In the four years since opening in Cypress Park, owner Josef Bray-Ali has learned that the benefits of owning a bicycle shop aren't always financial.
In fact, they almost never are.
Prior to April's , Bray-Ali and his staff worked through the night to prepare a fleet of bikes they had purchased specifically for the event, which they hoped to rent out to riders at steep discounts.
If he's lucky, Bray-Ali said, he'll break even by eventually selling the rental fleet.
"I don't think it is about making money, which is something I am terrible at personally, but about sustaining an ethos about the value of our community and the attractiveness of riding a bike in L.A.," he said.
By the end of the month, Flying Pigeon will have a new home next to, a neighbor Bray-Ali hopes will enhance the shop's commitment to community.
"We do a lot of projects in the community and we host a lot of rides, and our neighbors haven't found a way to capitalize on that," said Bray Ali of the shop's current location at 3714 N. Figueroa St. "Yancey Quinones, who owns Antigua Cultural Coffee House, does a lot of community stuff. It seems like a great place to stage things, and working with Yancey is reason were moving down there. We want to create a nexus, similar to what happened with the Bicycle Kitchen [in East Hollywood]."
Bray-Ali said he hopes the new location, which is located on a more pedestrian-friendly stretch of North Figueroa, will allow him and Quinones to create a gathering place that benefits surrounding business owners and customers alike.
"We hope by bringing more people to the area for rides and events that other business will benefit as well," Bray-Ali. "And we think the environment will be great for customers. I think a coffee shop is a great pair for a bike shop--it's a great place to wait while you get your bike repaired."
The new location will offer the same products currently found at the existing location, including, of course, Flying Pigeon Bicycles. As part of the move, however, Bray-Ali said he is also hoping open another shop that will focus primarily on repairs and affordable fixed gear bicycles.
Bray-Ali said that he's been renting the unit next to A&A Auto Parts at 3448 N. Figueroa St. for about year, and is hoping to establish a shop that offer the kind of cheap fixed gear bicycles popular among younger riders, while providing high quality service and maintenance.
"We want to bring in the swap-meet level bike customer, who is looking for something as cheap as possible that still works, but we want to provide better mechanical prowess and service," he said. "We want to bring our typical business practices to that kind of enterprise."
Flying Pigeon will celebrate its pending move down the street during its monthly Spoke'N'Art Ride on Saturday, May 12. The ride, which usually tours local galleries as part of NELA Art's Second Saturday Gallery Night, will this month embark on a "super secret" music tour, which will include performances by bands Artichoke, Dzian and Homesick Elephant at yet to be determined locations.
The tour will conclude with a sneak peak at Flying Pigeon's soon-to-be new home next to Antigua.