Fifteen years ago, skateboarders around these parts didn't have much they could call their own. If you wanted to go to a decent park, the nearest place was Orlando ("C'mon, Mom -- please!?"). And when it came time to buy a new board, your only choice was to snoop around town for a surf shop that bothered to sell more than three decks and one set of wheels. By the time Joe Varricchio opened the Shred Shed in 1999, both the supply and demand for skate gear were higher than a Reese Forbes ollie. The store has everything a young shredder needs, from roughly 300 skate decks ($32.95 to $54.95, with free grip tape), accessories (wheels, $25 to $39.80), shoes ($49.95 to $89.95), T-shirts ($18.95), and DVDs (Blind's What If, $24.95). And speaking of DVDs, the Shred Shed has its first team video available for ten bucks (The Friggin' Shred Shed Video) as well as a second one in the works. The team kids are damned good too, never failing to rack up points at local contests. Hmm... maybe it's where they do their shopping.
You've heard of getting fitted for a suit, a dress, or even a pair of loafers, but at Bike America, they fit you for a bike. They take measurements of your torso, arm length, and inseam to figure out what size bike fits best. Even before this five-store South Florida chain opened its new location in Plantation earlier this year, it claimed to be the state's largest bike dealer and one of the top 100 dealers in the country. And the new store is the best yet, a stylish shop with poured concrete floors, exposed rafters, and sharp lighting. The Plantation store is also unique in that it sells only Trek and its subsidiary brands, like Gary Fisher. The store specializes in the mountain bikes and road bikes that won the Tour de France, which can cost up to $10,000, but the place also sells cheaper touring and kids bikes. For street riding, go for the Trek Madone 5.2 ($3,189), a copy of the bikes that won the Tour. For cruising, try the cushy seat and wide handle bars of the Women's Calypso ($309.99), a clunky-looking bike that's lighter than its appearance, thanks to an aluminum frame. Just remember to suck that gut in during the measurement.
At this vast repository for used household items of every stripe, donations are always welcome. When old knees give out, the old bikes come in -- hundreds of 'em, fit for man, woman, and child. If you aren't in the mood to spend a small fortune on a new bike with fancy front suspension and an ergonomically correct seat -- after all, you just want something to tool around town on -- go used. Faith Farm, which takes up about two city blocks, boasts the biggest pre-owned assortment of ten-speeds, mountain bikes, fat-tire beach cruisers, Italian road bikes, and more. The pickin's are anything but slim, Jim, and you'll rarely (if ever) have to spend more than $80 or $90 to set yourself up. Just leave those black stretchy Lycra butt-pants at home. You look stupid in 'em.
When Eddie Trotta was at home recovering from cancer in 1991, he used his free time to build himself a motorcycle. The thing turned out so well, he decided to start building them for others, and before he knew it, Trotta became one of the country's premier bike builders. Since those humble beginnings, Trotta is now in his fourth location, a 30,000-square-foot shop that includes a bike-building area the size of an airplane hangar. Trotta and his team have also appeared twice now on Discovery Channel's Biker Build Off, a show that required them to crank out a chopper in just ten days. Typically, it takes six months or more to produce custom bikes, which can cost in the six figures. The company makes about ten to 15 of them a year, but Trotta has plans to significantly increase that number. Just recently, Thunder bought two new fabricating machines -- at $100,000 each -- which stamp out the uniquely shaped metal needed for custom bikes. Thunder also recently started selling Big Dog bikes that go for about $30,000 each, much less than the custom ones built by Thunder. The bike that helped Trotta win the first Biker Build Off, a silver chopper with purple and blue flames, costs a cool $85,000. It comes with a six-speed tranny, diamond-cut cylinders, a 131-cubic-inch engine that puts out 140 horses, and a double-shot of testosterone. It's not a bad way to beat cancer, or whatever's ailing you.
Cleaning out the closet can be a surprisingly emotional experience. Worse yet is figuring out what to do with all the sartorial memories, since every outdated suit and Technicolor tie is sewn up with nostalgia you can't ignore. The best solution: Donate your goods to a place you have a connection with. When the grandfather of a friend of ours passed away last year, the family decided the best thing to do would be to give his clothes -- a closet full of salmon-colored sports coats, wing-collared dress shirts, and silky cashmere sweaters (some pretty nice stuff, in the right guy's wardrobe) -- back to the community he wore them in. The JCC Thrift Store accepts donations on site, during business hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Make sure you ask for a receipt when you make your donation; the dollar value can be deducted from your income taxes.
You've not had a true subtropical experience until you've straddled the nine-horsepower Derbi GP1 scooter while zooming down A1A. You can feel the humid air shimmering past your skin and see the bugs splattering on the little windshield. You can stop on a dime and park just about anywhere you like. In fact, you can rule the road knowing that you're riding one of the most energy-efficient vehicles on asphalt. But where do you find such an experience? Start at this scooter emporium, just south of I-595 in Davie. You can put down several grand on a speed-demon Derbi, or you can go with the more conservative Qingqi QM50QT-6. Best yet, at Scooters Mania, you can give the two-wheeled life a test run. Scooter rentals are $75 to $95 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or $105 to $125 for 24 hours. All rentals include helmets.
Funny thing about tattoos is that times and trends tend to change. The tribals, Chinese letters, and that delightful little butterfly right below the waistline may all be cute and trendy right now, but imagine what it's going to be like in 50 years, when today's young adults become tomorrow's senior citizens. Everyone's grandfather is going to be sporting sweet tribal armbands while the butterfly that Grandma thought was a bitchin' idea back in spring break '99 is going to resemble a pterodactyl. Lower-back tattoos will become as common among the elderly as the name Gertrude is today. Picking a tattoo isn't like picking a career or a spouse -- it's a lifelong commitment. So where to have the work done is just as important as what you're getting. There are literally hundreds of places to get ink down here, but with competitively priced tattoos starting at $50, an ultraclean studio open seven days a week, and, most important, two very good artists with nearly 20 years' experience between them, Electrik Krayon is the perfect place to get that ultra-original, barbed-wire tattoo you'll be showing the grandkids... poseur.
The Elite Group
Do you want to eat, or do you want to get your hair done? Either way, you're in the right place. The Elite Group will hook you up with wine, soda, coffee, bagels, and -- oh yeah! -- a haircut! Or color! Or highlights! Or makeup from its cosmetic line. Both the stylists and clients range from chi-chi Las Olas grand dames to punk-chic, high-fashion, alternative mamas. A cut for chicks is $50, and one for guys is $30. Oh you want your hair dry? Another 30 beans, please. Tell 'em we sent you, and make sure to get one of those orgasmic head massages from Krystal.
Whether it's the basics you need or to cut corners on household expenses, Just 99 carries an impressive supply of groceries, cleaning products, knickknacks, and useful life accessories all for the slightest expenditure of the green. Taking the kids to the beach? This store has plastic shovels, goggles and snorkels, and paddle games to make the day. The grocery aisles offer juice, canned goods, and an array of spices, all for the most attainable level of greenbacks. In addition, it's a good place to save on those little extras that you need around the house, like night-lights, bungee cords, fabric softener, hangers, and picture frames. Sometimes you just don't need to spend more. There's even one 99-cent investment that will help pass on the penny-pinching ethic to the next generation: big plastic piggy banks that end up paying for themselves.
In 1994, Carl "Marty" Gouveia suffered the loss of three fingers on his dominant right hand to a car accident. How did he channel his frustration? By swinging a chain saw around. A 1985 graduate of the Fort Lauderdale Institute of Art and a third-generation sign-painting artist, "Mad Marty" shifted his focus. Sure, he kept on painting billboards, motorcycles, and surfboards, but he discovered a knack for sculpting tiki-style totem poles. Carved out of palm wood and sealed for protection against the elements, the tikis come in three-foot to six-foot sizes. Eyes? Choose "squint" or "alien" style. Teeth? Choose "fang" or "square." As Marty is fond of saying, "Art is not a thing. It is a way... I hope you enjoy, and God bless."

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