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City Cycle Sold to Bay Area Retailers

Published June 8, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The owners of Marin County’s Paradigm Cycles have purchased City Cycle, the venerable San Francisco shop founded by the late Clay Mankin.

City Cycle has been run by Alison Mankin since her husband passed away of natural causes while riding from San Francisco to Santa Barbara in November 2005. The sale went through on April 1.

Cory Farrer, one of three owners of Paradigm Cycles, said he and his business partners saw an opportunity in City Cycle.

“It was a kind of a similar shop in spirit to what we’ve been doing and we needed to expand,” Farrer said. “The history was good. Certainly we have our challenges here— the size of the space, the way things had been going— I think it’s the right opportunity at the right time. Alison wanted to get out and we wanted to expand.”

In a note to City Cycle customers posted on the shop’s Web site, Alison Mankin described the transition as bittersweet, and said she was content with the outcome of the sale.

“I want to thank all of you for your loyalty, support and good cheer over your many years of patronage of City Cycle, and particularly during the years that we have been without Clay. Please know that your visits, phone calls and emails packed with stories always brightened my day,” she said.

Farrer said despite its strong reputation and well-recognized name, City Cycle, which Mankin opened in 1986, had been struggling due to the economic downturn and a product mix focused almost entirely on small custom brands.

To help diversify, he has brought in Trek, Cervélo and Colnago. Farrer said another focus would be to carry on Clay Mankin’s legacy by reintegrating the shop into the community through group rides, involvement with local cycling clubs and advocacy work, something for which Clay was well known.

Farrer said some of City Cycle’s longtime customers were initially nervous about new owners coming in, but people are mostly happy to have the shop stay open and thrive.

“I think we’ve got to earn their trust a little bit, we’re good at that,” he said. Farrer said the shop would retain the City Cycle name for the time being.

—Nicole Formosa

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