Photos by Brian Addison.
Though The Bicycle Stand handles road bikes and fixies, its focus is unquestionably vintage rides—which is why West River Cycles, which opened up the street from Stand, is a welcomed biking addition to the Bluff Heights neighborhood in Long Beach.
We’re not just talking the usual, “Sure, we can do that.” Husband and wife team Kristen and Julius Reeves have made West River Cycles a place that specializes in building and maintaining high-end road bikes and wheels. Julius is a no-frills pro: certified by the Bill Woodul Race Mechanics Clinic at the US Olympic Training Center and hand-building wheels for over a decade, it makes perfect sense that the shop is a certified Campagnolo Pro Shop.
And the story of its owners makes the shop even more lovable.
Working for nearly twelve years as a bike messenger in Philadelphia (while also racing on the side), Julius began noticing that bicycling was not only growing popularity—the turn-around times of shops were growing longer and longer—but that fellow bike messengers needed a space to build their wheels or fix their bikes. Julius and Kristen then opened up their basement, creating a makeshift shop.
Getting married in 2011, the couple moved to Long Beach.
“When we moved to Long Beach, we had trouble finding jobs in our respective fields,” Kristen said. “So one day we decided to finally open up the shop of our dreams: West River Cycles.”
That first shop was more westerly on 4th, directly across the alley from the Red Room in North Alamitos Beach. An odd-but-cool location, it would be easy to miss—and that was part of the problem.
“We had actually been contemplating moving locations for quite some time. As much as we wanted that section of 4th street to grow and sustain a high-end bike shop—it just couldn’t.
Befriending Seventh Wave Surf Shop owners Kelly and Deb, Julius and Kristen soon knew that 4th and Temple would be their home, joining restaurants Kafe Neo and Restauration, the aforementioned Seventh Wave Surf Shop, the divey LBC drinking hole O’Connells, and their direct neighbors, Third Eye Records.
Formerly just used as storage space for the owner of the building for years, the pair had to completely renovate the tiny space: new floors, walls, lighting, windows… In 20 days.
“We’re a small husband and wife team who put our heart and soul into each and every bike we work on,” Kristen said. “We hand pick the best items from around world to fill the walls of the shop. We live and breathe cycling.”
Amen to that.
West River Cycles is located at 2705 E 4th St.