BW Bike Issue: Shopaholic 

Finding the right bike shop for you

Dirt Dart

Patrick Sweeney

Dirt Dart

Finding the right bike shop requires experimenting, with the end result a personal, lifelong cycling Mecca. Every component of what makes a good shop, whether service, accessory options, brands or showroom spaceĀ­--all of that contributes to making a shop just right. Boise offers an abundance of shops flung far and wide. From miniature service-oriented shacks to mammoth retail space, your favorite ain't far.

Bicycle Mania

8305 W. State St., Boise, 208-853-0195, bicycle-mania.com

This State Street bastion offers a huge inventory, claiming the largest BMX stock of any retailer in the valley. Without any hard data available, shoppers will have to judge for themselves. It isn't all rock-hoppers at Bicycle Mania; it has street, cyclocross, commuters and touring rides as well.

Bike Touring News

3853 N. Garden Center Way, Boise, 208-941-6769,

store.biketouringnews.com

This shop is dedicated to promoting bike touring, as in the idea that your bike is the perfect vehicle for a getaway. With a service center in the retail location, the crew at Bike Touring News can help install new gear to make your trip a little easier.

Products are well built and top-of-the-line, and the shop does much of its business online, which means you don't actually have to leave your house to prepare to leave your house.

Bikes 2 Boards

3525 W. State St., Boise, 208-343-0208, bikes2boards.com

Innocuously situated across from Albertsons on State Street at 36th Street, Bikes 2 Boards has historically done two things: sell a large stock of bikes and more than one type of board.

"We do a lot of rentals, since we're right by the Veteran's Memorial Park," said owner Dave Barclay. The shop rents bicycles, snowboards and more for the intrepid recreationist.

"We're a full-service bike shop, too. We've started experimenting with wind, like kites and sails."

Bob's Bicycles

6681 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, 208-322-8042, bobs-bicycles.com

This Fairview Avenue bike shop offers clothing, accessories and a variety of bicycles to choose from.

"Earlier in the season, we do a lot more road bikes," said manager John Rieb. "As the season starts to get warmer, we do a lot more mountain bikes. Then, as soon as the first nice day starts, we start selling beach cruisers."

They also do bicycle fits to get the right ride. Rieb was quick to mention keeping safety first:

"We've sold a lot of helmets this year."

Boise Bicycle Project

1027 S. Lusk St., Boise, 208-429-6520, boisebicycleproject.org

If you need to cobble together a bike on the cheap, this is your nirvana. Big bins of sprockets, handlebars and cassettes offer a full spectrum of parts. Apron-clad experts are never far from a bike stand, happy to show a novice how to change a flat tire. As a nonprofit, the group is more about education and outreach than sales.

Cycle Learning Center at Boise State

1515 University Drive, Boise, 208-426-7433, rec.boisestate.edu/CLC

This arm of the Boise State Campus Recreation Department may not be a "shop" in the traditional sense of the word, but it aims to make cycling on campus and around Boise easier for the university's students. It offers some retail--flashy blue-and-orange cruisers for semester-long rentals--as well as a full-service bike shop for fixes. DIY tutorials are available, too.

Eastside Cycles

3121 S. Bown Way, Boise, 208-344-3005, rideeastside.com

Should a cyclist make a break for the almost-20-mile jaunt to Lucky Peak on soft pavement, Eastside Cycles at Bown Crossing is the final stop for eastbound cyclists in need of a fix.

"Whether they are commuters or more aggressive mountain bikers or road bikers, most of our customers are on their bikes multiple times per week," said owner Ryan Faber.

He said it's not uncommon for his most-avid riders to pop in regularly. The repair shop caters to both recreational and ardent cyclists.

"Most of our bikes we sell are not the ultra-Gucci high end, but they're the type that are going to be ridden a lot," he said.

George's Cycles

251 E. Front St. Ste. 100, Boise, 208-343-3782; 5515 W. State St., Boise208-853-1964;

10178 Fairview Ave., Boise,

208-884-3115,georgescycles.com

George's is the largest of the Boise-based bike shops, with three locations. Each has a large stock of cycles, as well as a repair shop. The techs at George's will swap any part or mend any injury to your prized steed. Best of all, purchase a part from the store and tell the pros to slap it on. For the fixed-gear fiend without shop skills, George's offers modded, garishly colored Bianchi and other brand-name rides with just a single cog wheel.

Idaho Mountain Touring

1310 W. Main St., Boise, 208-336-3854,

idahomountaintouring.com

According to the crew at IMT, they're mostly known for bikes, having slung outdoor cycles since 1984. The store features an expansive showroom, but bikes aren't the shop's only focus, so bear that in mind when browsing. That said, it offers a load of bikes and brands and plenty of knowledge on how best to ride Boise and beyond.

Joyride Cycles

1306 Alturas St., Boise, 208-947-0017, joyride-cycles.com

In the middle of Hyde Park, Joyride Cycles packs a lot of two-wheel wallop into a small shop. Staffers lead group rides, while the shop sports a repair shop and sells bikes both ritzy and affordable. Tucked behind Hyde Park Pub, the spot in the heart of the busy North End is the perfect reason to ditch the car when visiting.

Ken's Bicycle Warehouse

10470 W. Overland Road, Boise, 208-376-9240, kensbicyclewarehouse.com

Much more than a warehouse, this Overland Road bike shop is an oasis for the two-wheeled in a car-loving desert of suburbs and strip malls. Since 1979, Ken and crew have repped in the two-wheel world, offering up a full-service repair shop and an expansive offering of bikes.

McU Sports

822 W. Jefferson St., Boise,208-342-7734;

2314 N. Bogus Basin Road, Boise, 208-336-2300,mcusports.com

The downtown sports mainstay is actually new to bikes, having stuck to the best of snow sports in the past. But that's no reason to leave McU off your list. While it doesn't have an on-site bike shop at the Bogus Basin Road location, it does offer loads of cycling accessories. The downtown shop does boast a repair shop, as well as a selection of bikes for sale.

Meridian Cycles

830 N. Main St., Meridian, 208-884-1613, meridian-cycles.com

A full-service shop, a showroom replete with bikes and a whole section devoted to clothing and accessories make up the core of Meridian Cycles, wedged smack dab in the Meridian city center. Masi, Haro, Felt, Raleigh and more are featured brands at the shop, in road, touring and mountain varieties. Owner Paul McKenna and team offer help finding and fitting the perfect ride.

Reed Cycle and Ski

238 E. State St., Eagle, 208-938-7894, reed-cycle.com

Don't let the name fool you: Reed Cycle and Ski features far more bicycles than snow sports.

"We specialize in high-end mountain and road bikes with Yeti being our main brand for mountain bikes and Wilier for our road bikes," said staffer Keaton Keene. Situated in Eagle, Reed offers a whole host of cycling goodies.

Velomech

3883 N. Garden Center Way, Boise, 208-297-3229, velomech.net

Nestled in the nape of the 36th Street Garden Center and Bistro, the Velomech shop just off Hill Road makes it a smart stop off for the spandex-clad peloton often found pedaling its way through the North End.

"I would say our specialty is probably unique products, and real detail-oriented service," said owner Alan Klarc. "I'm basically a one-man show. I get a little help in the summer when things get busy." He's also working on creating his own Idaho brand bicycle, including fabricating a frame he designed and machined in the Gem State.

"There's a lot of guys who have some pretty trick bikes in this town, and they need a place that has a pretty trick mechanic."

World Cycle

180 N. Eighth St., Boise, 208-343-9130, worldcycleboise.com

It's the place to go for that $4,000 Gary Fisher you've been after. But thankfully, it has cheaper bikes for less-dedicated, less-maniacal riders as well.

"High-performance road and mountain bikes are kinda who we are," said owner Thomas Patek. At the shop, Patek and crew rep a showroom of bikes and a full-service shop.

"I think we're one of the only stores that's doing next-day service. We're open ... seven-to-seven, every day." :

Mobile Service

Dirt Dart

208-895-8000dirtdart.com

For the last 15 years, Steve Parrish has been keeping Boiseans rolling by taking his repair services on the road.

An accomplished bike racer himself, Parrish has been making the lives of bike riders easier by bringing the shop to them. From his van, Parrish can do everything from changing a blown-out tube in your flat tire to giving a bike a general inspection--he'll even do a complete overhaul of your busted up old ride.

Parrish also builds custom bikes for discerning riders, but be prepared to pay for your dream bike.

Mobile Bike

6138 N. Widgeon Way, Boise, 208-327-5555, mobilebike.com

Marty Wolford's Mobile Bike service is an intensive care unit for bicycles, be it a huge overhaul project or just an annual tune-up.

If you've ridden to the edges of town just to find your sprocket has disintegrated into a mass of metal filings, Wolford can rush out to pop open his mobile shop and fix that stubborn steed. He once saved a group of stranded ladies out on their weekly ride.

"They needed a new tire, so they were pretty happy," he said.

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