After twenty nine years as a shop owner AJ closed the doors of the shop to focus on the two things he does and likes best, bicycle fitting and repair. He is excited to be joining the team at Michael's Bicycles in Newbury Park, CA where he and Michael will build a state of the art fit studio.
He has raced mountain, road and track and was an alternate on the US National team. The cycling life style and cycling community are a major part of AJ's life and he wants you to join the fun and experience the greatest sport on earth.
AJ has been a certified USCF coach, holds fitting certifications from Serotta, SICI, Retul, and F.I.S.T. and has performed thousands of professional fittings on all manner of riders from couch potatoes to pros.
His mechanical background was formed from an early age. Starting with motorcycles as a kid into racing them as a teenager into working his way through college as a motorcycle mechanic. He holds two Associate Degrees one in Machine Tool Technology and the other in Automotive Technology. After school he worked as a manufacturing engineer, machinist and tool and die maker for twelve years. Finally in 1983 his love of cycling over came common sense and he opened a bicycle shop. His shop was high end pro and he sold, designed, had built, assembled and fitted bespoke custom bicycles for years. Now you can tap into this experience and knowledge by visiting Michael's Bicycles for your service or fitting needs.
No ordinary pitchman: Homeless guy touts bike shop
Business owner turns negative into a positive
By Becca Whitnall
The 58-year-old Landry, who lives with chronic pain as a result of a stroke and seizures, slipped into depression when he lost his wife of 28 years in 2009. He turned to alcohol to self-medicate for both his physical and emotional pain until he became what he called a full-blown alcoholic.
He didn’t care if he died.
“When my wife died, I wanted to follow. She was a part of me and I was a part of her,” he said.
For the last five years, Landry’s been known to locals as the homeless guy who would sit outside the Newbury Park Vons or near the intersection of Borchard and Newbury roads with a sign that said: “Stroke, seizure. Anything will help.”
When he was at the very bottom, Landry found a friend in Michael Thomas, who owns Michael’s Bicycles on Michael Drive.
Landry had been standing on his corner on Borchard Drive when he decided to take a break. He put down his sign and left his backpack on the ground near the rear of the bike shop before walking away. When he returned, his backpack was gone.
“My whole life, everything I owned, all my papers were in there,” Landry said.
In his search for the pack, he knocked on the bike shop’s back door to ask if anyone had seen it. One of Thomas’ employees answered. He hadn’t seen it and asked Thomas if he had.
“Michael was with a customer, so he just said no,” Landry said. “But when he was finished, he came back out and asked if I was still looking for it.”
A hand up
“He started looking around and asked if I’d checked the dumpster behind the stores. I hadn’t, so I looked in and there it was,” Landry said.
He climbed in and got it, but because of physical problems with his legs, he couldn’t climb back out.
Thomas was there to help.
“Even though I was dirty and I smelled bad, Michael came over and helped me. He pulled me out of the trash,” Landry said.
The action turned out to symbolize what Thomas would go on to do: He offered Landry a job and changed his life.
Even though he has a brother who’s homeless by choice, Thomas said, he’s not a crusader for the homeless. In fact, a few months before meeting Landry, another homeless man had pulled a knife on him.
The job offer was pragmatic, he said.
“It was something I had been thinking about,” Thomas said. “It’s human nature that we turn our heads away w hen we see the homeless. We don’t want to make eye contact.”
But as a shop owner, he didn’t want potential customers to turn away from Landry and, by extension, his store. Instead, he gave Landry a Michael’s Bicycles sign to hold and wave.
“I asked him if he wanted a job. He said ‘yes,’ so I told him to come back sober the next day,” Thomas said. “At first, I was concerned about how he’d represent the store, but he’s done a great job.”
And it’s perfectly legal.
While posting signs in the right of way is not allowed in the city, there are no ordinances against having people holding them, said Geoff Ware, Thousand Oaks code compliance manager.
In the two months or so that Landry’s been working, Thomas said, he’s received a phone call or two every day from residents thanking him for helping Landry.
“We’ve had customers come in and say, ‘I’m here because of the guy on the corner,’” Thomas said. “We’ve even had a few tearful moments.”
A reason to live
Thomas’face lights up when he talks about the gusto with which Landry approaches his job and the changes he’s seen come over his employee.
“Now he’s got a reason to get up every day and he’s got his selfesteem back,” Thomas said.
It’s a fair assessment, said Landry, who compares Thomas to the most giving figure he can think of.
“Don’t tell Michael, but I think of him as Santa Claus,” Landry said.
The former construction worker and carpenter acknowledges some people might look down on his job, but he’s proud of it and what he’s been able to achieve because of it. Being sober and having a small but steady income has given him more than pride; it’s given him family.
The store, now in its 30th year of operation, is run in large part by Thomas’ family members. Landry now considers himself one of them.
The job has also given him normalcy, stability and contentment.
“Now I have a place to live, I have some money in my pocket, I have a ride to places I need to get to and I even have a beautiful girlfriend,” Landry said. “I don’t think of this as a job. I think of it as happiness.”
Some great benefits of introducing cycling at a young age:
- Developing strength, balance, and overall fitness
- Burning up calories
- Strengthening the heart, lungs, and lower-body muscles and bones
- Developing and strengthening the muscles surrounding the knees without impact
"Ride Before You Buy!"
Michael's Bicycles wants you to be as satisfied as possible with your new bicycle, that's why we now offer Demo mountain bikes for you to take on a long joy ride before you make a commitment. At Michael's Bicycles we always put our customers first and we are the only bicycle shop in Ventura County to offer lifetime FREE tune-ups when you purchase from us!
Ladies Mountain Bikes:
Meet the new Lush 27.5 Our most versatile full suspension mountain bike for women gives you do-it-all 27.5" wheels and a fun, confidence-inspiring ride.
Cali SLX is our race-ready women's XC hardtail.You get light, agile control, Trek's XC expectise, and the right 29" or 27.5" wheel for each frame size.
Mens Mountain Bikes:
Fuel EX 27.5 The world's best-loved mountain bike keeps getting better. Fuel EX continues to set the bar for full suspension trail bike versatility, bringing race-day tech to all-day adventure.
Remedy 9 29 is the mountain biker's mountain bike. Choose 27.5" or 29er wheels to conquer the trail your way, on a bike that scores tens for capability and versatility.
Superfly FS 9.7 SL is the 29er full suspension weapon of choice for elite World Cup racers. Blazing speed, ultra-light weight, incredible handling—this bike leaves nothing on the table
The CruX Expert EVO is an all-condition gravel beast, with race-optimized geometry, tapered headtube, internal cable routing, and an outstanding stiffness-to-weight ratio to power through the nastiest terrain. AXIS 4.0 Disc wheels and Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with integrated hydraulic disc brakes complete the uber-tough, gravel shredding machine.
- AXIS 4.0 Disc wheels are tough, race-ready, and perfect for all conditions
- Specialized Trigger Pro, 38c tires for excellent all-terrain traction
- FSA SL-K Light, carbon crankset w/ BB30 for lightweight power transfer
- TRP HY/RD hydraulic disc brakes for effortless braking in even the nastiest conditions
- Shimano Ultegra, 11-speed rear derailleur is lightweight w/ smooth and crisp shifting
- Body Geometry Toupé Comp Gel saddle w/ hollow Cr-Mo rails for comfort without compromise
- Specialized CG-R, FACT carbon seatpost is engineered for compliance and comfort
The Specialized Crux Expert EVO has an MSRP of $3,700
The all new Emonda SLR 8 Hand Built in the USA and weighing in at an astonishing 13.56lbs.
700 Series OCLV is the lightest, strongest carbon in the cycling world, built from strategic materials available exclusively to Trek.
- Full Shimano Dura-ace gruppo
- Bontrager RXL Tubeless Ready Wheelset
- Bontrager R4 Hard-Case Lite tires
- Bontrager XXX OCLV carbon handlebar
- Bontrager Paradigm RXL saddle with carbon rails
The Emonda SLR 8 has a MSRP of $7,499.99
We dare you to come on down and "Single Handedly" pick one up for yourself!
New in the shop are the 2015 Specialized Enduro Comp 650B. These feature 27.5in Wheels with Roval 650B Rims which are lightweight and durable for smooth handling at speed. It features a SRAM X1 11 speed, PF30 crankset for excellent efficiency and power. Many colors are available and this is a great bike for our local terrain!
The Enduro Comp 650B has a MSRP of $3600, come on down and take a test ride today!
Fatbikes can go anywhere. Ride them on the beach, in the snow, and on the local trails. Fun to ride with more traction than you can believe! Lighter than they look, fat bikes have a soft and cushy ride on 26X4.6 tires that will have you smiling ear to ear.
We've expanded in 2014 and in case you haven't been in the shop, here's a nice photo gallery you can check out. Come on by when you get a chance, we've been working hard to make this the best Bike shop around and give you wonderful the experience you are looking for!