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Renee Gaumond and Cindy Olavarri opened Left Coast Cyclery as part of a life-changing event. “When I lost my Mom to breast cancer my life took a radical shift”, notes Renee. “My Mother was 69 years young and did everything right. She had annual mammograms, went to the gym 3 times a week, and did monthly self-examinations. She was diagnosed in September 1999 and died 2 months later. This tragedy was the impetus to change my life goals.”
Renee had spent 15 years herself chasing ambulances, covering disasters, crime, and rushing to meet deadlines as an Emmy Award-winning photojournalist for KTVU and KGO-TV. Her own therapy to life’s stresses was to get on her bike, enjoy the simplicity of pedaling down the road to discover a different world, listen to her breath, test the limits of her body, feel the success of something that challenges you physically and mentally. It was this passion Renee was inspired to share with other cyclists when she and her partner opened Left Coast Cyclery in May 2002 stating; “I believe my television career taught me skills I apply every day managing this bike shop: perseverance, patience, communication and appreciation for life’s countless unknowns!”
Left Coast Cyclery caters to competitive and recreational cyclists with a reputation as the “Cheers” of bike shops. . . a place where cyclists of all levels commiserate with fellow enthusiasts, hang out to watch cycling videos, and can discuss technique & training from co-owner Cindy, a world champion cyclist. Experienced cyclists gain technical advice from the shop’s top notch mechanics on repairs, fit, sizing and cycling technology.
Ms. Gaumond founded the company with a mission of giving back to the community. The company currently works with Towanda Tours, a woman-owned bicycle touring organization with trips in the U.S. and Europe. Left Coast Cyclery helps to sponsor their benefit rides to raise money for Breast Cancer research, a women’s cycling team, and offers discounts to support the Human Rights Commission, the National Center for Lesbian Righs, Leukemia Society, the Aids Ride and local bike clubs; Berkeley Bicycle Club and the Grizzly Peak Cyclists. “Obviously, as the shop grows, we hope to do more cycling advocacy and awareness for the public”, comments Renee.
The shop plans to introduce classes on bike mechanics and nutrition talks. They also hold indoor classes on Tuesday nights led by professional cyclist/excercize physiologist Sandra Kolb. Renee notes that these classes are in particular demand on cold, winter nights. Interested cyclists of all levels are encouraged to call Renee at Left Coast Cyclery to get information on organized rides or any of their services—or just to thank her for being an inspiration to all of us to have our work follow our hearts.
Renee Gaumond can be reached at Left Coast Cyclery, 2928 Domingo, in Berkeley’s Claremont district. Phone: 510-204-8550.
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