The Local Bike Shop

Indianapolis may have a Winter Storm Advisory forecast for today, but my mind is focused on the upcoming spring. Last year, I discovered a new bicycle shop at 54th and Winthrop known as Bicycle Exchange:

bike shop

At first I thought it was an intriguing concept to buy, sell, and trade bicycles.  But the shop is much more than that.  They are a full-service repair shop as well, which is a huge bonus in our neighborhood.  There were times in the past where I walked a mile and a half to the Bike Line in Broad Ripple, as bike owners occasionally have to leave their bikes at the shop, and transporting them by other means can be tricky.

Bike shops also don’t need as much automobile parking as other business for obvious reasons.  That makes their potential for reusing older buildings greater.  Recently, Joe Cox from Joe’s Cycles in Fountain Square has mentioned that they are moving to the old Oddfellows Building on East Washington Street.  It will be exciting to see some new life on this corridor, and I’m confident that Fountain Square will be able to attract a new bicycle shop.

Another fine bike shop is Free Wheelin’ Community at 34th and Central.  It is a full service bike shop, but it is so much more than that.  Their mission is to reuse old bicycles and helping children get engaged in bike mechanics.  The non-profit organization has become a bedrock of the community.

These are just 3 of the many bike shops around town.   Please let me know about yours in the comments.

Comments 6

  • This post is beyond accurate. Nice work Kevin.

    Currently, Indy doesn’t have the mass of bike riders needed to sustain numerous bike shops as neighborhood retail centers, but I am confident we are headed that direction. As it stands, it can be difficult servicing a bike when you travel by bike or simply struggle to find another way to get your bike to the shop. In the past, I have used a friends car to tote the bike to a store, I have used a work truck, I have taken Indygo (w/ transfer included) to get to Joe’s, I have walked to/from bikes on Mass Ave and recently, I used a friends car to take one bike in, when it was ready, I rode my other bike in and exchanged it for service.

    As usual, you find a way.

  • I really value having the Bicycle Exchange within walking distance from home. All I’ve used them for is service, which they’ve been pretty reasonable with. They closed early one night without reason and I wasn’t able to get my bike when it was ready. That was a bummer, but they’re quite workable and way too local.

    The best place in the city for service, hands down, is the Bicycle Hospital on Michigan Rd/MLK south of 38th. They love bikes and take good care of whatever you take them. They also charge next to nothing for service. I typically would buy something just b/c their service was so cheap, and I’m a cheapskate. However, you do have to budget time because when you stop in you will want to hang out and visit. This causes repairs to take time, but it’s worth it.

  • I can vouch for both of these establishments, too. Doug & the team at Freewheelin’ are great, and the service they offer to their customers and the community is terrific.

    And I recently bought a used bike at the Bicycle Exchange and appreciated their service and especially selection of used bikes.

    • A few weeks ago we wanted to take a family bike ride up to the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market. I discovered that our bike trailer had a flat tire to my dismay. I took it over to Bicycle Exchange after they opened, and they fixed it within minutes for a very reasonable price. Great stuff.

  • I talked to Joe Cox of Joe’s Cycles two weeks ago and it sounds like the service department should be open by the end of September at 2102 E Washington. The rest of the stuff (cafe, studios, showroom) probably won’t be finished for a while (maybe late winter/early spring).

  • I purchased a bike from the guys at bicycle exchange. The price was close to what the manufacturer was selling, but the service was not good. you would think they would be helpful and excited about selling a bike to you, but not so. I bought the bike anyway to save myself shipping. The couple of workers I talked to there were not very knowledgeable about bikes and the products they were selling. The best bike shops bang for your buck and service are Indy Cycle Specialist on Washington–awesome, the above mentioned bicycle hospital, Matthews on pendleton pike, Freewheeling are a bunch of great guys very helpful. Bike Line is overpriced imo and has a bunch of teenagers working for them. Bicycle garage–bring the brinks truck ( I guess you need to cover all the bling). DG bikes in Nora was unpleasant, had the owners dad trying to help me who had no clue (felt bad for him) and the other guys didn’t seem to care much. Best bet is to find a bike shop the has reasonable tune up and service prices–research on the internet or drive to all the shops like I did, it pays off. A lot of the bike shops have name brand and upstart brand bikes at fair prices. As far as parts, buy off the internet and have the shop put them on for you if you cannot. I would go to ICS on Washington for service and product if I had to choose–they loooovvveeee bikes–and the customer :)Free wheelin would be second choice–a good cause. Read a lot blogs and reviews! Support local business 🙂

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