Cypress trees sway in the breeze, lush tropical vegetation soaks up the sunshine, and white sandy beaches glisten nearby as Buena Vista Watersports' rental jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and pontoons tote adventurers across the spring-fed waters of Lake Bryan alongside waterskiers and wakeboarders. The Key West–style resort, located just east of Disney World, allows families and friends to glimpse local wildlife as they skim scenic shorelines and chase picturesque settings at an aquatic reservoir as vast and secluded as Bigfoot's bathtub. The resort's alighted tiki torches and palm trees that border its tiki bar and pavilion attract groups for company picnics or private events such as weddings and parties, during which revelers can partake in watersports, dance to reggae, or watch a fire-dancing show.
Youngsters who have outgrown their gear and adults picking up a new sport can outfit themselves with selections from Play It Again Sports, the largest sporting-goods resale franchise in North America. For the last 25 years, the Pacific Beach location set itself apart, garnering both the parent company's Store of the Year and Heritage award and is one of the top performers in the nation. As in all the stores nationwide, brand-name equipment—from popular makers such as Diamondback, Bodyglove, and Wilson—shines in San Diego's displays alongside gently used wares. This gear helps equip competitive athletes playing sports from soccer and golf to surfing and biking. Patrons can also trade in or receive cash for their equipment, provided that it is still in working condition, and put that money toward new or used gear.
The staffers at Cruiser King help pedalers to stay on the road with an impressive supply of bikes for sale or rent, handy cycling gear, and comprehensive maintenance services. At Cruiser King’s two locations, employees oversee a steady supply of the latest bikes from Hampton Cruisers and Fuji, doling them into the waiting hands of new owners or riders borrowing them for excursions, which can range from one hour to one week to cross-Atlantic cruises. Though the shop is known for its top-shelf beach cruisers, it also rents out mountain bikes, inline skates, and surfboards.
Powered by lightweight batteries, Ivan Stewart's electric bicycles propel riders around downtown San Diego at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Hills and rough terrain won't slow down tours as the electric bikes tackle road obstacles with ease. The self-powered cycles can travel between 20 and 25 miles on a single charge, letting renters explore large parts of the city and its waterfront before needing to plug into a power source or capture stray lightning bolts.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, Inc., he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
In a way, Mo Karimi stumbled upon the idea for San Diego Bike Shop. In early 1998, Mo opened a pedi-cab business. At the time, pedi-cabs were starting to be seen as an alternative to cars, buses, and pogo sticks for getting around congested downtown streets. However, as Mo soon found out, there was an even greater demand for bicycle services and parts. So he quickly converted his space into San Diego Bike Shop, connecting with a neighborhood that needed a bicycling business. Ever since then, Mo and his staff have set customers into motion with bicycle sales and rentals, as well as tune-ups, repairs, and friendly, expert advice.