I am grateful to live in a town that has several great bike shops. I don’t use the term “great” lightly. What makes them great are the fundamentals. They have a service shop that can do some of the more skillful tasks that I either don’t have the tools, knowledge, patience, or skill to pull off. Usually it involves things like wheel truing. The shops carry a good selection of the essentials – lights, tires, tubes, parts, and accessories. My clothing purchases are pretty sparse, but they all have great selections there, too.
What makes the shops really great is the supportive attitude. When you get a repair, you get advice on how to do it yourself if you were ever stuck out on the road without assistance. They are willing to look through their own stash of spare parts to help replace that strange bolt that came as part of your bike 10 years ago, but is no longer order-able. You need to remember that before I bought Hidalgo, the all carbon road bike, my bikes were vintage circa 1969 and 1987, so this is very important to me. Like a lot of shops, they are run by cyclists for cyclists.
With that foundation, let me first give a shout out to Bicycle Garage Indy [http://bgindy.com/ ]. In 1987, I bought my Trek 410T from them. After towing my son around part of the Hoosier Hills Tour on my Raleigh, I was starting to lust for some lower gears than the 10 speed offered. The Trek had a triple gear on the front crank – aka a “granny gear”. This would make it easier to climb the hills on the next Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, IN. that coming fall. The next year, my wife got an identical Trek, but in a smaller frame. We rode our Treks together shortly afterwards in the Hilly Hundred. Over the next 25 years they were my primary bike shop. Besides being a great service and support center, they were also supportive of the larger bicycle community. They were regular sponsors of events, kept a booth at the Hilly Hundred, and eager to advertise upcoming rides. I need to cash in my frequent user card before I leave the area!
The Lone Rider