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Bicycle shops of the past: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

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Bicycle shops of the past: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Old 12-31-04, 07:07 PM
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trackhub
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Bicycle shops of the past: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

A final posting from me on the final night of 2004. Name some bike shops of the past, for your given area. Talk about good ones, bad ones, or the ones you fondly remember.

Boston area:

Laughing Alley: Actually, a decent shop, located in Allston. I bought a Trek 560 there, in early 1985.
No one seems to know what caused them to vanish. I heard it was just a matter of not paying their bills for too long, and the creditors shutting them down. Anyone know anything?

A Worthy Bicycle: There were two, one in Waltham, another in yuppie newtonville. It should have been called "A worthless Bicycle shop". Sort of like the bike department at K-Mart, Their "trained mechanics" used automotive tools and WD-40, and not much else.

Waltham Bargain Center: Take a walk into the back room, where all the work was done. Smell familiar? Yes indeed, that would be stale booze and cigarette smoke. Gone and forgotten, and that's a good thing.

Hi Roads: Warehouse store marketing applied to bicycle shops. Famous for the "indoor test riding track, where you can test ride your bike in safety and comfort". Their "knowledgable staff" suffered a huge turnover problem. Bad idea.

Lincoln Guide Service: I miss this one. It closed in January of 2000 I think. The owner even welcomed cyclists who just felt like a "stop and talk" time on Sunday afternoons. What I heard: The owner literally owned the building and land it sat on outright. It was worth a lot, and he was given an offer for it that he could not refuse, as he had been thinking about retirement. Alas.
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Old 12-31-04, 11:46 PM
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Years ago There used to be a shop down in Sandwich on cape cod. I think it Was just called True Wheels. Does it still exist?
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Old 01-03-05, 11:45 AM
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I'm from the Atlanta area but about fifteen years ago when I went to LA on business you could visit Two Wheel Transit (I think that was the name) in Huntington Beach, Performance, Supergo and another big store I can't remember the name of....all in five minute drive. It was way cool. Alas, they did not all survive.
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Old 01-03-05, 01:13 PM
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Tumbleweed Cyclery in Chapel Hill, NC was a neat place. I guess small shops are hard to keep afloat.
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Old 01-03-05, 01:36 PM
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Covebike - not really local but about as hardcore as you could get. At any time you could walk in and see a pro hanging out. All of the newest bikes hanging on the roof, place was always slightly disheveled and the smell of bike lubes and greases permeated the through the building. The riders all rode, if they talked they could walk it to.

dizzy cycles - likely the polar opposite of cove. The riders all still rode, but this place has the atmosphere of clean. Everything is bright and colourful. The sales people are sales people, you don't have to hunt them down.

John Henry - The wallmart of bikes for bc. They have everything and everything on display. First time I saw a rohollf ripped apart. Big, bright, every kind of bike under the sun.

Really I don't shop locally, to expensive, but if I do go to a lbs it is 3 hours away in vancouver and above are 3 of them.
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Old 01-03-05, 02:01 PM
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About 20 years ago or so I lived just outside Montclair NJ for a while. I remember a couple of old style shops in that area that were really cool. I can't recall their names, but their images will always pop into my mind whenever someone mentions bike shops. They were small, with wooden floors and glass cases under the cash register where the shiny Campy parts (that I could never afford) were displayed. Packed with bikes on either side of the store and smelling of rubber, grease & chain lube. They were great.
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Old 05-06-18, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
A final posting from me on the final night of 2004. Name some bike shops of the past, for your given area. Talk about good ones, bad ones, or the ones you fondly remember.

Boston area:

Laughing Alley: Actually, a decent shop, located in Allston. I bought a Trek 560 there, in early 1985.
No one seems to know what caused them to vanish. I heard it was just a matter of not paying their bills for too long, and the creditors shutting them down. Anyone know anything?

A Worthy Bicycle: There were two, one in Waltham, another in yuppie newtonville. It should have been called "A worthless Bicycle shop". Sort of like the bike department at K-Mart, Their "trained mechanics" used automotive tools and WD-40, and not much else.

Waltham Bargain Center: Take a walk into the back room, where all the work was done. Smell familiar? Yes indeed, that would be stale booze and cigarette smoke. Gone and forgotten, and that's a good thing.

Hi Roads: Warehouse store marketing applied to bicycle shops. Famous for the "indoor test riding track, where you can test ride your bike in safety and comfort". Their "knowledgable staff" suffered a huge turnover problem. Bad idea.

Lincoln Guide Service: I miss this one. It closed in January of 2000 I think. The owner even welcomed cyclists who just felt like a "stop and talk" time on Sunday afternoons. What I heard: The owner literally owned the building and land it sat on outright. It was worth a lot, and he was given an offer for it that he could not refuse, as he had been thinking about retirement. Alas.
the alley was my uncles shop I loved going there to visit got to ride whatever I could I think I may still have a t shirt somewhere around in the attic. And I know more then a couple of my bikes came from there. It was nice growing up with access like that.
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Old 05-06-18, 11:50 AM
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Eddie Bicycle in Québec.
The best in my book.
They don't treat newbie questions likw newbie questions.
They don't sell junk and their prices are practically the same as on the Net.
We get along great.
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Old 05-06-18, 02:49 PM
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Only One here, they do what they can, summer Sales have to carry over the costs of staying open the other 3 seasons.
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Old 05-06-18, 04:08 PM
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Zombie thread.

Il Vecchio, Seattle. I miss George.
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Old 05-06-18, 08:47 PM
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The shop I worked in in high school: Racine Cyclery. Was pretty much a straight Schwinn and Raleigh shop in the 70s. Started by Jerry Oksiuta and his wife Marge. Jerry was a US Marine veteran of the Pacific Theatre in WWII. More wonderful people it would be hard to find. They hired, trained, and positively influence a lot of young men. After their retirement one of their sons ran it with his wife and son for many years, and it did well and survived well into the age of internet shopping, but its hard to compete with tax-free shopping when your customers have to pay a high (Wisconsin) sales tax.

A big regret in my life was not recognizing all of the people in my life who were real gems, and who helped me a lot. I'd give an awful lot to have a ten minute conversation to Marge and Jerry, to thank them.
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Old 05-07-18, 12:55 AM
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Bike Surgeon Carbondale IL. Was a must stop at TransAmerica bike route. Cool enough for Billy Gibbons to hang out at when he was in town. The bike shop sold and lives on in another location but...
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Old 05-08-18, 05:41 AM
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Two Wheel Travel in Richmond, Virginia. Owners Dee and Kathy Whittington introduced a lot of young men and women to serious mechanicking and did a good job of promoting the sport/hobby/pastime of cycling.
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Old 05-08-18, 06:12 AM
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The Bikesmith in New Orleans. I worked there throughout college. It was a fine shop back in the day and sold a variety of bikes over the years, but was primarily a peugeot shop. It was a bit of a throwback to the 60s.
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Old 05-08-18, 06:20 AM
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Pittsburgh, Pa.

This is a really old post...but oh well, what the hell.

Kraynicks in Pittsburgh, Pa. The old timer sold it and retired last fall but the new owner seems okay. We'll find out. At first look the shop appeared a messy disaster but the old guy new where everything was. And he had everything and anything.
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Old 05-08-18, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Two Wheel Travel in Richmond, Virginia. Owners Dee and Kathy Whittington introduced a lot of young men and women to serious mechanicking and did a good job of promoting the sport/hobby/pastime of cycling.
Turns out a former co-worker, Dale Peacock, was in possession of one of the store signs and he passed away recently. I was at the funeral and his brother asked me if I wanted it. Hell, yes. Here it is after being dragged home from Dale's place where it had gotten severely weathered and faded after sitting outside, neglected for years. One heavy coat of polyurethane to help forestall further deterioration and more to come, then I'll mount it on the garage wall.
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Old 05-08-18, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
The Bikesmith in New Orleans. I worked there throughout college. It was a fine shop back in the day and sold a variety of bikes over the years, but was primarily a peugeot shop. It was a bit of a throwback to the 60s.
That's good to know. The Bikesmith is still around, though I haven't taken the opportunity to visit yet. I'll have to get over there one of these days.
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Old 05-08-18, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Jadesfire View Post
That's good to know. The Bikesmith is still around, though I haven't taken the opportunity to visit yet. I'll have to get over there one of these days.
It's a different store. The old bikesmith went bankrupt which is where I picked up a ton of older parts . . . .
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Old 05-08-18, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
It's a different store. The old bikesmith went bankrupt which is where I picked up a ton of older parts . . . .
Oh. Well dang it.
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
Everyone thinks they have had a long strange trip, until they look at other folks' journeys. Then they realize everyone has had a long strange trip, just using different modes of transportation.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
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Old 12-23-18, 09:22 AM
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Somehow I stumbled across this post searching for Tumbleweed Cyclery. I find it highly amusing that I have worked for two of the shops in here - The Bikesmith (somewhere I have a photo of me with the "mobile bike shop" we used to take all over New Orleans doing house calls) and Tumbleweed. While The Bikesmith was able to handle high-end racers' repair needs but I was more proud of being able to fix the locals' bicycles for cheap. Located where it was it was important to have a good relationship with the neighborhood and I like to think we did just that, even though the owner was rather a cheapskate at times (sorry, Bill).

I worked at Tumbleweed at rather a hard time - when Performance had really established itself with not only online ordering but a local outlet where people picked up "seconds" and other marked-down merchandise and brought it to us to install. The owner couldn't really match prices with them so we were sort of stuck in a hard place - there was another shop in Carrboro that seemed to draw most of the students, Performance handled much of the parts, accessories and clothing (essential to sell if you wanted to stay in business with the miserable markups on new bikes) and we catered to the racers and others needing quality repairs.

But I wouldn't trade those experiences for all the money in the world.

Bret
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Old 12-23-18, 09:49 AM
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Welcome to Bike Forums, breth.
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Old 12-23-18, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mattbur View Post
This is a really old post...but oh well, what the hell.

Kraynicks in Pittsburgh, Pa. The old timer sold it and retired last fall but the new owner seems okay. We'll find out. At first look the shop appeared a messy disaster but the old guy new where everything was. And he had everything and anything.
Just saw this. I used him a couple of times when I attended Pitt Law School. I lived just south of Bloomfield. Your description is accurate, but it was not off putting to me since the father of a neighborhood friend of mine in Philly owned a shop that was the same way.
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Old 12-25-18, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by breth View Post
I worked at Tumbleweed at rather a hard time - when Performance had really established itself with not only online ordering but a local outlet where people picked up "seconds" and other marked-down merchandise and brought it to us to install. The owner couldn't really match prices with them so we were sort of stuck in a hard place - there was another shop in Carrboro that seemed to draw most of the students, Performance handled much of the parts, accessories and clothing (essential to sell if you wanted to stay in business with the miserable markups on new bikes) and we catered to the racers and others needing quality repairs.
You and I might have met at Tumbleweed. I started repping in the late '80s and called on the shop right up until it closed. Owner Michael was a nice guy and I hope he went on to bigger and better things, but I saw a lot of shops come and others go (and some shops come and go) during my years on the road. I still have some of the oddball things I bought for my stash when the store closed down.



Oh, and I got that Two Wheel Travel sign installed on my garage, as planned.

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Old 12-26-18, 03:22 PM
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Al's Bike Shop in Cleveland Heights Ohio. Gone now but it was the first shop I worked in; that was back in 1975. It was just a couple of blocks down the street from my High School.

Al was a real character and knew his stuff too. I think he ran that shop for 30 or 40 years. He had everything, every obscure part, the works. He taught me how to assemble, tune, re-build, straighten frames, build wheels, repair flatted sew-ups, repair lawnmowers and over-haul Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hubs. Great shop and great memories.

Funny story:
Young fellow comes in and asks if we sell Robergel spokes, Al over-hears the conversation and I tell the young fellow (my age), yes we have Robergel's and pointed him to the unique triangular boxes of spokes. He says to me, "Your Robergels are more expensive than the other shop down the street". By this time Al had sauntered over as the young fellow picks up a box of spokes. Al says, "Well, why didn't you buy them at the other shop?" The young man turns to Al and replies, "Because they are out of the size I am looking for". Al then grabs the box of spokes from his hand and said, "So are we!".

Hahahaha....I think about that today and I still laugh out loud.
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Old 12-26-18, 08:17 PM
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There used to be lots of small bike shops around these parts in the 1980s, almost all have gone now. Like auto accessories shops, also all gone. Sign of the times.
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