Go: La Dolce Velo
I had a dream: my kids biking themselves anywhere and everywhere—to school, sports practices, friends’ houses. The reality was that their bikes were piled in a useless heap in the garage. There were flats, misaligned wheels, malfunctioning brakes…you name it. They said, “Mom, our bikes are broken. We need new bikes.” I said, “Not just yet.”
I understand why they thought their bikes belonged at the junk yard. At the beginning of summer we’d tried to change the flats ourselves. It took forever: we followed online instructional videos and painstakingly located and removed every thorn fragment stuck in the tires. After all the work, they rode their bikes for a couple happy days until the tires went flat again. I was deflated.
So, we had a bike-less summer. Then school started. A week in, we were getting into the groove of the new schedule and my dream resurfaced. We live in a prime biking neighborhood. The man we bought our home from earlier this year told me with a big smile, “My siblings and I arrived at this house in 1965 with our Schwinns.” That’s what I wanted! That was my dream. It was time to search out a bike mechanic to resuscitate our bikes.
La Dolce Velo is our neighborhood bike shop. It’s less than a mile from our house. Not only are they expert mechanics with quick turnaround time, they are key contributors to the character and charm of The Alameda: it’s a quintessential corner shop that used to be a pet shop (look closely and you’ll find evidence of its past).
The business is run by husband-wife team Rob and Jacquie; they worked in pharmaceuticals before channeling their passion for biking and opening La Dolce Velo. When I first walked inside, I was surprised by the grandeur of the shop—it’s a clean, open space ready to meet all your biking needs.
The biggest threat to tires in this region is the legendary Goathead Thorn that lurks in dirt and grass all over the Bay Area. They advised me of two preventative measures:
Stay on pavement or groomed trail. Don’t trust any other ground.
Keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure (printed on the sidewall). Well-inflated tires best resist The Thorn.
La Dolce Velo has a bike pump available for public use; stop by during store hours and top off your air for free. I plan to make this a regular outing with my kids, because it’s a fun destination with great people.
Having our bikes at the ready has been a serious boost to our quality of life. It’s so fun! I’m still pinching myself over what it means for me as a parent: last night my 8-year old had soccer practice a half-mile away and he biked himself there and back with a huge smile on his face! My 12-year old accompanied him, which helped put me at ease as they get used to city biking. As my friend remarked, I’m living the dream.
All this to say, I recommend you get yourself biking. It’s a great way to enjoy our ideal climate and care for the environment, and it’s sure to put you in a good mood. If your bike needs a tune-up, take it in; if you don’t have a bike, get one; and start living the biking dream, whatever that looks like for you and your lifestyle. While you’re at it, make sure to support your local mom-and-pop bike shop: they need our business, and we need their presence.
La Dolce Velo also tuned up our Razor scooters. The bearings had worn out, making the front wheels loose. We are fully wheeled up and the minivan is feeling lonely. Keep an eye out for me on my bike!
***Thank you to La Dolce Velo for sponsoring this post.