Local bike shops (LBS) are the life-line of the cycling world. When you find a good one, you will have both a resource and a community. Unfortunately, in my experience, a visit to the LBS is something I often dread, rather than look forward to. That’s why I am continually impressed every time I hear about Northern Californian bike shop Studio Velo. I’ve come across the name in various cycling blogs, but only recently sat down and took a good look at SV and what sets them apart.
Studio Velo has humble beginnings as a mobile repair shop nearly 10 years ago. Scott Penzarella offered mobile bike repair and fittings to cyclists around the San Francisco Bay Area for a number of years. He drew on his experience in Spain as a premier cycling retailer and injected that European flair into the retail operations once the Mill Valley location opened up. SV is first and foremost a premier cycling shop. It specializes in high-end bikes for demanding clientèle, running the gamut from road to touring bikes. Scott wanted to replicate the European experience where slow and steady and craftsman ship wins the day. SV carries Time and Cyfac, two European companies that hand-make their frames. Similarly, you’ll see Chris King, White Industries, and Paul Components on the shelves; all American companies that represents the best parts and accessories in cycling. On the service side, you’ll often find the employees sipping coffee or even going on lunch rides with customers, rather than rushing them out the door.
The service doesn’t stop once you purchase your frame and gruppo. A good bike is one that fits. Bike fitting has always been more “feel” than science, so I was impressed and surprised to learn that SV employs the Retül fit system to achieve what every cyclist wants – the gray line between performance and comfort. I know first hand how an improper fit can make riding uncomfortable and, frankly, dangerous.
Not content with their incredible brand partnerships and specialized building and fitting services, Studio Velo started offer cycling tours. The SV: Travel arm was formed three years ago and takes clients on adventures all over the world including scenic destinations such as Spain and Italy. Last, but not least, Studio Velo has an entire stand-alone store dedicated to their women clients. called SV: Women. I know many women cyclists and because of their unique physiology, the proper fit on the bike and in cycling attire is often a challenge. SV: Women carries the largest selection of women-specific clothing in the industry and is operated and managed by women. They offer specific clinics for women, catering to their needs.
We all should be supporting our local bike shops but when you have a bad experience, it gives you pause. I have always heard great things about Studio Velo and when I had the chance to interview Scott, I jumped at it. It’s great to see a store that gives the attention and focus that the sport of cycling deserves and to act as a true one-stop-shop for Bay Area cyclists. Next time you are in the area, be sure to check them out.