Thursday, October 1, 2009

Introducing the Shop

As of October 2009, I'm going into my 33rd year as Pacific Coast Cycles. Before I bought a small shop, Oceanside Cyclery, on Octover 13, 1977, I worked in the bicycle industry for six years. My first official job in the industry was at Talbot's Cyclery in San Mateo. Gary, Steve and their father, Gordon Moore, gave me my start and I still have good memories of working there. Wayne Culpepper was my work mate when demand called for a second mechanic. We had some really good times repairing bikes back when the workshop was in the rear of the toy store.

Gian Simonetti used to come in to Talbots and have me work on his bike, a Bianchi. In 1972 or 1973, he landed the job of interpreter for Masi California. He arranged for me to work at Masi. I ended up as a filer. For some time, I was a bicycle assembler at Masi. That experience has served me well in my chosen profession of bicycle mechanic.

After I bought my store in 1977, I renamed the store Pacific Coast Cycles. I designed the logo. It is simple, and intended to evoke an image of simplicity and precision. In 1978, the shop moved to Carlsbad and then in 2003, moved back to Oceanside where it is now - in the original location it was when I bought it!

The shop has had a distinguished history. It has been an area leader in road bike sales and services and went on to be the first and premier shop in the San Diego area for Mountain Bikes. At this time, I am the oldest (agggh!) standing bicycle shop owner in the area. I am still the main mechanic at the shop, so there is a fair amount of experience behind the repairs and opinons at the shop.

For the last several years, Gretchen has helped at the shop. We are married and her time at the shop gives us more time together. She has her own brand of bicycle enthusiasm and is much more of a "people person" than this mechanic. She is the bright spot in the shop. Also, she knows more than she lets on. I'm sure she would like for me to let everybody know that she met me because she was already a cyclist and not the other way around. Her main interest is just plain riding, but she will occasionally tell me she worked someone pretty hard when out on a ride. Her main job is school teacher. She's stellar in that field.

As far as cycling goes, I have never raced on the road. I did race mountatin bikes starting from some of the first Southern California races (placing near last in my first race) until about 1987. I had a lot of fun and things were a lot less sophisticated back in the beginning. My most notable result was 9th place in the 1985 NORBA National's, Veteran's class.

Today, at 60 years old, I still love to ride. I mostly ride for commuting or with Gretchen. I am pretty slow, though I'd like to be fast. Many other interests cause me to consider cycling a part of my life instead of it being my sole enthusiasm.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to make my way in this life by doing something I love. I have never been happier at my job than I am now.

As for the people who have worked at Pacific Coast Cycles, most are still friends. I'd like to quote a line from a Bob Dylan song. I think it applies well.

My heart isn't weary
It's light and it's free
I have nothing but affection
For all those who've sailed with me.

Thanks to all of them, for it is they who have helped make the shop what it is.

Lastly, thank you to all my customers. Thirty-two years has meant a lot of customers. I remember, and still work on bikes for some of them who started with the shop from the very first year.

Chuck Hoefer October 1, 2009


  1. Chuck,
    Thank YOU for your wisdom, experience, and all the great stories you have shared with me over the years. May you be around for another 33 years! "Hey, I know this guy who's a bike mechanic down on Coast Highway that's 93 years old!" Hmmm.

    1. Make sure that you get in his Will, before Chuck does.

  2. Chuck, I am so glad you decided to start putting some of your wisdom down for public view. I wouldn't be where I am today without you. Thanks.


    1. Mike,

      Charles is not gonna share the best of it.
      We know that.
      What do you know of him that I don't; then I can learn from you.~