When you’re new to biking, getting started can be a bit overwhelming. Where’s the best place to ride? Do you need to wear those tight shorts? Just what exactly are gears used for? Thankfully, avid riders and soon-to-be cyclists alike have lots of resources in Jefferson City. In fact, we have three impressive and independently owned bike shops that can get you on a bike with the supplies and knowledge you need.
Mark and Pam Allchorn didn’t always plan on having a bike shop, but when a cross-Atlantic move found them relocating from Mark’s space in England to Pam’s native Missouri, it seemed like a reasonable step. The couple purchased the Hartsburg Cycle Depot and, in 2007, moved it to Jefferson City’s 2004 West Main Street. In addition to standard repairs, the couple have developed a reputation for custom work. Mark, who trained at the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon, is known for his hand-built frames and wheels, which attract both local and global buyers and keep the couple busy year round. He also dabbles in electric-enabled bikes, which can help make our city’s hilly terrain less strenuous. Pam is also hands-on in the workroom, where you can find her taking apart bikes for deep cleanings. She says one of the best parts of working in the shop is seeing repeat customers--some who first came in as kids and now have kids of their own.
The people: Mark and Pam Allchorn
The vibe: Creative and cozy, with the smell of oil in the air
If you go: Ask about custom work, including repairs on rare and vintage machines
Learn more: http://www.hartsburgcycledepot.com/
Red Wheel Bike Shop isn’t just a spot for buying bikes and parts, though you can certainly do that there. The brick-walled store located in the city’s historic Millbottom area feels more like your hip friend’s loft than a place of business, with regulars gathering at the front counter to chat and cold beers and soda available for purchase. In the back, owner Nick Smith and his team stay busy working on tune-ups and prepping for the summer biking season, when things really start to get busy. With the property being located at 400 West Main Street, the store attracts riders from the Katy Trail, who need only cross the Missouri River bridge to stock up on supplies or grab replacement gear. Red Wheel is also a starting point for those who don’t have a bike but are looking to borrow one for a ride; the store currently has several bright blue bikes out front, which are available to rent for up to a full weekend.
The people: Nick and Jessica Smith
The vibe: Trendy and industrial, with close access to the Katy Trail
If you go: Ask about special bike riding events in town, including moonlight rides
Learn more: http://www.redwheelbikeshop.com
The family business
It makes sense that Steve Meyer greets you when you walk into J & D Bicycle Shop at 610 Jefferson Street. After all, he’s been working on bikes since he was a kid, growing up with the store’s owners, Jo and Don (known to him as mom and dad). The shop opened in 1973, and the Meyer family has witnessed several changes in the industry since then. Steve can quickly tell you the history and evolution of consumer bicycles--from adjustments in factory frames and handlebars to more obsolete shifts in specialty parts. Still, one thing that hasn’t changed since the 70s is the family’s commitment to cycling and their passion for customer service. Whether you are looking for a starter bike or an advanced road bike, the Meyers can help you narrow down your options and fit you with gear before you hit the streets. Additionally, Steve, who has a mechanic’s eye and says he enjoys taking apart and reassembling bikes, maintains the store’s promise that any bike purchased at there comes with a lifetime of free repairs.
The people: Jo, Don, and Steve Meyer
The vibe: Classic and well-stocked, with generational knowledge
If you go: Ask about safety tips, including helmet options and tire pressure
Learn more: http://www.janddbikeshop.com/
Special thanks to our contributing photographer, Chuck Daugherty.
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