Top 10 bike shops in the Twin Cities
The Hub Bike Co-Op
Knowing the choice bike shops during 30 Days of Biking is like knowing where the emergency exits are on an airplane. In order to get the most out of your bike, you need to know where to get repairs, where to get a beautiful dose of espresso, and, most importantly, where to party. Here are the Twin Cities' 10 best bike shops.
30 Days of Biking kicks off Saturday
Freewheel Midtown Bike Center
(2834 10th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.238.4447; freewheelbike.com)
Nestled on the Greenway, with coffee and savory scones aplenty, Freewheel is a cultural hotspot. As one of Minneapolis's busiest, most important bike paths, much goes down here, from the Winter Bike Expo to Powderhorn 24. Fuel up before a jaunt to Lake Calhoun, or change out of your sweaty duds in the locker room. Wash your bike in the shower stall, or use the fix-it station to make adjustments. Best of all, Freewheel's vibe is always friendly -- the antithesis of the surly bike shop stereotype. It's hard to choose a between the Cedar and Midtown shops, but Midtown is probably our fave.
One on One Bike Shop (OOOBS)
(117 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.371.9565; www.oneononebike.com)
When people talk of a bike shop that defines a city, they're wishing for an LBS like One On One. Situated in North Loop near a plethora of strip clubs and sex shops, OOOBS is legendary. All the major Minneapolis bike parties started or happen here, including ARTCRANK and the Stupor Bowl. Two Minneapolis bicycling bigwigs, Gene Oberpriller and Hurl Everstone, work in the liquor-bottle-lined workshop every day, doling repairs out for a dollar a minute. You can also get great coffee at OOOBS, and good soup (there are new bowls daily). Another bonus: Handsome Cycles just moved in next door.
Cycles for Change
(712 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.222.2080; www.cyclesforchange.org)
This not-for-profit bike shop, located in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, works to make bicycling welcoming by selling refurbished rides at low cost, and by offering bicycle maintenance classes. Formerly known as the Sibley Bike Depot, it's run by volunteers who will teach you to fix your bike by yourself, and give you the space to do it. The thrust of CFC is empowerment and independence. Kids from the neighborhood can even repair bikes there to eventually earn a bike of their own.
Omnium Bike Shop
(520 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651.224.2432; www.omniumbikeshop.com)
Located in St. Paul's Cathedral Hill neighborhood, Omnium Bike Shop follows a three-point mission: living it, loving it, sharing it. That means the shop staffs cyclists who live the #bikelife wholeheartedly, spreading bike love in a welcoming way while helping to maintain the Twin Cities' vibrant, cohesive bicycling community (i.e. throwing barbecues and bashes). Being "omnium" means being the best, and according to the website, OBS aims to do that by being "the most approachable bike shop in the Twin Cities." Like ACF, Omnium has a kickass design sense. It's also the most social media-engaged of the shops on our list.
(4208 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.722.1538; www.angrycatfishbicycle.com)
Right off Hiawatha, near the heavenly pastries of A Baker's Wife, is Angry Catfish, the shop on this list that -- with its refined tastes and immaculate sensibility -- best fits the word "hipster," awesomely so. Its Intelligentsia coffee -- brewed via airpot, pour over, chemex, syphon, or French Press -- is delicious, and its clothing and bikes are high-end. Slip on a new pair of Rapha commuter pants, then pinky-sip a Cortado as you browse the Civias, Surlies, and Colnagos.
Recovery Bike Shop
(2555 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.876.5356; recoverybikeshop.com)
This northeast Minneapolis shop has a great story. Founder Brent Fuqua, struggling with addiction in 2008, found that fixing bikes helped him heal: "I'm just going to focus right now on taking care of this one bike," he recounts via Recovery's website, "and do that well. When I am accomplishing that, I will branch out from there." That thought birthed Recovery, which became a center for Fuqua's brothers in recovery. Now, in a space next to a great Northeast co-op, the shop has a wide variety of spruced-up bicycles for sale, and continues to fulfill its mission: "Helping our friends enjoy their bikes."
Lowertown Bike Shop
(253 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651.222.0775; www.lowertownbikeshop.com)
A new addition to St. Paul's historic arts district, just a half-block from the farmers' market, Lowertown Bike Shop (LBS) is renowned for its excellent service and tremendous selection of revitalized bicycles, including road, touring, mountain, comfort, cross, cruisers, BMX, and more. According to its website, the shop dedicates itself "to finding and fitting each bicycle to meet your individual needs." Located in the Jax Building, a 104-year-old structure stocked with arts studios and a ballet academy, LBS is proof that bike culture and the bohemian life mix like PB & sriracha (delicious).
Alley Cat Cycles
(1621 Harmon Pl. #150, Minneapolis; 612.486.5807; www.alleycatcyclesloring.com)
Alley Cat Cycles, run by bike-shop veteran Cali Jirsa and bike-messenger-master Roger Koelker, presides over the Loring Park end of downtown Minneapolis, making it a perfect hangout and pit stop between Uptown and downtown. Come here to get expert repairs, to pick up a colorful Trash Bags Wastebasket (a.k.a. a fanny pack), and to chill out on the store's loading-dock deck, an overlook on Loring Alley. Afterward, you can roll out onto the Loring Greenway. Alley Cat will also custom-build a bike for you, with frames from Soma, Pake, and Surly, among others.
The Hub Bike Co-Op [Minnehaha Branch]
(3024 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.729.0437; www.thehubbikecoop.org)
Three stores make up this progressive, cooperatively owned chain. With a philosophy of providing "all types of bikes for all types of people," the Hub is democratically run. Its full-time employees all contribute to the shop's decision-making, and all earn a livable wage (enough to "own a home, feed a family, or travel the world," according to their website). Grease Rag, an open workshop for women/trans/femme cyclists, is a Hub mainstay, and the shop regularly provides maintenance classes. The Minnehaha Hub is a favorite, where second-hand bikes and parts are for sale.
(1938 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651.699.2640; www.gpbicycles.com)
An old-fashioned bike shop near St. Thomas University and Macalester College, just a few blocks from East River Road, Grand Performance appeals to the Twin Cities' high-end roadie crowd. If you walk into GP in the evening, it's likely you'll enter a post-race celebration. The shop stocks Bianchi, Basso, Colnago, and Pinarello brands, among others, but stresses that names don't make a bike special. It's the "fit, performance, and quality. That's why we're a dealer for an almost endless list of bike companies," they state via their website.
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