With over 5,300 specialty bike stores in the US, chances are there’s one near you. But if you aren’t a cyclist, how do you know where to go? Try the National Bicycle Dealers Association (www.nbda.com) to find a store in your area, contact a local cycling club, or break out that big yellow book. In the end, nothing beats a first hand experience. Head on in and check the place out. Staff should make you feel welcomed and ask you specific questions to determine your needs. Here’s what to expect:
1. Trained professionals will help you choose the right bike based on your body measurements, cycling needs, and budget.
2. Skilled mechanics provide professional assembly, tune-up and safety check of your bike (often at no extra charge.)
3. Knowledgeable staff assist you in making sound choices on quality equipment and accessories, and advise you on how to use and care for the items.
4. Because they practice what they preach, staff can often offer information about local routes, and possibly introduce you to a cycling partner. Many shops host clinics and special cycling events too.
5. Shops usually offer discounts when you purchase all of your cycling needs from one store. Unhappy with an item? Specialty shops are known for their excellent return/exchange programs, and ability to special order items.