Whether the best part of your day is getting to work on two wheels, you live for the thrill of speeding down singletrack in the middle of the woods or you spend all your free time on the road trying to get a little bit faster, your favorite bike shop is, above all, your sanctuary.
The dinging bell on the front door is almost as sweet a memory as the one on your childhood bike. The gear inside could keep you 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. Life-long cyclists, triathletes and beginner riders alike flock to 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.
Once again, we’re honoring the shops that help us reach our full riding potential and keep us cycling to our heart’s content. For our third annual ranking, we added 32 bike shops from seven different states to our existing list of 95 nominees. Then we turned to our readers to ask them which shops deserved to be included among America’s 50 best spot.
The response was impassioned—2,525 voters participated, with more than 1,000 cycling enthusiasts commenting in support of their local shops. From those votes, we compiled our ranking of the best bike shops in America.
Which state has the most spots on the list? Though they were down one shop from last year’s six shops, once again, Colorado led the slipstream. New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and North Carolina all had three spots in the top 50, but in a surprise surge, it was Georgia, with four spots, that took the second most spots on the list. An impressive move considering the state didn’t place at all last year. In another surprising development, California once again came in low on the rankings with just one shop making it into the top 50.
Who took the top spot? It was a triumphant return by our 2013 winner Fit Werx in Waitfield, Vermont and Peabody, Massachusetts. The shop unseated last year’s top shop Fair Wheel Bikes in Tucson, Arizona. What’s so special about Fit Werx? Who else placed? Which spots filled out the rest of the top ten? You’ll have to read on.
#50 Parvilla Cycle & Multisport—Edgewater, Md.
Not only was this bike shop a contender for our top 50 list, but it’s also currently nominated as one of the best pro road shops as part of the Interbike Awards. Clearly Parvilla has a loyal following and it’s not hard to see why. The Maryland-based shop is stocked with equipment and accessories ready to cater to a bike-owner’s every need and the team here builds custom bikes, provides expert fittings and even hosts a wide range of training classes and clinics.
#49 Hub Bicycle Co.—Cambridge, Mass.
This shop is well-known for expert repairs, top-notch service and community involvement (think monthly classes and an epic cycling club called Team Monster Truck)—a few of the key factors that the best bike shops share. One element that’s a little less common? Hub Bicycle Co. is “woman-owned,” with an emphasis on supporting women in cycling. The shop caters to all bike-lovers and advocates for safer streets and trail access, but there aren’t too many shops out there that give a special shout-out to the ladies.