When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.
Over the course of 50 years, the family that runs Helm of Sun Valley has amassed an inventory of top-shelf gear for wintry recreation and summertime watersports. Before stocking their shelves, the shop's athletic staffers take skis from Alpina, kiteboards from Cabrinha, and water skis from Connelly for test spins to appraise their performance. Standout sports gear snags a spot inside the store, along with apparel and accessories. Employees also rent out and tune up equipment. They specialize in fitting snowboard boots to feet, sometimes fashioning custom ZipFit liners by molding foam around arches. New kiteboard owners can master the sport by attending lessons, during which instructors teach basics on land before waving pupils onward into frothy crests.
Launched more than three decades ago, Site for Sore Eyes now operates in more than 35 showrooms throughout the Bay Area. Staffers at every location share their dedication when pairing customers with head-turning eyewear and contacts. The company offers a $25 warranty that secures all of its products, replacing broken frames for free and furnishing half-price replacements for glasses that are lost, stolen, or transformed into an acorn squash. In case eyes require prescription tweaks, each shop sits next door to California-licensed Sterling VisionCare doctors of optometry.
When crafting custom-fit bicycles, the staff members at CyclePath focus on empty space. To select the perfect frame, wheels, and components for each customer, they observe how his or her body moves through the air in free motion, rather than relying on a database of average body types. The result is a cycle that is uniquely suited to the customer's body and movements. In addition to building custom cycles, they rent out high-end road and mountain bikes and sell pre-made bicycles, allowing patrons to immediately explore the Bay Area's scenic side streets. They keep cycles running smoothly with comprehensive tune-ups and help out bikers who have accidentally pedaled into a realistic-looking mural with a list of repairs.
Thanks to Bay Area Ski Bus, getting from point A to point B never felts so good. Its shuttle buses, outfitted with modern conveniences such as video systems, usher passengers to and from local ski resorts, negating their need to worry over travel plans or convince the troll under their bed to return their car keys. Provided meals, snacks, and beverages keep both hunger and thirst at bay, and lift tickets dispensed upon arrival get skiers straight to the slopes. When the faraway ski destinations of Colorado or Val d'Isère entice travelers away from home, Bay Area Ski Bus grows wings to match. Its guides handle every detail of the adventure, from flights and shuttle arrangements to lodging and lift tickets.
Whether meant to scale mountains or drift down street shoulders, the mounts and cycling gear at Summit Bicycles ease any odyssey atop two wheels. The extensive selection ranges from Trek bikes for road and mountain to hybrid and commuter bikes that trump getting to work by hiding overnight in a coworker's trunk. Well aware of the importance of finding the ideal frame, the store lends out high-end bikes for test runs via its demo program, allowing riders to get a feel for the saddle's political bent before taking it home to meet their parents. For current owners, Summit's technicians repair and tune up already-owned bikes and help browsers find accessories such as tire-patching kits, electronic heart-rate monitors, and apparel from Bontrager and Pearl Izumi.