What kind of bike shops run by bike bloggers would you visit?
Gene Bisbee of "Biking Bis" carries nothing but good ol' sturdy steel frame touring bicycles: Surly Long-Haul Truckers, Trek 520s, Koga Miyata and the less expensive Co-Motion bikes. He has an expert wheelbuilder on hand using Phil Wood hubs, Wheelsmith spokes and Mavic rims. Gene carries the full lines of Arkel and Ortlieb panniers. He and his family live behind the shop, and he posts his cell phone number on the front door.
Stevil Kinevil's shop in Sausalito carries Swobo bikes and clothing, along with a good collection of old records and cheap liquor. When Stevil isn't watching B movies on a cheap 19 inch TV with rabbit ear antennas, he's avoiding process servers and Marin County tax officials. Customers avoid sitting on the stained furniture.
BSNYC runs the Orange Julius Ironic Bike Collective, featuring Rock & Republic jeans and custom builds of Bianchi Pista track bikes. Orange shag carpet, a shrine to Elvis, and prominent disco mirror balls evoke a past that never was. To maintain his anonymity and attract more customers, the Bike Snob wears a Paris Hilton costume in the shop.
Elden Nelson's "Win Susan" bike shop carries a good collection of frames from Moots, Spot, Santa Cruz and Ibis along with moderately priced singlespeed 29ers. An LCD display in the front window shows Elden's daily weight. Elden joins you on the trail for your all day test ride as he explains why you must have that bike, you'll genuinely love handing Elden $4,000 for that bike because he'll personally visit your significant other to convince her why you need that new bike. Elden also carries the full line of Twin Six apparel.
Guitar Ted's imaginary bike shop isn't too hard, because his shop is real. G-Ted wrenches at a Trek dealership in Iowa. He loves 29ers. Mention 650 to him, though, and he'll throw you out of his shop into the icy, rutted streets of his hometown, though he'll do it with a friendly smile and offer you a drink afterwords.
Andy Singer's "NO EXIT" bike shop in St. Paul features used, refurbished steel bikes, along with a great collection of anti-car propoganda stickers, posters, flyers, leaflets and newsletters. The mechanic's area is strictly DIY and includes a collection of old political signs for you to recycle into fenders, chainguards, panniers, etc.
Cycle Dog's Bicycle Emporium in Oklahoma features fresh roasted coffee and an all you can eat Italian food buffet with autographed photos of Eddie Merckx, Fausto Coppi, and Greg LeMond lining the walls. You can't actually get your bike serviced there because the Cycle Dog spends all of his time building bikes for charity causes, and his service manager, Wally Crankset, is a nincompoop. The food and coffee, however, are excellent.
Which bike shop would you visit? I asked David Rowe this question -- Watch for his answer later today as we talk about his new book, The Ride of Your Life. Look in this space also for a chance to win his book.
IMPORTANT: Please post comments for this article at the new CYCLELICIOUS 2.0 version of this page.
I haven't made it (physically) to any of the shops mentioned, but one of my favorite places to shop online is with Stevil @ Swobo. I love the wool Bruno knickers and the wool Swobo base layers; I wear that stuff daily.