Established in 1941, American Cyclery is the oldest bike shop in San Francisco. It has a rich, well-established history of providing new and vintage bicycles and components to a large customer base throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Current owner Bradley Woehl has been a friend and supporter of the vintage lightweight community for decades, with Bradley and his shop among the best and brightest “keepers of the flame” anywhere in our tight community.
We recently caught up with Bradley and asked him a few questions about American Cyclery and its being for sale. Here is what Bradley had to say:
Ebykr: Why are you selling the business?
Bradley Woehl: I have worked in bike shops for almost 40 years and have owned American Cyclery for most of my adult life. It has been good to me and has given me many great friendships, memories and opportunities. It has opened doors and allowed me to travel the world and meet great people. I am excited to take on other challenges and enjoy a few weekends with my family before everyone is all grown up. We have a bike tour planned, I have some bike industry consulting business opportunities and another bike shop experience on the coast in the works, too.
My memories at American Cyclery are many, my efforts have been continuous there for a long time and I want to be free from retail shop keeping and running a busy service department for a while. I once was a great cyclist, too. I’d like to reacquaint myself with a few bikes I own and a couple of roads that somehow remain unridden.
Ebykr: Will your great vintage bike and parts collection stay with the shop?
Bradley Woehl: They can certainly remain part of the shop if someone wants them. In some ways, I am a caretaker and steward of knowledge — and am honored to fulfill my obligations in these ways. My extensive library of magazines, catalogs, brochures, trade publications, books, manuals and other ephemera is massive and needs tending to. If I simply closed the retail store today, I would still have a few years of work in front of me!
Seriously though, I will train anyone how to run a successful bike shop. I also have a committed team of employees who want to continue on, too.
Ebykr: What are some of your favorite memories over the years?
Bradley Woehl: My list of great stories is way too numerous to cover here. Still, here are a few gems: Building custom bikes for people who really appreciate the best in the world of design, color and technology. I have had the chance to build bikes for titans of industry, famous celebrities and world class chefs. My bicycles are in museums and private collections all over the world. I sold a Schwinn Manta Ray to Shimano Japan’s collection. My 1941 Automoto went to Paris and was displayed at the Hôtel de Ville during a Tour de France exhibition. Then there was meeting Eddie Merckx and visiting the Campagnolo factory, both of which were otherworldly.
More information on American Cyclery and its sale are available here: