TAKING A WALK on the Boardwalk and watching the world pass by on a blue bench is a treat. Hearing the flute lady play Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter, catching snatches of conversation from the beach people walking past, hearing the ching ching of bike bells… it’s a perfect summer moment. Vince Desantis went into business to keep those bikes in the best shape possible to ride the boards, beach, and the town. He opened Beach Bike Warehouse, 745 Asbury Avenue, in April.
“I worked at Annarelli’s for five years. It was my first job as a kid. They were the only bike shop on the island for a long time. I worked there pretty much through high school as a summer gig. Every Ocean City kid has a summer job and that was mine,” said Vince.
He gained more experience through working at a shop near the College of Charleston.
“I started going to college in South Carolina. I worked part time at a shop down there when I was in school. I graduated and moved back up to this area. I have always been passionate about riding my bikes a ton and working on them,” said Vince. “When Annarelli’s announced that they retired, I saw an opportunity to pursue my passion.”
Prior to opening Beach Bike Warehouse, Vince worked as an accountant.
“I was working full time up until 2021. 2021 is when I went completely into bikes and opened up the shop. I had the opportunity to move into the space that I’m in now. The previous two years were kind of casually refurbishing bikes and selling them. I was doing some repairs for people. Now, we’re a full service shop.”
He ran Beach Bike Warehouse through Instagram prior to opening on Asbury..
“Everything was through Instagram. I was selling bikes through Instagram,” Vince said.
Vince basically lives on his bike.
“I ride my bike some 100 miles a week,” he said.
He has about 12 bikes of his own.
“There’s probably six I ride on a regular basis. The other six I’m not happy with because I’m not finished building them yet,” said Vince. “There’s some bikes that I don’t take out when it’s nasty and other bikes I use for when it’s bad weather.” Vince gets to work on bikes almost daily.
“I’m in the shop six days a week. I like to get one custom bike on the floor a day. As soon as I’m finished with a repair and I’m happy with the bike, I call for the person to come get it. One in, one out,” said Vince.
Vince will work on just about anything.
“In order to be a successful shop, you have to service your bikes and all of the bikes that you come across.”
The age of some bikes in his shop is surprising.
“I’ve got bikes here from the ‘40s. With the correct maintenance and conditions, they can outlast most people. Less expensive bikes or bikes that are department store quality aren’t made the same. They’re not going to last as long even with proper maintenance. They fall into the category of throw away,” Vince said.
Beach Bike Warehouse will also do mobile repairs for a $50 mobilization fee.
“Everything has to be reviewed before we go and do it. When someone requests a mobile repair, we ask them to send us pictures of the bikes they need worked on. I can review and see if it’s something we can do. Say someone sends me a picture of six bikes locked up and they’ve been outside all year. I can’t show up and fix them; they’re going to be a mess. Six bikes that have been sitting in a garage for a little while and need to be brought back to life, that’s doable,” said Vince.
He also sells new bikes – Bilda Bike. Because of manufacturing issues due to COVID-19, it’s more difficult to get new bikes.
“Certain brands are much more difficult. Some brands are telling someone [that it will take] a year. That’s nothing as a business owner that you can control. You have to be flexible and be creative,” said Vince.
So far, he’s been happy with his new physical location.
“I’m happy with it. It’s nice to have a little more space. It’s about having the space and having a place to keep all the bikes together. I needed more square footage. Asbury is a great location,” said Vince. “I’m excited to be here on the island and have a good, safe summer. There’s a lot of people on the island and bike safety is important.”
HOW SHOULD YOU PROPERLY CARE FOR YOUR BIKE?
HINT: IT’S ALL ABOUT MAINTENANCE.
Maintenance is key, according to Vince. “If you can keep your bike inside, that’s fantastic. If it has to live in a garage, it’s hard because it gets salt on it.”
If you ride your bike to the beach, Vince recommends spraying your bike with freshwater and wiping it off. You should also make sure your chain is lubricated as well as avoiding potholes and jumping off curbs.
“Every time I ride my bike, I’m checking the air. It might be less important with a beach cruiser, but you want to make sure the pressure is exactly what it’s recommended at,” Vince said.
He refers to beach cruisers as “anything that has a wide, 26” tire and a big sweeping handlebar.” Noisy bike rides can signal a big problem.
“If a bike starts to make a sound, it’s an indicator that it needs some kind of adjustment. The longer you wait, the worse it gets. You might be able to get away with waiting with your car but your bike might not have the same longevity,” Vince said.
Depending on the care you give your bike, you may never have to take it in for maintenance.
“The more maintenance and service you do on a bike, the less you have to do. If you’re one of those people who comes in and wipes your bike down and makes little adjustments to it, you may never have to see me,” said Vince.
Find this story and others in our July magazine.