In its 105th year in Santa Barbara, Hazard’s Cyclesport welcomes riders of all types
Santa Barbara is a paradise for cyclists. With miles of beaches, hill climbs like Gibraltar Road, and beautiful valleys, bikers flock to the area to enjoy some of the best rides you can find.
“We have a lot of world class cycling areas here,” said Bruce Davis, owner of Hazard’s Cyclesport. “Santa Barbara is a bicycling destination. People do come here from all over the world.”
It seems as long as there have been cyclists riding up and down the hills and coast of Santa Barbara, Hazard’s Cyclesport has been there providing them with the best equipment and keeping their bikes in top shape. Now on the 100 block of Anacapa Street, Hazard’s Cyclesport was founded in 1914 by Henry “Hap” Hazard, who then passed the business on to his son. Hazard’s is now in its 105th year, run by Mr. Davis, who is the third owner since the family sold the shop.
“Hap Hazard was kind of a character. We try to keep that alive,” said Mr. Davis. “We’ll get guys who are in their 80s that will come in here with their grandkids and say ‘I bought my first bike from Hazard’s’, and they’ll tell us stories.”
There are a lot of bike shops in town, but none that have Hazard’s history, said Mr. Davis.
A Santa Barbara native and former stunt man, Mr. Davis is a lifelong cycling enthusiast. As a kid, Mr. Davis and his friends would ride their bikes all over the city, leaving the house in the morning and not returning until dinner.
“That was freedom,” said Mr. Davis.
Mr. Davis continued biking as he grew older, eventually competing in mountain bike races and triathlons. He managed Alpha Beta grocery store until his friend offered to sell him Hazard’s Cyclesport in 1992. Mr. Davis had joked about buying the shop, but when the call came he took the opportunity. Now 27 years later, he still loves the job.
“I love being on the floor talking to people and I love doing bike fits,” said Mr. Davis. “When I do a bike fit I know that that person is going to be even happier on the bike, is going to want to ride more, and it’s going to benefit their lifestyle and their health.”
Hazard’s sells a wide range of bikes, catering to everyone from beginners to professionals, mountain bikers to tri-athletes, young to old. Road bikes are the most commonly sold, but Mr. Davis has seen electric powered E-bikes grow in popularity. Regular bikes will always be around, but new E-bike technology is opening up cycling to those who may not be able to ride as far or as often, said Mr. Davis.
While bike sales make up the majority of Hazard’s income, repairs make up most of the work. Mr. Davis and his six employees, all passionate cyclists, spend most of the workweek doing tune-ups. Hazard’s mechanics will pour over a bike, adjusting breaks, shifters, and wheels to make sure every piece is working perfectly. The shop’s mechanics are highly regarded, and their repair boards are always booked up, Mr. Davis told the News-Press.
Another way Hazard’s supports the Santa Barbara cycling community is through weekly events. Cyclists can visit Hazard’s Cyclesport’s website to find information on rides that meet all over the city. Most rides are 30 to 70 miles long and happen every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Hazard’s hosts rides throughout the year for different events and works with organizations around the city. Over the years they have partnered with various clubs in the area such as the Santa Barbara Triathlon Club, UCSB’s triathlon team, and Bici Centro. They are also involved with organizations like the Challenge Athlete Foundation, helping cyclists with physical and mental challenges enjoy the sport and Moms in Motion, a women’s group supporting moms with community fitness events.
Hazard’s also maintains the fleet of bikes used by Santa Barbara Police Department and Sherriff’s Department, and even works with Santa Barbara Middle School, where Mr. Davis is on staff, to make bike riding part of their curriculum. Mr. Davis is currently on a trip with the 8th and 9th grade out to the Grand Canyon, where they will ride their mountain bikes about 140 miles through the desert to Sedona.
Whether you are looking for your first bike or need a tune-up before the next big competition, Hazard’s focuses on making you feel welcome and satisfied. Mr. Davis knows that some shops can be elitist and only cater to a specific type of cyclist, but he wants people to know “if they ride a bike, they’re one of us.”
“There are attitudes out there,” said Mr. Davis. “It doesn’t matter. If you’re riding a bike, everybody’s cool in my mind.”