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Spring is sprung…head over to Brooklyn Bike and Board.

We got a brief taste of good weather this Sunday and temperatures peaked up into a nice level of “take your bike out from the moth balls and see if you can get a tune up.” I noticed a small crowd had gathered near the Mom and Pop bike shop near my apartment in Park Slope. Everyone was looking like they wanted their bikes in working order to get ready for the hopeful onslaught of good weather. Its all good and here’s to more bikers on the streets giving the cars a run for their money. Maybe we can pick up a few more who are tired of being price gouged by the MTA who offer higher prices and lower service.

One place I’d like to recommenced for your winter dust off is the nice folks over at Brooklyn Bike and Board.
Website: Brooklyn Bike and Board
Location: 560 Vanderbilt Ave. Brooklyn, NY.

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Started back in December by Brian Gluck this shop is mostly designed for repairs with three full time mechanics ready to fix your ride and answer questions, including Max who rode his Xtracycle all the way across country from Seattle.

I was impressed right when I walked in the shop because they had this huge wood electrical spool in the front window servicing as a work bench. The idea was to create a place where people could do quick flat repairs if they wanted to learn. I like the community feel of this shop and the DIY spirit.

I decided to give my Orange KHS a paint job. First step was to strip off all the parts.
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One problem I had was my crank was stripped out.
Max had a solution which involved a hammer and a screwdriver. It was a mercy killing…had to be done.

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They did an excellent job and fixed another track bike I brought in.
If you need a good group of wrenches…I highly recommend this shop.

Looks like they have some community welcoming plans for the summer including some morning rides in Prospect Park and eventually movie screenings in their backyard.

Right now there inventory is kind of sparse but they are slowly expanding. They also sell skateboards too, which accounts for the board part of their title.

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Check these guys out and keep track of their blog too for upcoming events.

I asked Brian (the owner) a few questions about how he got started:

when did you open the shop and how long have you been in the bicycle business?

I opened shop on Friday, December 12th, 2008. It was such a strange day. I had gone to Home Depot to buy the “non” bike shop tools the previous Wednesday. The rest of the tools were delivered Thursday. I spent Thursday night setting up my work bench, organizing the tools, etc. It was exciting because I didn’t have any merchandise or inventory, so these tools were the first physical and tangible evidence that I was, in fact, opening a bike shop.

I came into work Friday morning, and it sort of dawned on me. Hey… I’m open. Wait wait wait wait…. I’m open… I’M OPEN! WHAAA!?

And just like that I owned a bike shop.

I printed out a sign, taped it to the window, and that was it. No fan fare. No ribbon cutting. No party. Just me, my tools, a cup of coffee, and a very empty space.

what is good about that location?

Oh that’s easy: it’s the people in the neighborhood. You have the Roadies peaking in sitting atop their Pinarello’s on their way to the park. The Pratt students with their thrown together single speeds. The mom’s and dad’s and their three wheeled strollers, with one, two, and sometimes all three of their tires flat.Their look of helplessness is almost painful. Oh, and then there’s three-speed crowd. An indescribable group that love the classic look and European feel. Their indicator chains swinging sadly at the ground, waiting to be reattached to something. The variety of people and their variety of bikes makes for such a rich and exciting bike culture. This location is one giant cauldron that’s being mixed by a bike god that has a multiple personality disorder.

what makes your shop unique?

My goal is to ignite peoples love for their bicycles and to help them realize it’s full potential. The only way to do that is to engage. I’ve set up the shop so that the customer is two feet away from our bike stand. And if they want to come around the counter to get a closer look, then they can. I encourage my mechanics to speak with them and answer any questions they have. It’s very important that we give people really sound and meaningful advice. There’s a level of openness that I maintain between myself and the customer. In my shop, there is no room for ego or arrogance or attitude. It’s all about the bike love.

what are your future plans for the shop?

My long term plan is to continue to tune in to what people need to get around. I’m continually searching for useful and functional answers to peoples traveling problems. It may be a new product, but it also may come from a suggestion that someone casually mentions. It also may be an old idea or an old product that’s used in a different way. I’ll hear it or see it or read about it and say, “Hey… what a sweet idea…” Where ever the inspiration lies, I hope to find it and tell people about it.

how has it been running a bike shop in this economy?

We have a tag line we sometimes use to describe our shop: No spandex and no carbon fiber. It’s tongue in cheek, but it points to the broader picture of what we are. The shop is geared toward the commuter and the urban rider. It targets people that use their bikes for utilitarian purposes as well as people who use them for travel. We build bikes that meet the city’s demands. Our bikes are useful, reliable, low maintenance, and inexpensive. The products that we carry reflect that. Blinky’s, locks, fenders… all these things are needed to get around in this city.

$5,000 Framesets and Campy Groupo’s are not what you need to pick up groceries or to get to a bar in Alphabet City. So we don’t carry them. If I did, then I’d definitely be worried about my business and the current state of the economy.

But there will always be commuters in this city. And this city will always have people who love and adore their bicycles. All those people need inexpensive, bike minded things that can take the abuse of this city. So that’s what I give them.

13 comments to Spring is sprung…head over to Brooklyn Bike and Board.

  • cr

    How much the paint job run?

  • eric

    sounds like an awesome place… but what about bicycle station down the street? competition? also, while you’re there, check out my friends’ bar, barette, across the street.

  • jonesy

    unbelievable: how can you write an article about this little yuppie haven without even *one* mention about bicycle station, that was there for years and has been pushed to an outpost under the BQE down on park ave?

    i mean, more bike shops are always better, especially in this part of brooklyn which has shockingly few places, but to have a cheery, naive tone about BBB without even a glance at the gentrification that led bicycle station to leave the hood, and the effects wealth has had on bicycling, is in very bad taste.

  • jay

    Well said Jonesy.

    It is less convenient for me to go to the Bicycle Station’s new location, but their service is still the best. And the best is where I will go.

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  • Michael Green

    Know one seems to give me a straight answer on this shop. I hear rumor that the owner owned an ice cream place next store and also was the Landlord on the bike station. Then he raised the rent so much the Bike station had to move. Some say, he knows nothing about bicycles. And I also hear all this bitching about the gentrification of the area. Vanderbilt doesn’t seem to be the victim of a mass influx like I witnessed on Bedford Ave, which I saw first hand living in Williamsburg Brooklyn since 1996. I can only write about my experiences. I went into this shop, talked with the owner and they gave me very competent service.

  • jonesy

    whatever you say michael, i’m not asking you to repeat rumors, but to pretend that bicycle station never existed is, again, in very poor taste and i think is a depressing comment on your link to the community.

  • Michael Green

    You know there are more constructive ways to alert someone of the history of a shop that they are unaware of besides directly insulting someone’s commitment to the bike community.

    But you seem to want to make this personal.

    You succeeded. Now I am personally offended.

    Don’t you think it would be more constructive and better at building bicycle community if you had just let me know the story behind bicycle station and alerted me of my mistake. Nope. You had to tell me this was a reflection of my commitment to the bicycle world of NYC.
    What am I Anderson “fucking” Cooper and I’m supposed to do an investigative journalism piece on this?

    These dudes fixed my bike and did it on the cheap and I rewarded them with a little bit of an ad.

    The right index finger goes out to you for pointing out that another bike shop had some difficulties to BBB and your loyal to them.
    The middle finger goes out to you for being an asshole, insulting my commitment to the bike community and the bad taste in your mouth over my posting.

  • thunder

    Lets put all the rumors to rest. The landlord of the building is not the owner of BBB. Mikes Bike Stations rent was not raised to the point that it couldn’t be paid. The fact of the matter is after repeated attempts by the landlord asking mike to clean up the rear yard and basement of the building he was asked to leave. The landlord actually recieved fines for unsafe conditons by the DOB. WHen it was found out the MIkes was leaving “other” people thought it would be a good idea to open up a place that was an improvement. Most think it is and some wil always think its not.

  • Mike

    I’m an avid biker and would never take my bike here again for any repairs or buy anything from this store.

    First I bought a Kryptonite Evolution series 4 lock and found out later they had the price jacked up over $20 from any other store – $80.

    Shame on me for buying it here in the first place. When I went back and asked them if they could at least put it on for me they took a nice gauge out of my brand new bike in the process. All the way down to the metal.

    But they were nice enough to tell me where a NAPA store is to but touch up paint. Unbelievable.

    This is just about the worst example of sloppy service I’ve ever seen. I will go out of my way to tell people not to go here.

  • [...] Bike Blog NYC Spring is sprung head over to Brooklyn Bike and Board Posted by root 20 hours ago (http://www.bikeblognyc.com) I had gone to home depot to buy the non bike shop tools the previous wednesday i spent thursday night setting up my work bench organizing the tools etc taste and i think is a depressing comment on your link to the community theme fspring design by fredrik Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Bike Blog NYC Spring is sprung head over to Brooklyn Bike and Board [...]

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  • rider

    Thunder you are mistaken – the landlord (who is NOT the owner of BBB) did in fact raise the rent – due to the gentrification of the area.

    Mike was not asked to leave because of his use of the yard and basement. Why would the landlord allow another bike shop in the same space if he didn’t want bikes in the basement and in the yard?

    Bicycle Station moved to an area that is equally convenient for many riders, close to the bridges and the Flushing Avenue bike lane and will probably become gentrified before we know it.

    We should all be riding our bikes more and support all of the bike shops in the city – Bicycle Station is by far the best and most experienced, check their new website: http://www.bicyclestationbrooklyn.com.

    If you don’t care how your bike is handled, go to any of the myriad of other shops popping up in Brooklyn.