Best Bike Shop

Phoenix Bike Shop
4200 S 4 Mile Run Dr, Arlington, VA 22206, (703) 575-7762

There’s a reason the Tour de France is on the same cable channel that shows bass fishing and hockey—bike racing is not a very popular sport. Not that you’d know that by entering most bike shops, which are invariably geared more toward the Lance fantasies of well-paid professionals than toward the needs of people who want reliable, simple transportation. Phoenix Bike Shop offers most of its used and retooled bikes for around $70, and the feel-good is free: It’s a nonprofit that teaches middle-school kids from Arlington’s ethnically mixed and economically not-so-blessed southern nabes the basics of bike repair. Kids earn bikes at Phoenix by completing shop projects and then use them on weekly group rides. One Phoenixer’s project: Make a poster of bike parts in Amharic so recent arrivals from Ethiopia can follow along. Others follow the Phoenix checklist to earn their rigs: fix flats, adjust brakes, know safety equipment, practice good customer service. The latter skills are rehearsed while providing bike repairs for the public. Phoenix director Colin Dixon, 28, says the shop does repairs “like a normal commercial bike shop but at about one-third of the cost. We’re not as quick as a regular bike shop, too.” Adults wish they were handier with an Allen wrench are welcome on Tuesday nights, when donated bikes are stripped. Phoenix currently occupies an outbuilding in Barcroft Park and is looking for a permanent home; donations of bikes, bike parts, and the stuff Phoenix has to buy new—tires, chains, etc.—are always welcome.

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