As the summer winds down in the rest of America, it's time to get ready for SF summer. And what better way to enjoy the weather by getting around on bicycle? But as you dust off your long-neglected ten-speed, you realize your gears are out of whack and you hate your handlebars. Or, worse, you don't even have a bike and want to buy one, fast. Where to go? Here's a quick look at seven of our favorite bike shops in the city.
1065 Valencia Street [Map]
With great prices for service, parts, and accessories, Valencia is a true community bike shop. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and completely unpretentious. Whether you're working on a conversion or just need a new helmet, the people at Valencia will tell you everything you need to know. With years of cycling and mechanical experience, the repair shop's manager, Michael, can guide you through almost any bike project from fixed gear to fully loaded touring.
Roaring Mouse Cycles
1352 Irving St [Map]
This small shop is often buried beneath the Sunset's fog bank, but owner Chris is both a rider with thousands of miles under him and a friendly mechanic who can help you troubleshoot any bicycle malady. Though the shop is tiny, it's well stocked and the only place in SF you can find certain specialty brands and items. Their focus is on road and mountain bike riders, but like any good community shop, the owner and his laid back staff will help anyone.
1920 Hayes Street [Map]
So you got a flat on your way to Golden Gate Park but forgot to bring your tools to fix it. Head over to Freewheel Hayes, the Panhandle's community shop. Unlike it's flashier cousin, Freewheel's retail shop in the Mission, Freewheel Hayes offers repair classes and a workshop for use by co-op members. But even if you aren't a member, store manager Travis will probably let you use the tools if you ask nicely. Note that they are closed Sunday and Monday.
Box Dog Bikes
494 14th Street [Map]
What used to be the mess of Ye Olde Bike Shop is now a beautifully re-done worker-owned collective. Another great community shop, Box Dog serves messengers, commuters, cyclists, and the serious tourer. The service isn't always perfect but they sell you what you need, not what drives their bottom line. The shop's communal repair area has a full set of tools for you to do all of your work right in the shop.
American Cyclery & American Cyclery Too
510 Frederick St [Map]
One of the best bike shops anywhere. It's pricier than the smaller community shops, but if you can't find it here, they can find it for you, tell you where to look, or special order it. And if it's that custom Waterford you desire, you'll find that the staff is just as excited as you are about your bicycle. American loves the steel.
Warm Planet Bikes
311 Townsend St. @ Caltrain [Map]
Anyone who's ever taken a bike on Caltrain knows it can be a nightmare, so when Warm Planet opened up with valet bike parking in the back of the shop, riding to and from Caltrain became a lot easier. The Warm Planet guys are friendly, efficient, and take good care of your bike while you slave away in your Peninsula office. Since your bike will sit there all day anyway, morning drop off/evening pick up is a great way to get repairs done. They have limited inventory, but they have a good variety of folding bikes for sale.
650 H Florida St [Map]
Nestled in the Inner Mission, Bike Kitchen is not really a bike shop. Instead, it's a community-focused resource center for cyclists who want to do-it-themselves. They offer bike maintenance classes and even an after-school program for neighborhood youth. Like Freewheel, using the tools means becoming a member, but Bike Kitchen offers a $5 single day membership if you just want to wrench on your bike and don't have the tools at home, or want advice from one of the knowledgeable volunteer mechanics.
Don't see your favorite on the list? Comment and let us know where you like to go!