So many of Laurel’s high-end 1980s BMX bikes, including my beloved lime green-with-white-tires ’86 Diamondback Viper, came straight outta Compton. 308 Compton Ave., to be exact—from the little shop called Bikes Plus.
Truth be told, I haven’t ridden a BMX since I sold the Diamondback in 1991—naively thinking that my new car (and I use that term very loosely, as my first car was a used 1981 Olds Omega) would replace it. In fact, it’s ironic; as kids, we couldn’t wait to trade in our bikes for cars. As an adult, it’s almost the opposite. Last year, I finally bought a new bike—a Cannondale Quick 2. It’s not as fun as the Diamondback used to be, but it’s close. And it’s certainly more fun than a Toyota—especially in DC traffic.
I haven’t found any specific artifacts from Bikes Plus, but I did come across a couple of vintage Mongoose manuals (1981 and 1984, respectively), as well as a spec sheet on the 1986 Diamondback. Reading it only reminds me of how much better it was than that Olds Omega, but I digress.
As far as the owners of Bikes Plus, I also found this article which details the colorful history of the building itself, including its time as both a childcare center (its current state) and a car wash (before Bikes Plus). If you have any photos of the staff, the bike inventory, or the legendary video arcade that was part of the Bikes Plus shop, please share!