Some bicycle shops nationwide suffered theft and damage over the weekend in the wake of the George Floyd protests that flared into riots in some cities.
Jay Wolff owns five shops across LA including I. Martin Bicycles and possibly the largest and best known shop in LA, Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica.
“Most of the stores were hit around I. Martin,” Wolff said. “There wasn’t a store that really wasn’t touched. And the graffiti … It’s horrible. It looks like a war zone.”
Wolff estimated that he lost 40% of his inventory from the I. Martin store. “They were taking anything they could get their hands on.
“We were watching the protesters go by, and then an hour or two after dark — I guess they went in right after dusk — because I’m getting multiple alarms (notifications), so we left Santa Monica to go protect it. We jumped out of the car and people were taking stuff out. And we stopped the bleeding. And then the cops arrived. It was crazy.”
On Sunday night, he and others in the neighbourhood, including armed guards, converged on the Santa Monica location.
“They (the looters) were circling us,” Wolff said. “We were only blocks away from (the main unrest in Santa Monica). The looters were literally not even 200 yards away. We had a lot of support from our neighbourhood, our community. We were on the roof and at the front door and at the back. If we didn’t have the show of protection last night at Santa Monica, we would’ve had some damage and looting big time.”
A longer version of this article was first published in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.