For those of us passionate about cycling, our favorite shop is, above all, a sanctuary. The dinging bell on the front door is almost as sweet a memory as the one on our childhood bike. The gear inside could keep us occupied for hours and the crew is always there for a quick repair, full-scale remodel, or a chat about the latest goings-on in the local cycling community.
Approximately 4,100 local bike shops maintain a small, but prosperous subindustry in spite of big box stores. According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA), mass merchants sell 74 percent of bicycles in the U.S., but only make 30 percent of total industry profits. Smaller specialty stores only sell about 15 percent of all bicycles but make 52 percent of total industry profits. That's because smaller shops offer high-end gear, a better selection and top-notch services like fittings and repairs.
Life-long cyclists, triathletes and beginner riders flock to these local bike shops for personalization, expertise and quality gear. Big box stores simply can’t offer the experience that you’ll find at local cycling havens. Walmart doesn’t keep six beers on tap in their store, like the guys at The Hub. They won’t take the time to expertly fit the rider like the staff does at Fit Werx and they definitely don’t have a resort in their backyard like Bike & Bean does. It’s not hard to see why we love having these places around.
May is National Bike Month, so we’re honoring the shops that have helped us reach our riding potential and keep cycling to our heart’s content. We asked you to tell us about your favorite shops from every corner of the country and, after hearing from 2,950 of you, we ranked them once again.
Whether you’re a regular fixture at the counter of your local shop or you only stop in once in a while, everyone has a favorite place. See if your local shop made this year’s list and find out who made it to number one.
If we missed your favorite shop in the survey, let us know on Twitter: @theactivetimes, so we can include it next year.