COSTA MESA, CA (BRAIN) — The Unlikely Cyclist is not only Lisa Kanno’s new women’s-specific shop, it is Kanno herself.
After spending eight years as an indoor cycling instructor in her spare time, Kanno took up road riding four years ago and launched The Unlikely Cyclist as a blog to chronicle her exploits. A layoff from her job in the film industry couple years later brought Kanno to a crossroads: Would she get another gig and continue commuting into L.A. from Orange County, or find a new career path?
The Unlikely Cyclist opened for business Oct. 12 in 700 square feet in Costa Mesa on the edge of busy road cycling routes through neighboring Newport Beach. Kanno admits the store is small, but “I’ve got plenty of space for a great selection of stuff, plus a full service department as well,” she said.
That selection includes bikes from Bianchi and Volagi, with the goal of always stocking a size run of one road bike from 44 to 55 centimeters, plus one hybrid and one city bike.
Similarly, apparel is stocked to fit women of all sizes, with some clothing lines running from XS to XXXL. Florida’s Road Holland made a plus-size wool jersey specifically for The Unlikely Cyclist, and Kanno plans to stock Sheila Moon and Shebeest in plus sizes once they’re available. Other clothing brands include Giordana, Terry, Hincapie, Gore, Sugoi, Twin Six and Canari.
Kanno also keeps a bike mounted on a trainer so customers can experience how the clothing feels while pedaling, and offers a test saddle program with products from Fizik, Terry and Selle Italia. “We’ve had a lot of women coming in and trying that out,” she said.
Kanno does some wrenching herself but also contracts out work to mobile repair service Fresh Bikes.
Weekly women’s rides, alternating between beginner and intermediate, leave the shop each Saturday, and The Unlikely Cyclist also coordinates rides with the Beach Cities Women’s Cycling Group as well as Orange County Women on Wheels, a meet-up group founded by Kanno. Women’s clinics will be held at the store every other Thursday starting Nov. 15.