It will save you money and get you into shape – what better time than the beginning of the new year to take up cycling?
Sure, it's cold out, but the pros at , at 560 Vanderbilt Avenue, will help outfit you with the best bike equipment for your needs.
Two years old now, the store is the brainchild of Brian Gluck, who took over and renovated the previous bike shop that occupied the building. With an unfinished floor and particleboard walls, the shop looks like the cool garage you always wanted, but could never have in the city. The proximity to Prospect Park helps business, and today they have "a great local fanbase," according to manager Ron Perriera.
"Our whole thing is same day service. We love to see people riding bikes and want to get them back on the road," he says.
Perriera himself has been immersed in bike culture for the past 10 years, a spark that started when he lived in Toronto.
He says that the shop aims to serve "the every day commuters," and they stock mostly recycled bikes, in the price range of $250 to $500. These are old steel bike frames that are fit with new cables, brake pads, tires, tubes, handlebars and grips. As for new bikes, they carry some by Torker, a Seattle brand, that run about $499.
According to Perriera, bikes have trend cycles just like anything else. Where previously mountain bikes and fixed gear bikes were in, now, he says, there is a return back to the classic three-speed bikes.
He advises his customers on how to best care for their bicycles – the recent storm brought in one customer who had left his bike out in the snow, and was dealing with some damage. Perriera advises riders to clean their bikes with WD-40 and a new rag, and to use a dry chain lube in the winter.
"Before the (winter) season is when you want to tune your bike up," he says.
At the shop, they promote safe riding, and taking steps to keep bike thieves at bay (their web site has a stolen bike registry).
"I'm a big advocate for helmets. Even if they're not required by law, it's the safest thing you can do," he says. At Brooklyn Bike and Board, he says, they stock "raised profile, urban and skateboard helmets."
As for storage – "Lock your wheels, your frames. Every day wheels and seats are stolen. Don't make your bike look too attractive (to thieves)."
And if you don't know what bike is the best fit for you, Perriera and his team will help guide you along. For this reporter, he suggested a three-speed women's frame with an upright seat ("So you can see over the handlebars," he said), at $350.
For those who are thinking about bike commuting as a way to ditch their , you may not be alone. Perriera says that after this summer's MTA service cuts, the shop saw a lot of new customers ready to trade the rails for handlebars.
"We saw that trend before; people will be riding more and more."