Yes, the too-cool-for-school bike shop where no one will talk to you unless you come in on a vintage Italian racing bike or a fixie you built out of bamboo and scraps from the metalworking studio you interned at is a cliche. But, judging from the number of people who say they hate bike shops when you ask for recommendations, it’s also a real thing. For anyone who has ever paid for the privilege of being thrown shade, here are seven bikes shops that are baditude-free, friendly and stoked to help you find a new ride or tune up your wheels.
Bike Slug: This small, subterranean shop is by far my favorite service spot in BK. Not only are its employees super friendly, they are also honest. Case in point: When my bike seat got stolen last summer, I went to Bike Slug to see about getting a replacement. I was looking for something consistent with my 1963 Philips Cruiser, which was proving to be a harder find than I first thought. Rather than trying to just sell me something they had in stock, the guys at Bike Slug gave me some website suggestions for where I could find affordable, classic saddles instead. They will even lend you a bag of bike tools for you to make mini fixes yourself instead of paying for service fees (though I recommend them for anything more than a minor adjustment). As a bonus, Bike Slug is right next door to the English pub Black Swan, so you can grab a pint or a bite while you wait for your bike repair. The shop also offers a pretty sweet delivery service when you buy a new bike on their website. They assemble it for you, mail you keys to a new lock and give you directions to a predetermined location where they’ve locked up your new wheels. Your bike comes ready to ride and the $39 delivery fee includes the lock. Bike Slug, 1050 Bedford Ave. (between Lafayette Ave. & Clifton Pl.), Bed-Stuy, 718-247-7347 –Jordan Galloway
Bikesmith: I recently committed to taking a few lengthy rides this summer so I decided to get a faster, lighter bike than the Electra Townie I’ve been riding around for five years. When I went into Bikesmith on Grand Ave. in Williamsburg, where I’ve been going for tune-ups for the past year or so, they walked me through three or four options in my price range, let me take the bikes out for a spin, and enthusiastically explained all sorts of beginner stuff like, how are you really supposed to work your gears when riding up a big hill? And, how do you lock up a bike so it’s hard to steal? (No one steals a Townie–I’ve kept it locked up in front of my building in two different neighborhoods with no problems. Once I left it in front of Roebling Tea Room for a month.) There was no hard sell, just lots of help. When I stopped in a few weeks later with a friend who needed a new helmet, they gave my new bike a onceover and made a few adjustments on the spot. This is also one of the few bike shops in Brooklyn at which I’ve been helped by a female bike mechanic. Bikesmith, three locations, 667 Grand St., Williamsburg, 347-689-9929; 560 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights, 347-295-2339; 149 Smith St., Boerum Hill, 347-689-3345 –Annaliese Griffin
Ride Brooklyn: Years ago I lived in Portland, Ore., a town known for its craft beer, twee aesthetic and heinous bike snobbery. I took my decidedly not-cool bike to a shop near my house for regular tune-ups and repairs because it was convenient and because it was a worker-owned co-op, which I respected. These trips invariably included sighs, eyerolls and admonishments to learn to fix my bike myself, and generally put me off bike shop culture. When I decided to buy a new bike in Brooklyn a few years ago, I assumed I’d encounter more of the same, so it was to my great surprise and pleasure that my experience at Ride Brooklyn was completely fun and eyeroll-free. Ride carries a fairly large selection of brands including Cannondale, Electra, Linus, Diamondback and Schwinn, and they’re just as at home helping you pick out a zippy road bike for serious distance, as an everyday cruiser for navigating your neighborhood with ease. They’re also a complete repair shop and sponsors of Brooklyn Bike Park. Ride Brooklyn, two locations, 468 Bergen St., Park Slope, 347-599-1340, and 50 N 7th St., Williamsburg, 718-387-2453 –AG
Bicycle Station: Keep this place in mind next time you’re cruising along the bike paths on Flushing Ave. and get a flat. It’s really the only bike store along the waterfront from Williamsburg to Dumbo that doesn’t require much re-routing to get to. Located close by the BQE, on the corner of Park Ave. and Adelphi, Bicycle Station is owned and operated by Mike Rodriguez who has 30-plus years of experience repairing bikes. It’s not very often that you go to a bike shop and deal directly with its owner, but every time I’ve taken my bike to Bicycle Station, Rodriguez has handled my repairs himself. He’s a native Brooklynite who used to race bikes, and he takes a lot of pride in his products and repairs–he’s also very knowledgeable about bikes in general. I always feel comfortable taking my bike into his shop. His prices are very reasonable for repairs and his turn-around time is short. Bicycle Station, 171 Park Ave. (at Adelphi St.), Wallabout 718-638-0300 –JG
Harvest Cyclery–Bushwick: Yes, you can score a sweet vintage bike on Craigslist, but will it come with free tune-ups for three months? And, to really be real, was it stolen? Harvest Cyclery specializes in vintage bikes, from racers to cruisers, and while that might sound like code for “bike douchery,” we have it on good authority that that is not the case here. “Everyone I’ve met who works there qualifies as a bike nerd without being a bike snob,” says Emilie Ruscoe, BB contributor. “AJ (Nichols)…the owner, has put a lot of thought into how he wants to run the shop to make sure that it’s really accessible and helpful. It’s a fairly small-scale operation right now, but I’m pretty sure these guys have staying power.” Harvest is also a great choice if you bought a vintage bike somewhere and now need parts or repairs that you can’t do yourself or have left your usual bike mechanic scratching her head. Looking at you, vintage Raleigh owners with rod brakes. Harvest Cyclery, 606 Bushwick Ave., Bushwick, 929-234-5444 –AG
Red Lantern Bicycles: Whenever I ask any of my friends in Fort Greene for their favorite bike shop recommendation, the answer is always Red Lantern. I myself was always a Bespoke Bicycle type of girl, but sadly, my go-to spot in the neighborhood shuttered earlier this year. Having it on good authority that Red Lantern was an excellent alternative, I decided to check it out. This Myrtle Ave. spot is like the mullet of hipster hangouts–it’s all bike party in the back and coffee shop in the front. (They even make their own nut milks.) While I can definitely recommend both the lattes and the bike repairs at this place, I will say that it can take a while to get someone’s attention. Don’t take it as attitude though. The dudes (where are all our female fixers?) here are really nice, they just have a tendency to only focus on one customer at a time, which is not a bad thing. It just means you should plan to be patient and probably head somewhere else if you’re in a hurry. If you’re in the market for a new bike, Red Lantern has a pretty wide selection of styles and the shop recently became a dealer for Raleigh bikes, which are great options for commuters. They keep up with current bike trends and their inventory is reflective of that. These guys are serious bike enthusiasts–so much so that they even show the Tour de France in its entirety every summer. Red Lantern, 345 Myrtle Ave. (between Carlton Ave. & Adelphi St.), Fort Greene, 347-889-5338 –JG
Dog Day Cyclery: Another shop filled with bike nerds, not bike snobs. “Dog Day Cyclery is the best kind of bike shop–neighborhoody and friendly,” says Georgia Kral, a former neighbor. “Damian (Nesbit, the owner) is really knowledgable and will tell you and even show you what he’s doing to fix your bike. Knowledge is power and he likes to share it.” It’s also one of your best bets if you suddenly need bike help while riding on the Brooklyn Greenway along the waterfront, or get a flat on your way to Pok Pok. Dog Day Cyclery, 115 Van Brunt Street, Columbia Waterfront, 347-799-2739 –AG