Monday, November 2, 2009

LBS Review: Silver Cycles In Silver Spring

So the other week I was on my way home in a pretty good downpour. When crossing over Georgia Ave on Seminary when I heard that sound we all know and love.... PSHSHSHSH!!!!!

I scanned around to find a dry place to change the flat. Luckily I was within sight of Sliver Cycles, and they have a nice dry covered sidewalk in front of the shop. As I began to take the read wheel off an employee (Josh maybe?) stepped out and invited me in to change the the tube. I mentioned that the bike was muddy and I didn't want to make a mess but he insisted. He then sweetened the deal by having me throw the bike up on the stand in the back as it was almost closing time and there was little traffic in the store. I replaced the damaged tube and was on my way. Some good conversation, a floor pump, and a warm dry bike stand helped put the rest of my commute in perspective.

Silver Cycles in Silver Spring, MD caters to a surprisingly wide spectrum of cyclist for such a small space. You wont find downhill monsters or fashion bikes, just a good variety of descent gear. This is a refreshing change to the trend of local shops full of over priced gear being pushed on you by uninspiring people who just like to hear themselves talk.

Check them out if you want the truly local bike shop experience.

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Anonymous said...

I shopped around at several stores for my commuter bike, and found these guys have a great range and, better yet, a greater attitude. Its able to cater to regular cyclists who need a good bike and good service, and don't mind spending well over $1000, but don't look down their noses at those who don't want or need the latest all carbon frame.

Anonymous said...

I have been to every bike shop in DC, Arlington, and MD within the beltway, and Silver Cycles is the only one that shouldn't be closed down and replaced with a vending machine for tubes and a taco bell to give the employees a job that they're actually qualified to do.* I've gone from talking constant trash about how this area has no good shops to being a total fanboy for these guys. Do not go to any other bike shop in the DC area even if you have to take a bus to this place.

* OK Bike Rack service guys you know what you're doing but what I need more than expertise is for your shop to sell me parts at less than 25% over MSRP.

dc dirtbag said...

Silver Cycles rules! They are the exception to the rule around here.

I agree with the sentiments of the anonymous commenters. I moved here from out west where people were really serious about riding and were legitimately fast but were also cool to people. The guys and gals working in the shops were actually respectful of the customers and didn't try to upsale you a whole new bike when you just needed a bolt for your seatpost collar.
Some things (among others) I have found troubling the entire time I have lived here are the ridiculous attitudes and bad vibes I encounter in (almost) all of the area bike shops.
I hear all the time from people who go into the local shops and leave feeling entirely disrespected and belittled, all because they wanted to commit the cardinal sin of buying something for their bike.
What can be the reason for the lame experiences we find in the local shops?
I guess one explanation is the LBS's are used to the dumb rich guy with Lance Armstrong fantasies who comes in to spend 9,000 dollars without so much as a thought, and as such, the shop just milks the guy for all he's worth and he gets to go tell his friends and colleagues how what a serious cyclist he is now - a win-win.... but a loss for most of us.

Another explanation and one that I think is better - many times the guy working in the shop sadly has no real identity if he's not the bike know-it-all. In a city where hyper-individualism and over achieving, pointless, hyper-competitiveness is the norm, people just default to looking down their noses. When you go into the average local bike shop you get to witness this maladaptive tendency in all its glory. The bike shop experience is in certain ways a reflection of the larger culture. This doesn't excuse it however, not in the slightest. For most of us, the act of riding a bike is part of trying to do something positive, for the environment or for ourselves - a chance to get away from the lameness, to be ourselves, to get away from car culture. Then we go into the average LBS and get slapped in the face with the very thing we're hoping to get away from by some douchebag with an over inflated ego who has to size up customers in order to validate his identity and feel good about himself.

So, in short (and thanks for reading this, I know it was painful) I agree totally that Silver Cycles is the place to be. Let's support that shop!

Anonymous said...

This LBS is a "hidden gem" and it's my "go-to" shop for all my cycling needs. Linda and her crew are down to earth, always helpful, and knowledgeable! Glad to see more people discovering Silver Cycles and supporting them.

Jeff said...

Silver Cycles is my LBS of choice. I live nearby and unfortunately found every other LBS before I found Silver Cycles. I have a great experience every time I go there, and that is quite often. I bought my LHT there, a couple custom wheel builds, lights, tools, and accessories. I'd rather spend a few extra dollars there vs. an Internet vendor any day.

Boo said...

I echo the post and comments -- Silver Cycles is a quality shop. They're my go-to LBS.