There are a number of fantastic bike shops I have seen in my time, with great locations including Perth, Melbourne, Vancouver, Stockholm….and now London.
What makes a good bike shop? Well, the people there have to genuinely love bikes. They often have some sort of punk, rockabilly style to them. They have to not really be making much money, being less ‘successful’ than they should be because they’re more interested in being nice, or riding! And, their roots and organisational structure make a difference: is it just a couple of guys hacking away fixing their friend’s & communities bikes, or even better, are they a worker’s cooperative?!
So here’s my provisional top ten list:
1. Brixton Cycles, London. They have ‘Surly‘ bike frames in stock! They are also a skate shop. They are a worker’s owned cooperative. They have a SICK skatepark just next door – all bowls and smooth transtisitions for old-school styling. Early morning sessions in this place may be my best substitute for surfing in London.
2. Sögreni in Copenhagen. Wow. It was a spiritual experience when I stumbled across this shop in Copenhagen. A beautiful mix of award-winning Danish design. All their bikes seem to be for the city, with sleek looks and a lot of creatively recycled parts (who would have thought you could turn bottle cages into a child seat?!). And the best part? When asked about the philosophy behind the designs, the owner listed off a few principles, including one that ‘does not translate well into English’: it literally means “shortness of possibliities, learn a woman to purr”….what more can I say ; )
3. Dr Spoke, Stockholm. Probably grumpy punk guys, but that’s cool. They seem to run great events, are in the uber-cool Sodermalm area.
4. FIX Bikes, Perth. I worked there! Tony was a rockabilly.
5. A number of shops in Melbourne. I can’t remember all their names, but one seemed to exclusively stock street/dirt hardtails – was it Pushi?! The other one I bought an expensive chain from en-route to Wildside in Tasmania, though restrained myself from buying a beautiful woolen cycling jersey.
6. Cheeky Monkey in Sydney. I have never been there, but it looks great. The right mix of madness & at the same time serving the needs of the everyday commuters.
I’m sure there will be additions to this list, have you got any?
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