Cheers To Some Of The Best Bike Shops

Riders share what keeps them coming back; it’s not supplies or new bikes.

Read the original article in Men's Journal.

Throughout the year, cyclists spend countless hours perusing local bike shops for the latest gear, repairs, and essentials like CO2 cartridges. From afar, the rider and bike shop relationship may seem strictly transactional, however, it often goes beyond dollars and cents. Some local bike shops serve as the meet-up or post-ride hang-out spot—like the bar in the sitcom Cheers. And, like the bar, there's always something that kept riders coming back.

For Jeremy Long, that shop is Hush Money Bikes in Lancaster, PA. "It's a bike shop that cares about growing the biking community and not just selling bikes. They [host] two events each year (The Hootenanny and Fall Fuck Around) that benefit local organizations. [Also], I bought my first "big boy" bike from them, and they didn't try to oversell me or sell me something I didn't need. I did not know much about cycling (still don't), and I never felt stupid for asking questions."

Across the country in Whitefish, MT, Great Northern Cycle and Ski, operated by a husband and wife team, is popular among locals like former professional cyclist Jessica Cerra. In addition to the shop supporting the area's largest gravel event—The Last Best Ride—they host free gravel clinics and foster community building and inclusion in everything they do. "It's not a business - it's a family," said Cerra.

Like all families, new people join from time to time, and this year, Treehouse Cyclery debuted in Denver, CO. The small woman-owned shop launched to fill a void that owner Alyssa Gonzalez could not fill at other shops. Gonzalez describes the shop as a "special place where [an] inclusive community is prioritized, and we work to create a more diverse and welcoming cycling space."

For some riders, specificity keeps them coming back. Cyclist Rachel Wills recommended Velosmith Bicycle Studio in Wilmette, IL, for its "attention to detail" and described the workers as "craftspeople who love what they do."

Like Wills, New York rider Joanna Prescott is particular about her favorite bike shop, Campus Wheel Works in Buffalo, NY. "They're welcoming to all, do a ton for the community, and they're just good people. I happily drive an hour to give them my business," said Prescott.

Cyclist and outdoor adventures Elizabeth Allen sticks with her shop, Saucon Valley Bikes in Hellertown, PA, because they "always treated me as a "real" cyclist, even at my fattest. [They] always have a great variety of gear for every season, a mix of sizes, and their mechanics are super knowledgeable and aren't condescending."

Finally, west coast cyclist Lani Woods recommends LA Bike Academy in Los Angeles, CA, as "one of the only spots in Central LA servicing $100 beach cruisers and $10K Pinarellos. The shop also offers an earn-a-bike program for the youth."

Many bike shops are the hub of their cycling community. Riders patronize these establishments not only for repairs and supplies but also for camaraderie and support. So even if everyone at the bike shop does not know your name, they're always glad that you came, and whether you ride a cruiser or a gravel bike when you can't ride, your troubles are all the same (sort of).

By Taneika Duhaney

Taneika Duhaney is a cycling enthusiast and lover of the outdoors. She can be found pushing anything from a 3T Racemax, Salsa Mamsita, or a Specialized Amira S-Works. For inspiration, Taneika enjoys pushing the pedals on rail trails, forest roads, and pavement. Her work has been published in multiple outlets, including Bicycling Magazine, Adventure Cycling, and Bikepacking. You can send Taneika tips or find her on Twitter or Instagram.