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An Iranian Family's Passion for Bicycling Brings Downtown A New Shop

By Pamela Rouse
Published: Monday, October 04, 2010, at 07:14PM
Daniel Farahirad Pamela Rouse [Flickr]

Downtown LA Bicycles manager and co-owner Daniel Farahirad.

When patriarch Faramarz Farahirad started his clothing business on Hill some 20 years ago, he probably didn't imagine his family's cycling past would catch up to him.

The Farahirad family originated from Iran, settling in West LA in 1986. The family came from generations of cycling enthusiasts, including an uncle who ran a bike shop back in Iran for about 50 years. "I thought I was the last," says Faramarz with a smile.

His sons, Daniel and Naveed, were born in LA with the family's cycling gene. They started out as BMX enthusiasts, riding all over Los Angeles.

"We had many bad experiences of bike shops and (mechanics) not being honest," says Daniel, so they started doing their own fixes and repairs, and eventually creating their own custom cruisers. Pretty soon they were attracting customers.

Their business started on a small scale out of their West LA home a couple years ago, growing through word of mouth marketing and online via Craigslist or eBay.

After two years of steadily increasing business, and just as their father found the economy couldn't support his clothing business, he looked to diversify.

He closed up the clothing shop, and decided his sons' bike shop was the direction they were headed. While brother Naveed is credited with starting the business, it's his brother Daniel (along with their father and grandfather) that run the shop.

"We've had positive feedback." says Daniel.

Only open two months, Downtown LA Bicycles has already expanded their shop to the adjoining retail space, now boasting over 3000 square feet. They've also increased the mechanics from two to currently three mechanics on staff.

What's touted as a "one stop" bike shop covers a wide range of bikes and services. Faramarz says his main passion is vintage bikes. He loves taking them down to their basic parts and restoring them completely.

Daniel impressed that they do a wide range of customizations and restorations on "vintage, fixies (fixed gear) road bikes, cruisers, and 'comfort bikes."

They will also create a bike from scratch he added, "If you come in with an idea we can work with you to put a bike together." A custom bike can run between $300 to $600.

A brand new bike will run from $150 to $800, whereas a vintage bike may cost anywhere from $150 to $400.

They have a full line of parts and accessories and what they don't have they can order. Looking around the shop, one can't imagine what they might not have.

Daniel says they'll be having an official Grand Opening BBQ and bike ride on the evening of October 28. The event will begin outside the store at the end of the work day. Details for this and other upcoming events will be provided on the shop's website.

Downtown LA Bicycles / 1626 S. Hill / 213-745-6783 / open M-F 9am-6pm, Sat: 9am-5pm, closed Sundays

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