- Michelle Craig
Editor's note: NUVO is celebrating bikes all week long. Find all our bike-related goodies here.
When you're buying a bike, you're also entering into a relationship with the shop — one that could turn out to be the longest, most fulfilling and, ultimately, the most expensive in your life. So what makes for a good shop? Just look for all the cyclists who stop by to chat when nothing's wrong with their bike. A mechanic who won't laugh at you while he fixes your maintenance mistakes is always a plus. (If it's especially heinous, be sure to tip with a six-pack of his favorite craft beer.)
Indianapolis is lucky to have dozens of great specialty shops throughout the metro area, including Motion Cycling in Fishers and Carmel's Nebo Ridge Bicycles.
Here are 10 of the most renowned inside Marion County:
Folks tooling around on the Monon often stop at Bike Line (both locations — Broad Ripple and Carmel — are right off the trail) to air up their tires or get help quieting that troubling squeak in their bottom bracket. But even experienced riders flock to Broad Ripple to have their bikes worked on by Shawn Ransford, a former Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army and now one of Indy's most detail-oriented wrenches. Inside the shop, you'll find all the gear you need for your road or mountain adventures.
6520 Cornell Ave. (Broad Ripple location), 317-253-2611, thebikeline.com
Indy Cycle Specialist
No one loves riding his bike more than ICS owner Scott Irons. Each day after closing up his Irvington shop, he heads down to any number of Hoosier trails, where he bombs down the singletrack through the night, aided by a couple of high-powered lights. There's no better trail resource in the state than Irons, and he's quick to share that knowledge with every one of his dirt-loving customers. ICS was also the winner of NUVO's 2015 Best of Indy award.
5804 East Washington St., 317-356-4585, indycyclespecialist.com
Bicycle Garage Indy at Bike Hub/City Market
Downtown commuters rely heavily on BGI's location in the Indy Bike Hub, getting their steed some TLC maintenance during the workday or buying a rain jacket right before an unexpected deluge. With two other locations in Indianapolis, BGI might have the largest combined inventory of bikes and parts, which is great if you absolutely need something today. Want to learn to do a repair yourself? The Bike Hub has lunch-and-learn and after-work seminars every month.
242 E. Market St., Ste. 101, 317-612-3099, bgindy.com
This Westside institution has been matching bikes and riders for nearly 50 years. Owner Chris Wiggins is a vocal proponent for cycling safety and serves on IndyCog's board of directors. The shop also doubles as a concert venue and film hall; A1 holds special events nearly every month at no or little charge to the public.
6847 W. Washington St., 317-241-4660, a1cyclery.com
Veloworks Urban Cyclery
Cyclists love to hang out, so it was only a matter of time before a bike shop built their own coffee counter inside the store. Customers can sip on an Americano while they discuss the benefits of SRAM versus Shimano with owner Andre Phillips or one of his staff. Located in the heart of Fountain Square near the Cultural Trail, Veloworks offers hipster fixie riders, commuters and casual pedalers a mix of affordable new and used bikes and gear.
1354 Shelby Street, Ste. A, 317-638-0761, VeloworksIndy.com
This Pendleton Pike fixture has one of the largest single-store inventories of bicycles and components in the city and arguably the best mix of bike brands. Can't figure out what's wrong with your bike? Service manager Steve Southwood has been wrenching for Matthews for nearly 40 years; there aren't many issues he hasn't seen – and fixed – before.
7272 Pendleton Pike, 317-547-3456, matthewsbikes.com
Circle City Bicycles
This Southside institution has a pedigree stretching back nearly a century. Over the last decade, Circle City has specialized in reasonably priced bicycles and gear; the brand names might not be sexy, but they offer the best bang for the customer's buck. They'll even sell your old bike on Craigslist for you. Looking for a bike jersey emblazoned with your alma matter or favorite craft beer? This should be your first stop.
5506 Madison Ave., 317-786-9244, circlecitybicycles.com
Bluegrass Bicycle Company
Jonathan and Tania Juillerat have made individualized service their calling card since starting Bluegrass Bicycle Company several years ago. Jonathan has built a reputation as one of the area's best bike fitters, relieving discomfort and maximizing power for hundreds of Indy-area riders. Because they run their bike shop out of their Brownsburg split-level home, hours are by appointment only.
10929 E. County Road 750 N. (Brownsburg), 317-513-3017, bluegrassbicyclecompany.com
Freewheelin' Community Bikes
Freewheelin' doubles as a used-bike shop and an incredible non-profit community resource. People donate their old bicycles to Freewheelin', which then fixes them up and sells them to the public for often rock-bottom prices. The money is used to teach local kids to build and fix bikes; kids who successfully complete the program can even earn a free bike of their own.
3355 Central Ave., 317-926-5440, freewheelinbikes.wix.com
Customers love Gray Goat's selection and friendly service. The Meridian Street shop and its sister location in Franklin host several group rides and clinics throughout the year. The service department will complete most minor repair jobs while you wait, while DIYers love the weekly maintenance classes.
7750 S. Meridian St., Ste. A, 317-780-4828, graygoatsports.com