Signal Hill bike shop Plenty of Bikes tries to help riders explore the bike world

For Jon Choy, founder and owner of Plenty of Bikes in Signal Hill, selling someone a bike isn't enough. “I always find out what they intend to use the bike for. I think that's most important. I'm not here to sell people anything–– I'm here to help people,” Choy said.

Image courtesy Plenty of Bikes

For Jon Choy, founder and owner of Plenty of Bikes in Signal Hill, selling someone a bike isn't enough. “I always find out what they intend to use the bike for. I think that's most important. I'm not here to sell people anything–– I'm here to help people,” Choy said.

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Like many people, Jon Choy grew up riding bikes but allowed the hobby to fall to the wayside as he got older. It wasn’t until he picked up a used bike at a garage sale that he rediscovered his passion for the hobby, which would eventually lead to his bike shop, Plenty of Bikes, located at 2815 Junipero Ave.

“I used to ride with my stepdad,” Choy said. “He taught me how to ride on the road with the cars, and we used to do rides on the weekends and then–– you know when you get a car you stop riding your bike–– so that disappeared for ten years or something.”

Choy decided to buy the used bike after bringing his childhood bike over from San Francisco, where he is originally from, and realized that he needed something in better condition. He found what he was after in a used road-bike that he picked up at a garage sale.

After acquiring his new bike, Choy began tinkering on it in his living room, where he began to realize how much he enjoyed the process. That first bike led to him repairing bikes for others out of his garage, then in a storage locker and eventually at his shop.

“I still have [the bike] here,” Choy said, “I kept it for the memories.”

Nine years later into owning the shop, Choy sees himself as somewhat of a liaison to the bike world. One of his goals is to educate customers on the misconceptions and how to find the best fit for them.

A common belief is that bikes can be overly expensive, which Choy says is not necessarily true. While some bikes may be pricey, he says that it is possible to find a quality ride for an affordable price.

Another benefit of bicycles is upkeep. For riders who are good with maintenance the cost can range from $50-$100 annually, or less, depending on how often the bike is used.

Choy also says that people are not aware of the amount of group bike rides that happen around Long Beach, and how it can be a way for people to ride their bikes more.

One of the things that Choy credits for helping spread awareness of the usefulness of bikes is the bike-share program funded by the City of Long Beach. He also says it can be another way for lapsed riders to practice if they do not have a bicycle of their own.

“That’s where the bike-share thing is really nice, […] because if you haven’t gotten on one, you don’t want to dump a ton of money into it. You can take one of those little rental bikes out you could ride around for a little bit. For my experience, it’s a good way to test the waters,” Choy said.

Considering all the different models, uses and other factors buying a bike can seem daunting at times, which is where Choy tries to help his customers. When fitting someone for a bike he considers the kind of route the rider will be traveling on, budget and their personal needs.

“I always find out what they intend to use the bike for. I think that’s most important. I’m not here to sell people anything–– I’m here to help people,” Choy said.

To find out more about Plenty of Bikes visit plentyofbikes.com or call Choy at (562) 275-3732.