Best Unpretentious Bike Shop

1019 7th St. NW, (202) 962-0123
Website @BicycleSpace on Twitter
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Back in the day, bike shops weren’t daycares. Little more than a decade ago, cycling in D.C. was largely the province of gutsy bike messengers and kitted-up road racers headed out of town for a day’s ride. Those folks didn’t need to be kissed on the forehead and tucked in, so bike shops acted in kind, thereby cementing the stereotype of an elitist snob behind the counter, judging your bargain-basement crankset.

But as condos have sprung up, cyclists have changed. Riding a bike is now a layman’s game. Bike lanes and Capital Bikeshare have taken a once-exclusive lifestyle and shredded its rulebook, scattering the pages among the unwashed masses. For this crowd, a huffy sales associate with a taste for carbon fiber will not do.

That’s where BicycleSPACE comes in. The store, which opened at 5th and Eye streets NW in the fall of 2010 and has since moved to a new space near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, has earned a reputation as the city’s warm-and-fuzzy bike shop. Why? Its service. Pretension and upselling are scarce, and its staff seems genuinely stoked by newbies and pros alike.

The shop also hosts bike rides for all skill levels, free bike-maintenance classes, and fun stuff like movie nights and women’s bike-gear fashion shows. Its Twitter feed is giddy with activity, answering questions and broadcasting comforting maxims like, “Today we had what we’re calling ‘proof of concept.’ A new, friendlier approach to bike retail, and it works!”