking Lot on the corner, and asked him what the Laws were in regards to setting a trap in Your Business to catch would be thieves, or what I could do if someone broke in while I was there. I don’t remember the Officers name, but I do remember that when I left, the sleeping tree guy had opened his eyes and was looking at me - I waved, he stared. This was 10pmish, March 22nd 2020. For the record, all the good people who work for the City deserve a big thank You, even the ones who keep giving me parking tickets everywhere - no one knew what was coming and they are not to blame in any way for what went down…in my opinion.

We experienced a major robbery on March 23rd in the wee hours of the morning. We lost $40,000 + in Inventory. The Police had the door boarded up overnight - which I never got to thank them for - so thank You. The Owner came out to asses the damage, and to asses me. I was somewhat shaken up, very pissed off, and now I know really scared. We got bars on the doors and windows up front and then covered them with black garbage bags. I worked inside with the door locked for the next month - only opening it when Customers texted me or called - and always with a means to defend myself. I think somewhere around here we were deemed to be an Essential Business - I had assumed we were since our phone had began to ring off the hook. Within a week, we had another break in - this time through the back door - watching the surveillance footage it’s easy to see that whoever it was, had been there before and knew exactly where to go. You knew exactly what Bike to take and where it was as well as where the Cameras were.   

If You are reading this I immediately recognized Your gait; I do know who You are - I will help You if You absolutely need it - but You hit someone while they were down.

I double safety bolted the backdoor - and added a protective shield to the outside for good measure with help from someone we call Krispy - who will always have a job with me if he needs it…thanks bro. Fast forward to mid May - we were getting really busy as everyone began seeing the benefits of Cycling and either wanted to buy a Bike or have their Bike fixed. The last week of May, out of the blue - the Owner shows up to tell me that he negotiated a break in his commercial lease and we are closing immediately. We are liquidating. I had planned on buying the Shop in May of 2021 - he gave me the Ultimatum to pay him before he left or The Bike Revolution is gone for good. Another tough decision to make - but I am now certain Cycling is one of the best ways to deal with life, and with Covid 19. At the time word had got out that we were open and ready to help anyone who came to our now plywood door to rent or buy a bike, get air in their tires, or get a tune up. I could see the relief that came as people adopted Cycling and became empowered again - they would bring their friends and loved ones so they could share their new found freedom and just go ride! This is the goal, it's what Cycling can do if You just Pedal. That experience is available for the majority of us and I need Your help so we can be there when the next person is ready. I met some new people I now call friends - what’s up Joel, JT, Vic and Po and their crew, Jerry, and Nina, the British Airways Crew, Jim from United Airways, and Peg. If I forgot You, feel free to give me the finger in Public - that way I know its You haha!

The Owner sold every single thing in the building - all fixtures, the entire 100+ Bike Rental fleet (minus the Bikes stolen)  I had spent 2+ years curating, and in less than 10 days the store @ 522 Sixth Avenue looks as it does now. Empty. I got the website, the Orange Toaster (Honda Element) and all IP related to The Bike Revolution like Emails, GMB, Facebook…etc..The car immediately coded - and I replaced the Engine and Suspension since it’s well known around town.

I contacted the Landlord and the Commercial Broker to see about cutting a deal on the $7200.00 monthly rent - they were not interested. I have applied for the PPP, EIDL, and various other fundings which have all been denied because of various reasons - some understandable -and others silly - like I wasn't the Owner of the Business as of the Disaster Declaration date of 1.31.2020 - or I don't have a physical storefront any longer, therefore not a brick and mortar Business. I have applied for any and all grants I can find - no dice. Please let me know if there are any opportunities by emailing [email redacted] - I will gladly take care of Your Bike with what I have for free in exchange.

Since I don't have a physical storefront any longer, I can't order from any Suppliers. All those big name Bike brands pulled the plug without even as much as a phone call or text message. Which means I can't get anything I need to operate or participate in the biggest Bubble Cycling has ever seen. Frustrating to say the least - maddening even. I do have a shot with a brand out of Washington state in October, but I need to pay in full for everything. I have spoken with their rep, and they have agreed to sell me the Bikes I need to get going again.  We have a Ride to buy program that is becoming very popular where You can  rent a Bike and if You like it - we apply the rental cost to the Purchase of said Bike. The plan this year is to roll that into Ebikes, piggybacking the Eco-Friendly efforts of the City of San Diego, SANDAG, SDBC, and the Federal Government of the United States of America to promote alternate transportation in the inner cities and suburbs.

Supply is very low, if available at all for new Bikes and some bike parts of any kind and it will be like this for the foreseeable future for all quality Bike brands. Bike Shops aren’t screwing with You and their Employees aren’t trying to be jerks. They’ve just been trying to deal with millions of new Cyclists who are flabbergasted the silly gadget doesn’t work after sitting outside uncared for, for years. It takes a minute to explain the costs associated with maintaining this elegant collection of Simple tools - which is still the most efficient way to propel the human body - another minute to explain  it again because they were looking up the same shit on Amazon and realizing they can’t or don’t want to do the work, and finally a few more minutes explaining what I just explained, again - because they’re friend who has a new Bike just walked in and asked what’s going on….these guys deserve a beer and a thank You. If You were to walk in and place a six pack on the counter and walk out…Customer service will find You. We can’t make miracles happen, but we can do some miraculous shit on some Bikes.

Covid-19 ravaged our Business without mercy - and what Covid-19 didn't take - the former Owner sold for pennies on the dollar - he also kept the Insurance check for the Bikes stolen in March 23rd's robbery, and who knows what kind of government funding - which locks me out because Businesses can't double dip. I just have to laugh - or fake chuckle at it all…In typical fashion, Patty Cakes has managed to somehow be on the downside of the biggest upswing an Industry has ever seen.

Holy shit right? You may be impressed, You may think I am just stupid, but You cannot deny that I am resilient. Cycling gave me resilience - and I mean to be there for the next person who comes along needing the benefits Cycling can bring.

As I go, I want to be sure to thank my guys - in the FNG order because there is no other way in a Bike Shop - Thank You David. Thank You Jesse. Thank You Corey. Thank You Jaryl. I am sorry we had to lay You guys off and I am doing my best to have a place for You if You ever need it. I am proud of all we did together…and even proud of all we had planned to do. You probably know that none of this was Your fault - but I want to make sure You know that the responsibility does not fall on Your shoulders…I can’t claim responsibility fully either, even though I feel like it sometimes. Good men claim responsibility for the bad just the same as the good - and even though I know it was out of my control, I was the Manager at the time - and the store and it’s well being were my responsibility. It is part of the reason the store is closed and Your positions there are gone. For that, I am very sorry. If You need me, You know how to find me. Do not hesitate to call - and if You need a place to work and I have a place You can - You are hired. Monster Truck Mondays were a lot of fun - I hope to have them again someday. Keep it real Boys!

I am absolutely willing to submit whatever I need to and will answer any questions, anytime...maybe on a Bike ride perhaps?

Thank You for Your time. Do with this what You will. I claim all responsibility both good and bad and only withhold the right that none of the guys (TBR Employees) receive anything negative in any shape or fashion, place or circumstance.

Viva la Revolución!



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San Diego, CA

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