Since long before Lance Armstrong began winning Tour de France in 1999, cycling has been a growing sport in Austin and has remained a popular activity since Armstrong stopped winning in 2005 and since he was stripped of his titles in 2012.
Whether for exercise, for competition or for transportation, cyclists are prevalent along Austin’s roadways and trails. In a city where sharing the road with cyclists is an everyday occurrence, many bike shops work to meet the needs and wants of the cycling community. This includes — of course — selling bicycles, but it means much more as well.
If you haven’t been on a bicycle since you were a kid, don’t worry! Bike shop staff are ready to get you back on that little triangular seat. The shops profiled below are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Austin bike shops, so if they don’t have exactly what you want, there are more local Austin businesses ready to serve you. But these places are great ones to help you start out in cycling.
1. Bicycle Sport Shop
Mountain biking wasn’t that big of a thing in Texas when Bicycle Sport Shop opened in 1983. When current owners Hill Abell and Laura Agnew bought the Barton Springs Road location in 1985, Abell went from being a part-time employee to an owner and was able to cast his vision of bringing mountain biking to Austin.
Now with five locations and plenty of space to stock other types of bicycles, the company is a vital part of the Austin cycling community. With their staff members who have varied cycling interests you can find a kindred cycling spirit to help you choose the gear right for you.
And if you aren’t yet integrated into the local cycling scene, you can participate in one of their sponsored events or join their cycling club. You can participate in events geared toward mountain biking, road biking, triathlons and cyclocross.
2. Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop
Co-owned by Lance Armstrong, the name of Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop is a play on words for the French term for the leader during the Tour de France. The shop is an Austin original that has thus far spread to Fort Worth and will probably spread further.
The downtown Austin location speaks to the shop’s commitment to cycling as transportation and utility, as well as fun and fitness. In fact, they even have showers, lockers and storage for commuters. If you work downtown, Mellow Johnny’s might be just the place to help you make your commute as convenient as it can be.
Mellow Johnny’s also hosts a variety of rides for cyclists of all skill levels. Beginner, intermediate and advanced rides are categorized according to speed and length.
3. Clown Dog Bikes
University of Texas students have some really cool shops within walking distance of their dorms and off-campus apartments. One of those places is Clown Dog Bikes. This laid back shop sits right across from the street from campus near where San Jacinto Boulevard and Speedway come together on the north side. This long-standing business prides itself on low prices and quick turnaround on repairs and maintenance services. That quick turnaround can be incredibly important for students who have to travel from one side of campus to the other to make it on time for back-to-back classes.
4. Bikealot Bicycle Shop
Many businesses form organically. This is definitely the case for Bikealot Bicycle Shop. Longtime bicycle courier Brad Wimberly came to Austin from Houston in 2003 and began using his nickname “Bikealot” to account for bicycle service work he was doing. Eventually, he worked up to a full-fledged bicycle shop. With more than 20 years of cycling and bicycle repair experience, he’s ready to help you get what you need and keep your bike in tip-top condition.
5. Nelo’s Cycles
If you’re picking up a hobby, wouldn’t you want advice from someone who has world-class experience in your chosen activity? If you’ve chosen to pursue cycling, Nelo Breda at Nelo’s Cycles may be just the person whose brain you want to pick. He’s competed and coached in the highest levels of international cycling. He, his staff and his dogs are ready to greet you and help you get what you need for your cycling adventures.