Author Topic: touring shop in washington DC  (Read 4072 times)

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Offline bsweet

touring shop in washington DC
« on: March 12, 2011, 03:41:45 pm »
I'm looking for a bike store in either washington Dc or even better, in bethesda, MD that knows and understands touring bicycles/needs.
We're finishing up a coast to coast ride and then will fly to portugal to ride across europe.  We'd like a tune up/thorough going through before we cross the atlantic.
Thanks for the info.
Brian Sweet

Offline Tourista829

Re: touring shop in washington DC
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2011, 12:24:24 pm »
Brian, If I were in you shoes and needed to find information on a good bicycle shop in the DC area, I would contact a local bicycle club via email. Are you a member of ACO? I provided some info from the ACO Yellow Pages. (member only access)  Luckily there are several bicycle shops in Bethesda and if you go to Chevy Chase there is a good shop too.

Washington, D.C. AreaCity Bicycles
8401 Connecticut Avenue # 111,
Chevy Chase
(301) 652-1777

Bethesda AreaThe Bicycle Place
8313 Grubb Rd, Silver Spring
Bethesda, Md
(301) 588-6160

This is a list that ACO provides the following list under the state of Maryland

Annapolis Bicycle Club president@annapolisbicycleclub.
org, 410-544-0455, www.annapolisbicycleclub.
Baltimore Bicycling Club hotline@baltobikeclub.
org, 410-792-8308, www.baltimorebicyclingclub.
Frederick Pedalers Bicycling Club clubmail@,
Oxon Hill Bicycle & Trail Club info@ohbike.
Bob’s Bicycle Service 301-349-2453, www.
C&O Bicycle, 301-678-
Mount Airy Bicycles 410-489-4902, www.
Sweet Bicycles, 208-
Wheel Base Inc tompeperone@wheelbasebikes.
com, 301-663-9288,

Offline noshbygosh

Re: touring shop in washington DC
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2011, 03:26:30 pm »
I live in the DC area and know City Bikes and the Bicycle Place very well.  They are both very good.  I do not know however if I would go to either for a tune-up for a long distance self-contained tour.  I agree with the suggestion regarding contacting ACA and local bicycle groups.  Re the latter, I would get yourself on the email list for the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club.  This is I think the largest bicycle club in the country (about 3,000 people).  There are a number of folks there that subscribe to ACA's newsletter and do long-distance touring.  Re City Bikes, to their credit, they do sell Surly, and their mechanics are good (as is true for the Bicycle Place).  However, the vast, vast majority of their business is catered to commuters and recreational riders.

Two other places that might be worth a phone call (I have never used either) are:

One place out in the Maryland suburbs (about 20 minutes from Bethesda) that also may be of help is:  (Note:  the owner has a bad ego, but the shop does cater to a wide array of bicyclists).
Good luck.  I'd be interested in what you find out.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 03:28:52 pm by noshbygosh »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: touring shop in washington DC
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2011, 03:45:30 pm »
I'll mention the service I got a couple years back from the REI in Bailey's Crossroads (VA).  I had a broken Randonee frame, which they replaced under warranty.  They were going to give me an almost entirely new bike, but ended up  swapping over bars, stem, and shifters to give me the lower gears my older Randonee had (compared to the newer model).  What really impressed me, though, was the attention they gave the wheels.  Not a broken spoke in the ensuing 4,432 miles of heavily loaded touring, and they didn't even need truing until I hit Missoula (which ended up being a 10 minute job at Hellgate Cycles).

Offline jeff51

Re: touring shop in washington DC
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2011, 05:24:14 pm »
hi brian, i commute every day 22 miles bethesda-dc, and pass cycle life bikes twice each day, and the friendly and extremely knowledgable mechanics there are the commuters' best friends.  the store is about one block from the start of the c&o canal, and while they specialize in high end road bikes, they do sell a lot of commuting and touring machines.  when i break a chain on my recumbent, or the derailleur gets pulled toward the wheel, or i need a headset checked, i stop in to cycle life and they take care of the problem on the spot.  their outlook is, get the commuters back on the path, so they can get home.  highly recommend them.  and while they're in georgetown, their prices are great.

have a great trip,


Offline BrianW

Re: touring shop in washington DC
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 10:31:51 am »
College Park Bikes in College Park, Md., is pretty good from what I hear. Owned by the same guy (Larry Black) that owns Mt. Airy Cycles (the one suggested by another poster). They are big into tandems, recumbents, and other alternative bikes, which usually translates into being good with touring bikes, too. College Park is pretty close to Bethesda. There's also an REI in College Park, but on the outskirts near I-95. College Park Bikes is "downtown" near the University of Maryland.

Offline noshbygosh

Re: touring shop in washington DC
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2011, 11:21:24 pm »
I just bought my new road bike from Cycle Life.  They do sell a Soma frame, but I would not buy or bring in a touring bike for a long-distance self-guided tour from them.  Here was my two recent conversations there:

"I see you sell SOMA frames.  That comes highly recommended."  Store Rep 1:  "Yes, it's a great bike.  We can set you up with 32 spoke wheels.  Wouldn't that be great?"

Store Rep 2 (subsequent stop at the shop).  "Why would you want to buy a steel frame like a Soma?  It's too heavy.  Why not get a carbon cycle-cross bike and use a Bob Yak.  Next fall, there will be a whole slew of carbon cross-country bikes being sold that come with disc brakes."

Again, I really like Cycle Life.  I would not give them my business if I thought otherwise.  I also like City Bikes and The Bicycle Place and several other DC LBS mentioned in a prior message.  I am not sure however if I would rely on any of them to do a last minute tune-up on a touring bike before a long distance tour.  At a minimum, I would have detailed telephone conversations with the mechanics at the shops before arriving in DC.  Note:  depending on when you arrive in DC, you may need to schedule far in advance to get a mechanic to tune up your bike.

Finally, I also was going to recommend REI like another poster did, but was going to suggest the shop in Rockville since it's much easier to get to from Bethesda.  However, I had never used REI before for bicycling purchases/repairs so I could not vouch for what to expect.  I'd definitely make a call to the two shops in Rockville and Silver Spring, especially if the other LBS mentioned don't pan out.