Growing up, Myles Lucas vividly remembers watching his dad Brian do projects around the house, learning life lessons along the way. Brian, owner of Off the Chain Bikes in Hollister, formerly worked in the research and development sector testing products for Morgan Hill-based Specialized Bicycle Components.
“He would point something out in the house and tell me that if I was going to look at this thing everyday, make sure to do it right,” said Myles, a 2012 Anzar High graduate. “That kind of stuck in my head. He had a good attention to detail. Things seemed to work out good.”
Did it ever. Myles, 22, is a machinist at SRAM, one of the top bicycle component manufacturers in the world. Myles, who also is competing in pro category Enduro and cross-country bike races, developed the work ethic and smarts of his father, who takes pride in giving customers the proper fit on a bike.
Being properly fitted for a bike—whether it’s a road, mountain or BMX—is critical for comfort, power transfer and the ability to ride longer in the saddle. Years ago, Brian Lucas got certified as a Specialized Body Geometry Fit Technician.
“It could take a couple of hours to dial a person in proper positioning on a bike,” he said. “If you’re going to be spending many hours on the saddle, you better get the fit right. If something is off, it’s going to create issues.”
Lucas said the store’s chief mechanic of eight years, Chris Neher, is “a very capable mechanical person who pretty much does all our repairs now. He’s very detail conscious and capable.”
Off the Chain Bikes, which Lucas opened in 2001, carry road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, BMX, beach cruisers, cross cycle and children’s bicycles. Some of the brands the shop carries include Specialized, Felt, Look, Haro, Electra and Cult Fit. Bike prices range anywhere from to $275 to $3,000.
Although San Benito County isn’t a cycling hotbed, Off the Chain Bikes still does well in that it is one of the few—and perhaps premier—bike stores in the county.
“Comfort bikes are huge here,” Lucas said. “Hybrids are our most commonly sold bikes. But we have a good community of road cyclists and mountain bikers as well.”
He takes pride in providing excellent customer service and bike care. Off the Chain Bikes has gained a big following of riders and fitness enthusiasts, as they offer indoor spin classes during the winter months to go along with group rides three times a week.
There are rides for all skill levels, from a beginner’s ride with a no-drop policy to a more advanced and longer ride. Brian has passed on his love for all things cycling to not only his son, but also to many others in the county. He biked across the country in 1983, taking two months to complete the 3,000-mile-plus sojourn.
Now it’s Myles who has the competitive biking jones, as he started racing three years ago. The 5-foot-9, 145-pounder had his best result at a race earlier this year in Ashland, Ore., where he earned a fourth-place finish. Myles said he couldn’t have asked for a better upbringing, and his dad beamed with pride as he talked about his son.
When the elder Lucas opened up the business 15 years ago, he knew it wouldn’t be easy. But he weathered the tough economic times most businesses endure in the first couple of years to establish a quality bike shop.
“The first five years was pretty difficult economically,” Brian said. “I knew that and truly expected it. But if you’re afraid of a little bit of work, you’re not cut out to be a business guy. I’m glad I weathered through that point.”
Off the Chain Bikes is located at 101 McCray St., #101. Its website is offthechainbikes.com.