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**Editor’s note: Sorry this Mixtape Monday is hitting on the second Monday instead of the first; we got set back by Labor Day.
I met Kyle Kelley one rainy, chilly early evening in July 2016 somewhere in Canada. My two friends and I had been riding in the rain for about eight days straight on the Great Divide, and finally caved and decided to stay at a hostel for a night to dry out. A woman named Liz came down from the balcony to introduce herself; she was also on a bike tour with her partner Kyle, heading to a bike summit in the midwest but taking the Great Divide route for part of the way. We ended up riding with them for a few days across the Canadian border and into the rainbow mecca of dewy Montana. As the storms held on to us by our shoulders, Kyle kept repeating, “ride towards sunlight!”
Two years later, having kept in touch with Liz and Kyle, I realize that isn’t just something he said in that moment to keep us cheerful, but a way of being. Kyle is genuinely positive, happy to be alive and pedaling, excited to see bicycles and meet people who love them. I visited him at this bike shop, Golden Saddle Cyclery, this past spring. The shop was exactly how I’d expect: well-curated selections of bikes, adventure gear, clothes, and bike lifestyle miscellany. Everyone who worked there didn’t seem so much to be working, more hanging out helping people with their mechanical or lifestyle problems in such a fluid manner that it was hard for me to tell at first who worked there and who was just hanging out because it was the place to be (which is not to say this isn’t a very hard working shop; everyone was just so comfortable being there, regardless of which direction the cash was flowing). Kyle was just rolling in from a group ride when I got there. Riders from Japan were visiting and hanging out in their camper van and a slew of others was lounging in the courtyard or getting help with mechanical issues in the back. I bought a Golden Saddle Cyclery cap and “went to The Club,” which is a malt beverage in a can that looks smaller than it feels. It was a fun place to hang out, full of everyone I’d want to buy to hit the tr ails or cruise through town or go on a major adventure.
Kyle is our DJ for this month, changing our tune a bit with his decidedly more positive spin on life, upbeat vibes, and solid grooves. I’m so happy to have met Kyle, and so stoked that he owns a shop that is so active in getting people as pumped as he is to pedal and have fun. If you’re ever in Silverlake, Los Angeles, do yourself a favor and stop by Golden Saddle to pick up some stuff you didn’t realize you were missing and have your bike tuned up for your next adventure. Maybe ask to tag along on one of their group rides. In the meantime, please enjoy this sick playlist Kyle put together for us.
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Author: Carolyne Whelan