As a father of two young boys, I’m duty-bound to visit pediatricians on a regular basis. When I do, I’m always shocked at how your typical pediatrician’s office is so grimy and diseased. (No offense Dr. J*****. You’re still a great doctor.) The obligatory children’s books and magazines are sticky to the touch and pockmarked with dubious brown and yellow stains. The office itself is acutely cramped, with patients, parents, and boxes of medical paraphernalia squeezed into every square foot. And the air everyone’s forced to share is as stale as an old high school’s windowless weight room, filled with the musty coughs and sneezes of sick kids. It’s down-right disgusting.
Which brings me to the first time I walked into Beyond Aero, a new high-end full-service bike shop in Berkeley that caters to both cyclists and triathletes. Why? My very first thought as I stepped into the place was, “Damn, this is cleaner than my kids’ pediatrician’s place.” It’s what every doctor’s office should be: sparkling, spotless, and well-designed. Its modern and appealing mix of wood, brick, and concrete is straight out of Dwell magazine. Beyond Aero is almost certainly the best-kept bike shop I’ve ever personally visited, and it puts my boys’ pediatrician’s office to shame.
But its cleanliness and easy-on-the-eyes architectural trimmings aren’t the reason why you should visit Beyond Aero yourself. You should go there for the bike porn.
In my opinion, good bike porn can be hard to find in Bay Area bike shops; while indisputably great rides, the Specialized and Cannondale bikes everyone seems to carry feel ho-hum to me. But Beyond Aero’s got good bike porn. It begins right when you enter the front door, where greeting you is a Scott Plasma previously owned and personally autographed by the newly crowned Ironman World Champion, Sebastian Kienle. “Sebi,” as he’s widely known in Europe, is a friend of Beyond Aero’s proprietor, Andres Douzoglou, an accomplished amateur cyclist and triathlete in his own right. (I know I’ve never qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.) Andres’s main stash of bike porn is parked just around the corner from Sebi’s old ride. It consists of some of the most desired road and triathlon bikes on the market today. From what I could tell during my visit, although Beyond Aero carries bikes from Boardman and Guru (which, it’s worth noting, are top-tier brands that you wont find at just any local bike shop), it primarily pushes Cervelos. Thus, as you might imagine, it carries Cervelo’s full-line of popular road and P-Series triathlon bikes, and can build any one of them in-house to your specifications. Andres can properly fit you on one as well, in the stand-alone fit studio behind the main bike shop, which is equipped with a top-of-the-line Purely Custom Fit Bike Pro.
Now, what you might not imagine is that Beyond Aero even carries Cervelo’s latest “Project California” RCA – which, at $10,000 for just the frame, is easily Cervelo’s spendiest and most technologically advanced bike. It’s known in my house as the “Grounds-For-Divorce” bike. (Or to return to the porn analogy, the RCA is the Phoebe-Cates-in-Fast-Times of bikes; it doesn’t get any better.) By my lights, it’s not entirely unfair to judge the quality of a bike shop principally on the brands and models that it’s allowed to offer by manufacturers. So believe me, if Beyond Aero has Project California bikes in-stock and in a wide range of sizes, Cervelo thinks highly of the place (and it explicitly does). You probably should, too.
Rare Birds therefore warmly welcomes Beyond Aero to the Bay Area triathlon community. We can always use another first-rate independent bike shop here. If you visit, say we sent you.
(And if anyone wants to donate to my personal Cervelo RCA Kickstarter fund, let me know. My wife – and lawyer – will thank you.)