If you’ve spent more than five minutes total with me you know that I love cycling. It’s a bit of an obsession actually. Why did I choose such an obscure sport to sink my teeth into? I don’t know.
|My favorite rider (Dan Martin) winning my favorite race (Liege-Bastogne-Liege)
Image hosted by Wikimedia Commons
Cycling, though, has provided me with a way to stay “in shape” (I use the term loosely) but also have tons of fun while getting to build community with some really cool people. As a bike-commuting Realtor, recreational road rider, and father who carts his children by bike-trailer all over this great town, people often ask me, “What’s your favorite bike shop in Austin?” My response is multi-layered:
(Let me preface my response by stating that different bike shops typically cater to different types of riders (e.g. fixie riders, tourists, competitive racers, commuters, mountain bikers, cyclocrossers, etc.). Even though most shops don’t admit it, it’s obvious they do. So, my three favorite shops are my favorites depending on what my particular need is for that particular type of riding I’m needing assistance with. With that being said, my favorites, in no particular order, are:
Mellow Johnny’s (400 Nueces St) On any given Saturday morning at 8:00 A.M. you are sure to see dozens of Rapha-clad pedal-pushers sipping “spro” (espresso), getting in some last-minute breakfast calories, and dialing in the Madone before the weekend hammer sesh begins. (If any of that made sense to you, this is your shop) Seriously, I love this place for a few reasons.First, there’s an awesome cafe, Juan Pelota, connected to the shop that serves up Stumptown Coffee and local pastries. It’s an awesome place to hang out whether you’ve just returned from a 50-mile bike ride or you just want a fun place to read/work.Secondly, there is a host of group rides that leave from Mellow Johnny’s all throughout the week at various times and at almost any ability level. I tend the frequent the “Middle of the Road” ride (MOTR) on Saturday mornings, which leaves the shop at 8:30 A.M. Come join me! Just remember to wear a helmet.
|The Mellowest of Johnny’s (photo courtesy of The Active Times)|
Bicycle Sport Shop (517 South Lamar Blvd) I. Love. This. Shop. I can’t help it. Located at South Lamar and Barton Springs (right behind Peter Pan Mini-golf), this bike shop continues to draw me in with their ammmmmazing customer service. What I really love is that every section of the shop (helmets, bikes, shoes, clothing, maintenance, etc.) seems to have someone available who specializes in that area.Imagine you were looking for a new bike helmet. At most bike shops, you would walk in and a shop employee might eventually approach you and ask if you need help. You say, “Yes! I’m looking to buy a bike helmet.” Said employee would respond, “Well, the helmets are over there (points).” At Bicycle Sport Shop (BSS), however, you will most likely be greeted by someone within five seconds of walking in and asked if you need any assistance. When you say “I’m looking to buy a bike helmet.” the sales associate would probably say something like, “Great! Let me show you where our helmets are. Feel free to take a look at what we have while I go grab our helmet guy who can help you make the right decision.”What’s funny is that I’m not even sure BSS has a “helmet guy”. But every time I’m there, I have felt like I’m talking with the “wheel guy” or the “shoe girl” or the “helmet guy” or the “cycling cap guy” or the “accessories girl” when I’m looking for that particular product. They’re not the cheapest. But with service like this, I’m willing to throw down a little extra change for the expertise I have access to.
|Photo used by permission of Jonathan H Jackson Photography|
Ozone Bike Dept. (3202 Guadalupe St) I consider Ozone Bikes my “neighborhood bike shop”. It’s exactly two blocks away from my doorstep and I feel so lucky it is! I recently bought a bike from these guys (see pic below) and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the finished product! This shop can help you with your road, commuting, or mountain biking needs. The guys who work here are super laid back and I have often caught myself at the shop after-hours getting lost in a conversation with a mechanic or sales associate not realizing what time it was.What I’ve truly grown to admire is the level and quality of bike maintenance Ozone consistently provides. I’ve taken a few of my bikes in to a few different shops around town for annual tune-ups and Ozone does the best job, hands down, out of all of the shops I frequent. It’s funny; I told a friend recently that I’m 55% sure whoever works on my bike at Ozone is high when they are working on my bike. However, the job they do is always 55% better than anywhere else! Don’t let the beards and cargo shorts fool you. These guys know what they’re doing.
|Me and my boy, James, at Ozone after picking up my new steed.
Notice James is wearing neither a beard nor cargo shorts.
So, those are my faves! Again, there are so many great shops in Austin- almost too many to choose from! Feel free to take my picks with a grain of salt. If you’re a triathlete, I’m sure you’ll love other shops. If you’re into mountain biking only, you might prefer others. If you’re curious about which shop in this awesome town is right for you and your needs, shoot me an email! I’ll let you know quick-style!