A Leucadia cycle shop that has served locals and bike enthusiasts for nearly 50 years may soon join the ranks of historic businesses vanishing from the Coast Highway 101 skyline.
Founded in 1974, Leucadia Cyclery is facing the possibility of relocation despite a new owner’s attempts to preserve the bike store’s iconic but aging facade on Vulcan Avenue.
Longtime North County resident and business entrepreneur Jeffrey Schade acquired Leucadia Cyclery in November with the intention of keeping and growing the business at its current location near the railroad tracks.
“I want to see Leucadia Cyclery return to being a hub for both the casual and avid cycling community in San Diego,” Schade told The Coast News in late October. “I want people to come here not just to buy or rent equipment, but to talk shop with other cyclists, get advice on routes, learn safe cycling for the expanding youth e-bike movement, and expand on the heritage brand with a bespoke touch.”
Schade, an avid outdoorsman and co-founder of EV Rides USA, purchased the Leucadia Cyclery from previous owner Bryan Nicholson, who is moving back to South Africa.
Originally, Schade had plans to expand the repair shop, the store’s largest and steadiest source of income, by opening three additional service bays currently sitting underutilized onsite.
However, shortly after negotiating the company purchase terms, the property owners indicated the lease may not be extended. According to people close to the deal, the insurance provider refused to cover the old brick structure due to water leaks, electrical problems and its overall vulnerability as high-risk unreinforced masonry.
“The trustees have been advised of certain adverse consequences of California’s insurance market,” Schade told Coast News. “The result of this means that the property can no longer be occupied.”
Down but not out, Schade and a team of close associates are exploring options to move the business or perform updates to comply with the insurer.
For Schade, who acknowledged the building had its problems but was determined to work through them to preserve a local relic, the last-minute news knocked him for a loop.
“After nearly 50 years, you have a tiny window to vacate,” Schade said, noting the building is filled with nearly five decades of tools, equipment and supplies. “Kind of harsh. So, we’re scrambling.”
Still, Schade said he is undeterred from fulfilling his vision of growing the legacy of Leucadia Cyclery.
Currently, Schade is looking at available spaces as close to the original shop as possible, where he can potentially temporarily operate the shop out of a pod or trailer until securing a more permanent location.
But not just any place.
“I’m not going to move into a permanent spot without it being perfect,” Schade said. “In the meantime, we’ll run the business out of a container if we must. I’m going to make it happen. I believe we can find a family spot and continue to build a community like I originally planned.”
Encinitas native Brandt Furgerson, whose parents George and Kathy opened Furgerson’s Garage auto repair shop in 1980, has spent his entire life around bicycles. Furgerson, recently named U.S. CEO of Colnago, a 70-year-old Italian cycling brand, recalls visiting the former paint shop for everything bike-related.
“(Leucadia Cyclery) has been home to many people’s cycling experiences for a long, long time,” Furgerson told The Coast News. “This type of small, high-service retail business is an absolute gem. Not everything has to be bigger than life to be successful.”
Furgerson, who has worked exclusively in the professional cycling industry his entire career, said longtime owner Fred Breidenthal and the store were well-known for selling original Klein bikes.
“The shop was legendary for that,” Furgerson said. “If you see someone riding a Klein, Fred probably sold it to you.”
Furgerson also worked with Schade earlier in their sales careers. While the cycling industry overall is in a difficult spot post-COVID, Furgerson said Schade is a creative guy with the ability to make lasting impressions in the community.
“I think (Schade’s) looking to settle into Encinitas and build something that he’s passionate about and fits the lifestyle we have here,” Furgerson said. “While it might be the end in some ways, Jeff now has an opportunity to transform Leucadia Cyclery from a heritage business into a modern one.”
Mayor Tony Kranz told The Coast News he hopes to see the longtime cycle shop continue its legacy, even if that means at another location somewhere in the neighborhood.
“Leucadia Cyclery on Vulcan has been a fixture in the neighborhood for a long time, and it will be sad to see them leave their home,” Kranz said. “It’s my hope that they can find another location in Leucadia to provide service to the growing cycling community.”
After years in the e-bike world partnering with leading manufacturers and suppliers, Schade is leveraging his knowledge and professional relationships to scale up the store’s e-bike stock and services, including repairs, safety and education, while never forgetting the roots and long history of traditional bicycles.
Schade said he aims to boost the company’s visibility in the community by hosting cycling events and e-bike safety courses in partnership with local schools. The business will also expand support and services online to push the company’s brand and reputation further across the San Diego cycling scene.
From a branding perspective, Schade believes in the equity of the company’s name and wants to offer more branded options — t-shirts, hats, cycling gear — and possibly create a line of specialty bikes and e-bikes attached to the Leucadia Cyclery brand down the road.
All these changes would be implemented while maintaining the spirit of the family-friendly neighborhood bike shop.
“People want to feel like they are in a place that caters to them,” Schade said. “The elite cyclist can come in here and find their specialty products. And mom can come in here and feel comfortable when she sees the kids’ bikes at friendly price points. It’s not always easy to cater to specialty and mass customers in one box in retail, but I think it’s possible in the bike world.”
Tom Quinn, 61, a longtime La Costa resident who has frequented Leucadia Cyclery for the last decade, said he would miss the cycle shop’s presence along Vulcan should the lease not be renewed.
“I think a lot of people, when they think of Leucadia, have that cyclery in their minds because you can see it from the highway,” Quinn said. “If that’s going away, it’s a little piece of the town that’s going to disappear.”
Despite the regret of possibly losing a local fixture, Quinn, who has worked alongside Schade for years, said the company’s future is in good hands.
“When Jeff wasn’t working in sales, he was recreating — biking, hiking, fly fishing, camping, boating,” Quinn told The Coast News. “This aspect of his life is in his blood. And I believe that with his passion for business and understanding customers, you have someone who wants to get into this for lifestyle purposes, not just the bottom line. All in all, I think he’s committed, and I think he’s going to improve the business, not just sustain it.”
Leucadia Cyclery is open seven days a week. The store’s last day at 823 Vulcan Avenue is currently TBD at the time of print. Visit Leucadia Cyclery in person or online for updates.