In Portland OR, you can check out Montague folding bikes at Coventry Cycle

If you’re thinking about buying a bike, or if you’ve got a bike and you’d like to get it checked out, then you need to get yourself to a bike shop. Figuring this part out is pretty simple, but sometimes finding a shop can be a little bit trickier.

Of course, if you’re looking to buy a Montague bike, you can check out our dealer locator. And if you don’t see a shop in your area, you can always head on down to your local independent bike dealer and ask them to give us a call.  If you’ve got a Montague and you’re looking to get it fixed, it’s made with industry standard parts, so you can take it anywhere you want. But how do you even find the bike shop that want to go to?

Consider the Service

If you’re new to cycling (or even if you’re not), bike shops can be intimidating places. They’re full of pretty specialized products and the people who work there often have some pretty specialized knowledge (or at least think they do), and not everyone does a good job of explaining bike stuff in a way that’s easy to understand.

So if this matters to you, you want to find a shop that’s got a good reputation for service. Ask your friends. Don’t have any friends who ride? (Or don’t trust their recommendations?) Check out online rating sites, like Yelp or CitySearch. These sites let people leave reviews and comments, so if they had a good experience you’ll know, and if they didn’t, you’ll know that too. Also check the dates of the comments – sometimes a good place goes downhill, and a places that maybe weren’t so great 3 years ago can improve.

What Kind of Riding Do You Do?

A Paratrooper Pro is all decked out with a rack and trailer

After the general service and atmosphere of the shop, you have to consider whether they’re going to be able to provide the kind of technical expertise you’re looking for. After all, if they’re super nice, that’s great, but they need to be able to fix your bike. For general repairs, probably any shop is going to be fine, but if you want someone to look at a suspension fork, you might want to go to a shop that specializes in mountain bikes. Or if you’re looking for a certain rack, basket, or commuter accessory, you’re going to want to go to a shop that focuses on urban cycling – they’re more likely to have a good selection of what you’re looking for (or know where to find it) than a shop that sells high-end carbon racing bikes.

If you don’t like one shop, try someplace else

Almost everyone who owns a bike has had both good and bad experiences in a bike shop. If you feel like you’re being ignored, or if the people are rude to you, just take your business somewhere else. It might take a few stops, but you’ll find the right place.

Like every line of work, there are people who are really good and people who aren’t, and people who are jerks, and people who aren’t. It’s a matter of being comfortable with your purchase/repair, and having confidence that the people who are supposed to be helping you are actually helping you.

Where’s Your Favourite Shop?

Where do you go when you need something for your bike? How did you find them? What do you like the most about them? On the flip side – what’s your worst bike shop horror story?