Bicycles are a great way to explore the world, but finding a good bike shop to fix up your ride is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. While many big cities have a variety of bicycle shops offering different styles and brands, what you’ll find in smaller communities may be more limited. Fortunately, with some effort, you can still track down quality service near your home. If you’re looking for new bike stores near you or just need feedback on your current experience, try these tips:
1) Search Online
It’s easy enough to search for a “bike store ” along with the name of the nearest town or city. But try searching instead by the name of a local landmark especially one near where you live along with bicycles.
2) Get Involved with Local Government
The local chamber of commerce and city hall should be able to give you a list of bicycle stores and other businesses in your area. They may also have maps and information on community trails or events aimed at cyclists. You might even want to plan a leisurely ride through the area surrounding your home, stopping at all the bicycle stores along the way just to learn more about them. Once you narrow down your list, follow up with the stores either by phone or through their websites. If you can find recommendations on social media, so much the better.
3) Seek Out Personal Recommendations
Ask family and friends for recommendations on businesses they trust to service their bikes or sell them quality equipment. You might even ask about local shops that are good for picking up cycling gear during last-minute emergencies. Don’t forget to consult any social media accounts you may be following including Facebook groups of fellow cyclists in your area.
4) See What Others Have to Say Online
A simple Internet search will lead you to online forums filled with comments from people who have had first-hand experience with particular bike shops. Check out what kind of service customers received and how much they had to pay. If you can, try to get a feel for the overall atmosphere of their customer service and whether or not employees were knowledgeable about cycling.
5) Check out Unbiased Reviews
Sites like Yelp contain plenty of reviews from paying customers who have no vested interest in promoting or criticizing a bicycle shop’s services. Reviewers have simply been there and may have some great insider knowledge on what makes a good bike store tick.
6) Compare Pricing and Services
Once you’ve narrowed things down to a few shops, visit each one and lay down your bike for an inspection or new gear install then compare costs at each place. A wide range in pricing doesn’t necessarily mean that one location is ripping people off; if one store specializes in road bikes and another does mostly off-road mountain biking, you might expect to see some variance. Also, pay attention to what comes with the cost of repair including labor rates and any damage waivers or warranties on new gear.
7) See if They Offer Tune-Ups
Bike shops often offer tune-up packages that can help extend the life of your bike and keep it running smoothly for years. There may be a fee involved but these services might include things like brake adjustments, lubricating components, and tightening screws and bolts. You should also look into whether or not they supply replacement parts with these tune-ups as this is an indicator that they take pride in their work while saving you the future hassle.