The ride is finished.
Bike Bob last walked into his namesake Old Town Goleta store as the owner on Sunday.
Come Monday, Bob “Bicycle Bob” Zaratzian slows down his roll, lowers his kickstand, and jumps off the metaphorical bike he’s been pedaling for nearly 40 years.
He’s moving in a new direction: retirement.
Zarazian told Noozhawk on Saturday:
He has a five-month-old grandson and two more grandchildren, twins, due in March.
“My wife said my job description had just been rewritten,” he said.
Most importantly, he plans to return to the love that sparked him in the first place: riding a bike.
“Our lives have been very busy, especially in the last few years, and riding has decreased significantly, and we are really looking forward to getting back there,” Zarazian said.
In the last 40 years, he has only taken one summer vacation with his wife, Julia.
Zarazian said, “We have work to do to catch up. We want to ride. We want to relax a little.
“We want to travel a bit and spend as much time with our grandchildren as possible.”
On Saturday, Zarazian praised customers, like cycling greats Lance Armstrong and Marianne Voss, who learned the news from his email blast and the big sign and letter hanging in front of the store.
They appreciated his products but said goodbye to a man who loved his dedication and dedication to his craft.
“He will sadly be missed,” said longtime customer Nicholas Connell.
“They have really helped Goleta Old Town develop and grow as a cycling community.”
For Zalazian, the cycling business runs in his blood. His father owned a store in Orange County. As a young man, Zarazian had the opportunity to buy a shop from his father, but he decided not to.
“One day my father came up and said, ‘Okay, if you don’t like the store, I’ll sell it,'” he recalls. “I said, ‘No, thank you, I don’t want him working in the bike industry for a day in my life.'”
“And if you worked for my father, you’d probably say the same thing.”
Zarazian’s life changed forever, as a gust of headwinds stopped him on the last day before his father sold the store.
“This pretty attractive young blonde gal walked in with her mother, so I sold them two bicycles and asked her to ride them.
He followed the young blonde to UC Santa Barbara and romance was born. He and Julia lived together and raised their children in Santa Barbara.
Zaratzian also fell in love with the South Coast and decided to follow his father’s footsteps by opening his own bike shop.
“I realized that I could do this and that it would work,” he said.
Bike Bob’s location in Old Town Goleta is our seventh physical location and a mecca for bike enthusiasts of all ages and skills.
The original store was 800 square feet and he was the only employee. On the final day, he had 15 employees in his 9,000-square-foot store.
When he reaches the end of the road, Zarazian can’t hold back his tears, remembering the things he misses: customers, colleagues, and friends.
Some of his employees have been with the store for over 30 years.
“Sorry, I’m getting emotional,” Zarazian said. “Leaving the people who work here is the hardest thing. ”
When he wanted to escape, he called the store his destination.
“It’s like my safe place here. If things are going well in the world, this is a very comfortable place for me,” Zarazian said.
All employees are offered jobs at the same pay rates as Trek, Zarazian said.
He’ll also miss out on customer interactions like choosing a family bike, making repairs, and sharing conversations about his bike trips.
“It’s a great, great cycling community,” says Zaratzian. “The cycling community is full of great people.”