Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bike Friendly: The Americana at Brand, Glendale CA.

Seems a little weird right? The title I mean... I was definitely caught by surprise when my good friend Matt sent me an e-mail saying "Did you know the Americana has Bike Valet". Matt is one of those guys who helps me keep a finger on the pulse of all that it Glendale, the city in which I live, so when he said this I was inclined to believe... but I needed to find out for sure. Additionally there was some talk of a place called the Crepe Place, which is always appealing because I'm French so with camera in bag and my lock around my waist (just in case) I went in search of this "Bike Valet"...

Since the Americana at Brand was built I've been there once but only to scoff at it's "Mall-ish" Suburban Corporate shopping experience and prefab urban facade. I won't lie, I hated the Americana when I first saw it. To me it represented the kind of rampant commercialism and "Shop 'till you go Bankrupt" mentality that has doomed us. You know, kind of like This Visa Commercial. Actually, that's a total lie. I did originally view the Americana with some disdain, but once I saw that they had a Sur la Table my opinion immediately changed. I went there, had a good time, bought some stuff and went home. Whatever, I like Sur la Table... as I like to have nice stuff to cook with and I don't have a lot of time to go searching for obscure, hard to find Japanese steel so I buy Shun because it's good and (relatively) inexpensive. Also, if you're going to knock something for being "Corporate", don't let me catch you riding any bike with any Sugino, Shimano, Campagnolo, or SRAM part on it. In fact, don't let me catch you riding anything, or wearing any clothes, or doing anything "On the Grid" for that matter, as everything you do now means you are in someway patronizing something "Corporate"... so just suck it up, The Americana has some cool stuff.

But my opinion on this matter is neither here nor there really, and the promise of a bike valet and a crepe had me thinking it was time to ride down there. Before I pumped up the tires on the Hipster D-Bag Special I wanted to make sure my trip wasn't in vain, so I called. The concierge was probably the nicest person I've talked to who works in Glendale in, well... Ever, and he informed me that there was a Bike Valet, how to get there from the different traffic arteries, and ensured me that this was a service that was available every day that the Americana was open. This became something I had to see for myself.

So now that I was relatively certain that the Bike Valet experience was going to happen I got the Hipster D-Bag Special out and topped off the tires. I threw my dirty 10 year old Timbuk bag on and rolled down Brand Blvd to the Americana. I turned right onto Caruso st. and rolled into the (Car) Valet to ask the Valet if this was where I needed to be. Expecting him to say "No, it's down there a ways" I was surprised when he said "yes".

"This is it? The same place as the cars?"
"Yea, but follow me over here to get a valet ticket"

So I followed the guy across the way, got the ticket, filled out a quick registration card (the registration card is used to identify the bike since there is no VIN number or License plate) and gave him my bike. I was really impressed that the Americana even offered a Bike Valet service, and that they treated it essentially the same as the car valet, and that... get this, the car valet costs money (without validation) while the bike valet is FREE. I was so impressed in fact that I took this picture (which got messed up somehow):

The Bike Valets at the Americana at Brand with the Hipster D-bag Special

After leaving the Hipster D-Bag Special in the care of The Americana's valet service I walked over to the Le Maison du Crepe to see what all the hype was about. I ordered the Chicken Pesto and a Strawberry Lemonade. It was delicious. Now, it's important to note that, while the Crepe Shack's Crepe's are extremely tasty and delicious they aren't really traditional crepes, but more like, a Crepe-Cone, that you can hold and eat while you walk around spending Citibank's money at Juicy Couture.

But whatever about the Crepe. The point is that the Americana at Brand has a Bike Valet, and they are cool about it. It's a pretty progressive thing for a place like the Americana to include a Bike Valet, essentially saying "People who ride their bikes here are just as important as people who drive their cars here" which is a statement that a lot of places are saying, but not really backing up the way the Americana has. It's simple infrastructure changes like this that make all the difference in my mind. I recommend that everyone who has a bike should ride it to the Americana, Valet it, and then tip the Valet generously so they know just how much we appreciate the service. Also, I applaud whoever the operations manager is who made the decision to include the Bike Valet. Thank you for putting some muscle behind the words "We think bicycling is important".


George Feucht said...

That is great to hear. I live in Burbank so the Americana is within the street-clothes-riding-won't-stink-too-bad-upon-arival radius from me.

Also love the name "Hipster D-bag Special." Wish I thought of if first for my Swobo Dixon.

Atomic Bombshell said...

I've gone to the Americana on my bike before, but didn't know about the valet. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I found out about the Americana's bike valet when they left a cute little hang tag on my bicycle after I chained it to a tree. If you're there on Saturday mornings during the Farmer's Market, there isn't actually a valet on duty to take your bike at the Caruso garage, but there's a bike rack just inside the garage that security checks up on regularly.

EVOMO said...

Thats AWESOME, I had no idea. I am going to ride down there on my Turner Nitrous MTB bike!

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