Topanga Creek Outpost, located in Topanga, California did not start out with the intention of selling bicycles. It began as a touring business taking tourists around LA to popular destinations and celebrity homes. During those touring years, Chris noticed the need for a bike shop in Hollywood and opened Hollywood Pro Bicycles right on the walk of fame on Hollywood Blvd. The shop was around for 8 years before moving to Topanga for a better quality of life. The shop in Topanga has been open for seven years now.
The move to Topanga was intended to allow a better quality of life for the owners—to move away from the chaos of Hollywood—and of course to be in closer proximity to the great mountain bike trails in Topanga State Park. The area boasts world-renowned road riding and amazing mountain bike riding while still in LA County.
Topanga Creek is proud to be a part of the small community and staying active within it is a big part of the shop mentality. In 2015, Topanga Creek received an honor of being the best small business in their senatorial district for being active within the community and they were humbled to have Senator Pavley show up to present the award.
At the shop, there is a secret door in the gate filled with spare tubes and anything road riders might need if they are pedaling by. They have an honor system in place so that they can help out riders if they need anything. Aside from sales, they also rent mountain bikes—people from around the world visit Topanga just to mountain bike in their backyard and Topanga Creek Outpost is there to help make that happen. Rentals can be applied to the purchase of a new bike and also give people a chance to explore their wonderful area. Everyone that rents a bike and completes their ten-mile loop receives a certificate of achievement after they finish. The loop has about 1700’ of climbing in ten miles.
When the shop first moved to Topanga, they were involved in a lot of racing events—it was a fun way to get new people interested in the sport. But they also noticed that the mindset had changed from having fun to going fast. While they still love racing and helping to get people active in that way, they have shifted their focus a bit to be more inclusive and inviting for all riders.
In the past two years the shop has shifted towards what they call their “UnPredict Your Wednesday” adventures. They take off every Tuesday night to go camping and hiking/riding into Wednesday morning. Everyone is invited to join, and while the adventure is “UnPredicted” there is usually a tentative schedule of where they are planning to be and what is going to happen that week. They see a lot of benefits of the sub 24-hour adventures—especially in the middle of the week—and are trying to spread the word. Trips have been as simple as camping a mile away from the shop or as complex as bikepacking out to a primitive campsite at the top of a 9,000’ summit to spend the night. In addition to these adventures, they also do weekly shop rides every Saturday morning pending weather. They bake 6 loaves of banana bread fresh before the ride and come back after to relax with coffee and fresh baked bread. The staff ride as much as they can with their free time—in addition to the weekly camping adventures, they also get involved with plenty of bikepacking and endurance cycling events.
No doubt, a big focus for Topanga Creek is to get people outside. Whether is be on bikes or by foot, they want people to explore the area that they live in. They work with the local IMBA chapter CORBA as new trails are proposed, planned and built and as a shop they hold work days for the local trails in Topanga. Since it doesn’t rain a lot in SoCal, when it does the trails get pretty torn up and the staff and community are around to help out when that happens. As a whole, they are always looking for ways to be more active with advocacy groups and efforts in the area.
The Topanga Creek staff has a wealth of experience in the cycling industry but come from varied backgrounds. Chris, the owner, has been in the industry for 20+ years—he likes to think outside the box and has created a unique retail experience in Topanga. Jay, another shop employee, came from a background of gravel racing in the Midwest and still continues to pursue and train for endurance events. And there is Jeo, he lives in LA and commutes to work by bike when he can and always joins in for Saturday shop rides—he is one of the best web guys around and also happens to be one of the nicest. The staff at Topanga knows their products in and out and have all worked together to build their own unique brand as well as to pursue creative endeavors through the retail environment. Just stop by the shop and see for yourself.