Came across the most unusual bicycle shop today – a little hole in the wall in a hallway mall that connects Bancroft and Channing. Outside was a bright orange road bike with that really “straightforward” style like the bikes in Holland. Turns out it was Swedish – Europeans right now are apparently going nuts over mid-century bicycles, or resurrections of them. Next to that bike was a grayish purple Japanese road bike – again super “normal” looking, but also really clean in a form follows function sort of way.
Turns out the proprietor had this vision of filling Berkeley with thousands of used Japanese and European road bicycles. The bikes have really long lifespans, but most Europeans and Japanese want to replace their bike every couple of years just for the hell of it, like computer upgrades. So zillions of these things sit around in landfills, available so cheap they’re almost free.
The guy had a good job at IBM and had saved up a bunch of money. He didn’t need any more money. He needed to see Berkeley have access to good bikes for cheap. So he started up this business importing used road bikes and selling them for less than it cost to import them. What a cool guy – his name is Kai, the place is called Momovelo. Wish there were more Kais in the world.