Most anyone who can ride on two wheels can tell you their favorite bike shop. In prepping and shopping for this weekend's big Bike MS: Sam's Club Round-Up Ride (aka, the MS 150), it seems I've heard raves about almost every one -- from tiny hipster outlets to big stores with enough flow to sponsor big rides. Some shops fully lived up to the hype, some were never open three times I tried to visit, and one had an employee (loose term) who actually yawned in my face and never stood up to show me to what I was asking for (apparently, pointing is very cycle-chic).
But there were more winners than non. More awesome and generous mechanics. More fanstastic customer service. And more chamois cream than I've wanted to know about. In alphabetical order ...
Bicycles Plus 7015 Snider Plaza #110, University Park, 214-363-2025 This is a no-pressure shop with a good supply of road, mountain, casual cruisers and everything in between. They also have the only pair of helmet-friendly sunglasses that don't make me look like an asshole, but I'm not to that level yet. The shop is set up a little oddly, so if you're just off a ride, the snacks are in the back. They support local group rides, and that's always a bonus. Also, really attractive employees. (There are multiple locations for Bicycles Plus, but this is the one I like best.)
Dallas Bike Works 4875 W. Lawther Drive, 214-343-2453 Located just off White Rock Lake -- like, literally -- this shop is a gem catering to those out on the path. Example: Last year we had a team member crash out on a training ride. He had no cash on him, but they picked him up, fixed his ride and let him return later to pay. SUCKERS! Kidding. Just last week, I called for a repair estimate and they gave me a "riding right now" versus a "can drop it off" ETA. Very helpful indeed, and it's nice to know you'll only be waiting if you aren't drenched in sweat and have a car ready outside. And it's a great place to browse when you're pissed off at your current bike.
Plano Cycling & Fitness 605 18th St, Plano, 972-423-4130 I'd never seen so much ball ... er, uh ... chamois cream. Then Rick, the shop owner who I'm convinced will remember my name next time because he called every other customer by theirs, recommended DZ Nuts because he'd just ridden 73 miles using it and was feeling great. I stopped guessing right then. My husband's gentlemen can let you know if the recommendation was solid after this weekend. Plano Cycling also has an impressive supply of apparel in all sizes (like, a FULL range of sizes). And the store offers a selection of bicycle fitting methods, including the Body Geometry Fit system out of the Boulder Center of Sports Medicine, which at this point in my training, I'm pretty sure might tell me I'm just broken. Still, it's a cool thing.
Playtri 6465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Ste. 350, 214-370-9010 Full disclosure: The Playtri name is on my team jersey. Fuller disclosurer: I only have a team jersey because I signed up, not because I'm good. That said, I wasn't familiar with them before going there to try on the brand of said jersey for size. And I found I liked their selection of accessories -- so, so many socks! -- and their starter kit offers. For not a ton of money, people looking to get into road biking can get a bike, helmet, pedals, shoes, shorts, etc. and get out there. The store's big draw are their workouts, many of which are triathlon-focused, but you can go with beginner rides, or drills, or whatever suits you. (Also with multiple locations.)
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Richardson Bike Mart 9040 Garland Road, 214-321-0705 Classic pick just a block off White Rock Lake and my long-time neighbors until recently. I still visit RBM not only because they've got a mechanic team that patiently and generously check out my ride when I'm paranoid, and who saved my ass on last year's MS 150, but also for their knowledgeable cast of characters who, in my case, assure you what you already have is just fine. With a few adjustments, Mark set up my bike so I didn't need to spend mad cash dollars on a new one. Jim has matched my sarcasm while talking me out of random upgrades I'm not ready for. A great selection for a small store; they make major use of their space. (Also with multiple locations.)
Transit Bicycle Company 1915 Greenville Ave., 214-219-2453 The first time I ever walked into Transit, I admit I expected an aloof, hipster experience ... so I wore skinny jeans. I was so wrong. We were welcomed warmly and enthusiastically by Sara; we were shown around and educated on the shop (formerly in West Village) and it's owner, Fran. And then we were shown the All-City bikes, which have now taken over my dreams. Space Horse, come to me. Transit also hosts social rides on Tuesdays, and they're active on Instagram, which is partially great, and partially torturous in terms of holding on to your paycheck.