May 8 2013 09:14 AM

The bike shop that started the program is gone, but the perks remain

Urban Solace participates in the bicycle discount program.
Photo by Adam Vieyra
When a commuter chooses to swap his or her gas-guzzler for a bike, there are usually two reasons for the decision. The first is to get in better shape—anyone attempting to bike to work for the first time will get a workout in muscles that he or she likely wasn't putting to good use beforehand. The second reason is to save money. Swapping your car for a bike cuts out the recurring expense of having to put fuel in your tank, routinely get oil changes and other, more costly, maintenance.

Yet in San Diego, cyclist commuters have the added privilege of being able to take advantage of discounts at a long list of businesses throughout the city. In 2010, Velo Cult bike shop started a program with local establishments to give discounts to anyone who rides there on a bike. The idea is simple—ride to a participating shop, restaurant or other place of business on your bike (look for the diamond-shaped placard in the window), then ask for the discount. And though Velo Cult has since moved to Portland, the program is still in place and continuing to expand.

Here's a sampling of some of the discounts that local businesses offer to cyclists (for a complete list, go to

Restaurants and bars

Nothing builds up an appetite quite like a long bike ride, and, fortunately, the bulk of the benefits available to riders in San Diego come from local eateries.

North Park has the highest concentration. Among some of the perks available to bike riders: 10 percent off at Carnitas Snack Shack (2632 University Ave.), Tiger! Tiger! Tavern (3025 El Cajon Blvd., as well as sister restaurant Blind Lady Ale House at 3416 Adams Ave.), Urban Solace (3823 30th St.) and Sea Rocket Bistro (3382 30th St.); 20 percent off at Alexander's (3391 30th St.); and $1 off a whole pizza and $1 off draft beer at Sicilian Thing Pizza (4046 30th St.).

Just a little farther south along the 30th Street corridor in South Park, riders get 10 percent off at Station Tavern (2204 Fern St.) and Whistle Stop Bar (2236 Fern St.) and 15 percent off at Alchemy (1503 30th St.).

Downtown, a 10-percent discount applies at Café 21 (750 Fifth Ave.), and in Barrio Logan at Café Moto (2619 National Ave.) and Café Virtuoso (1616 National Ave.)

If you're riding along the coast, you can take advantage of 10 percent off at Bull's Smokin' BBQ in Morena (1127 W. Morena Blvd.), Pannikin in La Jolla (7467 Girard Ave.) and Underbelly (750 W. Fir St.) in Little Italy.

Fashion and beauty

Cyclists who aim to look their best can take advantage of discounts at many local retailers and salons. 

Hillcrest's Village Hat Shop (3821 Fourth Ave.) offers 10 percent off, as does fellow neighborhood shoe retailer Mint (525 University Ave.), whose sister shop in Los Angeles likewise participates, should any San Diegans plan on taking their bikes a few hours north.

South Park's Make Good (2207 Fern St.) offers 10 percent off non-consignment items, while next door at Junc Boutique (2205 Fern St.), shoppers can take advantage of a 15-percent discount. Meanwhile, Salon on 30th, just down the street at 2225 30th St., offers 10 percent off services, and at Little Italy's Salon Tonic (1532 India St.), Berge Garcia takes 15 percent off services.

And for additional personal grooming, The Undercarriage's locations Downtown (1837 Fifth Ave.) and in North Park (3385 30th St.) both offer 15 percent off services.

Health and wellness

Keeping in good health is a necessity for cyclists, so it's a good thing that several establishments in San Diego's wellness community offer discounts, as well. South Park chiropractor Dr. Ronald Fritz (1936 Fern St.) gives a free initial exam and 10 percent off appointments; Hillcrest acupuncturists Absolute Acupuncture (2560 First Ave., Suite 202) and Herbin Acupuncture & Wellness (3594 Fifth Ave.) offer 15 and 10 off, respectively; and North Park's Europilates San Diego (3131 Dale St.) offers 10 percent off.

North County

The SD Bike Commute discount program isn't totally exclusive to San Diego proper, either. While it's only beginning to spread into North County, there are a couple of participating establishments. Escondido's Kettle Coffee and Tea (119 E. Grand Ave.) gives cyclists 10 percent off their purchase. And chiropractor Cordin Blosiu in Encinitas offers 5 percent off services with free consultation.

Write to


See all events on Wednesday, Dec 7