A great local bike shop is a gathering place. It draws together like-minded people into a congenial atmosphere where they can talk gear, get advice, plan rides or just chew the fat.
But an increasing number of shops are taking this idea to the next level. Not only will a friendly wrench fix your bike, he or she might even pull you a glass of the local microbrew or fix you a latte that puts Starbucks to shame.
Call it vertical integration or diversifying revenue streams or whatever you want: It’s good business. You don’t have to be a gearhead to walk into Velocity Bike & Bean in Florence, Ky., to name one example. In fact, you may just be there for your morning coffee or your Saturday night entertainment (they have live music).
This trend didn’t escape our notice when we published our reader-chosen list of the 50 best bike shops in America last week. A solid dozen fell into this hybrid category, and that doesn’t even count the shops where staff are known to toss the occasional beer from the fridge.
Here are the twelve that made the list:
Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair (Hood River, Ore.)
Bike and beer culture are both strong in the Pacific Northwest, and they come together at Dirty Fingers, which has several local IPAs on tap and an unbeatable happy hour: $3 pints between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. “Really it’s what keeps us from killing you all,” the website says.
Ride Studio Café (Lexington, Mass.)
This Boston-area shop is equal parts bike shop and full-service cafe, and it serves up a killer cold brew.
Angry Catfish (Minneapolis, Minn.)
You can have a coffee date at this Minneapolis shop, which has a cozy atmosphere and serves quality-brewed Intelligentsia coffee.
One on One Bicycle Studio (Minneapolis, Minn.)
What’s it with Minneapolis and coffee? One on One is cafe in front, party in the back—and by party, we mean bike shop. The cafe also sells a selection of soups and sandwiches, and the shop itself doubles as an art gallery/taxidermy display.
River City Bicycles (Portland, Ore.)
Portland’s biggest bike shop also has an espresso bar for perking up while you shop or wait for your tune-up.
Chile Pepper Bike Shop (Moab, Utah)
Chile Pepper serves locally roasted espresso from Fresh Moab Coffee.
Velo Cult (Portland, Ore.)
This Portland shop is a Pacific Northwest dream come to life: It has a full-service coffee shop and 12-tap bar (only craft beers), not to mention an impressive bottle and can list.
Fitzgerald’s Bicycles (Victor, Idaho)
Fitzgerald’s houses The Nine Bar, which serves organic, locally-crafted joe and gluten-free baked goods.
Mellow Johnny's (Austin, Texas)
Lance’s bike shop is home to Juan Pelota Cafe, a downtown favorite and the meeting spot for the shop’s group rides.
Velocity Bike & Bean (Florence, Ky.)
Velocity is a local cultural hub: It’s a bike shop, cafe, bookshop and music venue rolled into one friendly business.
Bike & Bean (Sedona, Ariz.)
Billing itself “the original bike shop-coffee shop,” Bike & Bean is one of this scenic Arizona town’s favorite cafes.
The Hub & Pisgah Tavern (Brevard, N.C.)
Located at the gateway to Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, N.C., The Hub bike shop has within its walls the Pisgah Tavern, which has been a local watering hole (independent of the The Hub) since the 1940s.