Sky Boyer: One Visionary Behind a San Diego Bicycling Renaissance

Sky Boyer, owner of Velo Cult
Sky Boyer, owner of Velo Cult

Sky Boyer, the owner of Velo Cult, is a visionary in San Diego when it comes to the growing bicycle scene. His bicycle store specializes in steel bikes and ensuring that every rider gets the right bike for themselves. BikeSD had the opportunity to ask Sky a few questions about him self, his philosophy and about his vision for bicycling in San Diego.

BikeSD: Tell us a little bit about yourself: how long have you been a cyclist? How long have you been a bicycle commuter?

Sky: I started riding religiously when I was five years old. And by religiously I mean every moment that I was awake. By the time I was nine, I was racing at the velodrome and on the road. At ten, centuries were a regular thing and by eleven I was doing a century every weekend day I wasn’t racing.
At around this time, I was mountain biking as part of cross training. As it turns out I was winning most of the mountain bike races I had entered and was losing the road races. So I became a mountain biker and loved every minute of it.
So now road racing was cross training and I was traveling the country racing cross country with the occasional downhill race.
I retired when I was twenty four having gotten pretty burnt out and not training as much. At this point I wanted nothing to do with bikes although i was still working in bike shops as a mechanic.
Two years after my retirement, I saw a BOB bike trailer set up for off road touring. My eyes lit up and soon I was traveling around doing solo mountain bike tours. This changed EVERYTHING. That trailer taught me how to actually ride a bike for fun. Up until that point I had only known racing. That trailer taught me how to slow down, stop for photographs, and really to enjoy the experience. From that point on I became a bike commuter too. I quickly realized that with touring and commuting everywhere you go is a little cool and exciting when you pedaled there. It was habit forming and inspired me into trying to share this with everybody.
BikeSD: How long have you been in San Diego? What was the bike scene like when you moved here?
Sky: I moved to San Diego eight years ago. When I moved here there were lots and lots of racers and very few people that commuted or even people that enjoyed some of the subcultures of cycling. If you bike commuted you were looked as someone who could not afford a car.
Velo Cult Bicycle Shop. Photo by Matt Lingo

BikeSD: Why did you decide to focus on catering to the bicycle commuting population?What have the rewards been like? What about the challenges?

Sky: Well, when I opened my shop the idea was to:
(A) cater to the subcultures of cycling and;
(B) try to carry things that other shops did not.
There were challenges but they’ve been fun ones. Opening people’s eyes to new ways of looking at bicycles has been fun. The biggest challenges for me have been selling ideas to people that are so obscure to them that it takes an hour or even a few days to explain it. However, this can result in a reward because once a movement actually starts it’s nice to be “go to” person on the subject but there’s a long time where you’re just talking and talking and nobody’s buying.  Once a new genre of cycling gets fired up all the bike shops benefit.
BikeSD: Where do you think the cycling scene in San Diego will be five years from now?

Sky: Five years from now I think the huge abundance of new cyclists this city just fostered recently will mature in their cycling and we’ll hit a real Renaissance. I’ve seen this in other cities. For example, people get really excited using their bicycles for commuting and then a few years later they become well rounded cyclists with all the correct nice gear and they become the gurus to everyone around them. It will leave us with a very bike knowledgeable town similar to what San Francisco and Portland have right now.


Thanks Sky for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. The bicycling scene in San Diego is definetly beginning to pick up. There has been a convergence of ideas, activism and events all of which began fairly recently. It is exciting to be part of this wave as it is starting to pick up steam.

Velo Cult is located in the neighborhood of South Park in San Diego. The address is:

2220 Fern St
San Diego, CA 92104

Photo of Velo Cult was taken by Matt Lingo.