Photos by Asia Morris.
The Bicycle Stand (TBS), in the well-written words of Sarah Bennett, is “more than just a repair shop that also sells bikes; it’s a community hub and lifestyle boutique bursting with all kinds of two-wheeled appreciation.”
To play off of that sentiment, it should also be noted that there’s nothing more community-building than a like-minded team of competitors who train together and race together. The Bicycle Stand Race Club, a team comprised of six or so athletes and counting, is a shining example of what a local and independently owned business can bring to the community.
Evan Whitener and Nicole Maltz, owners of TTBS, support the riders by offering free race prep and free labor and discounts on all parts and accessories. Italian bicycle manufacturer Bianchi offers the team special pricing while racers can upgrade their bike parts by committing to a day or two of work at the shop. Local businesses such as Yellow 108 and Fine Feathers Kombucha also offer financial support and discounts to the team. Those who want to be on the team must purchase the kit, show up for practice, register on the USA Cycling website and commit to a handful of races, including criteriums, road races and track races.
Ian Moir, a TBS employee and the team’s coach, won his first individual elite national title in 2012 at the Carson velodrome along with achieving several other podium placements with national titles. He found himself searching for a job last year when racing professionally just wasn’t cutting it financially.
“Despite all the issues I had with the sport-side of things, I never stopped enjoying everything cycling had to offer so I found myself looking to be around bicycles—but away from the sport,” Moir said.
Enter The Bicycle Stand Race Club, a team that Moir happily mentors.
“At first," Moir said, "the race club was a way to get exposure for the shop's expansion into the road and performance oriented market, but I see it as a way to cater to all cycling needs, from the seasonal summer rider to the serious racer to the vintage cycling enthusiast and collector. Most importantly though, I see it as a way and a hub to bring all these people together.”
Moir sees the club as a way for the niche cyclist to become the well-rounded cyclist, a way to encourage local enthusiasts to let cycling encompass all aspects of their lives. He’s also adamant about facilitating more of an understanding between such distinct groups within the cycling community, a concept that may be nascent but is clearly working.
“From spending my whole life on the bike I've realized these groups are often times distinctly removed from each other and the Race Club is a way to branch out into another community and bring them together with these other sides of cycling, using the many faces of the shop as a hub to bring everyone together, to give every group respect and understanding of each other on the road and to hopefully turn the serious racer into someone who packs up their panniers and commutes to work," Moir said. "To hopefully turn the seasonal summer cruiser into someone who pedals year round for their health. To turn the daily commuter into someone who turns their bicycle into a vehicle of recreation and fun, not just transport.”
Just yesterday, the TBS Race Club performed exceptionally well at USA Cycling’s SoCalCup Bicycle Race #8 in Dominguez Hills, a popular criterium for seasoned cyclists as well as beginners. Mike Martin placed 5th, Gino Romano [pictured above right] placed 6th and the TBS’s own Evan Whitener placed 13th in the Category 5 race. Roberto Roman placed 6th in the Category 4/5 race along with winning a prime.
For those that are less familiar with competitive cycling, the categories range from 5, the least experienced, to Category 1, the most experienced. Women’s races start with category 4, the least experienced, and end at 1, with the most experienced. In order to upgrade to a higher level, one must accumulate a certain number of points by participating in a certain number of races and/or placing well. Winning or placing in the top three, of course, gives the rider the most amount of points. In a criterium race, where riders race a specified number of laps around a closed course, primes are prizes that are given for winning designated laps within the race.
The team leaves from Aroma di Roma on 2nd St. in Belmont Shore every other week at 7:30PM for a team ride and drill practice. Anyone interested in learning more about racing, in becoming a better, faster and stronger cyclist or learning how to ride safely in a group is welcome, whether they decide to commit to racing or not.