The Local. 718 Cyclery.

I left my bike locked up outside over night earlier this week, and some jerk thought it would be fun to slash my tires and screw with the brakes. Just for giggles, I suppose. Anyway, after the steam stopped coming out of my ears I knew my only recourse was to take it directly to my favorite mechanic, 718 Cyclery. Located on a nondescript stretch of 3rd Avenue in Gowanus, this is one of the more dynamic bike shops I’ve come across. All the mechanics work out in the open, there’s music playing and a great relaxed atmosphere with lots of exposed brick, high ceilings, and cozy corners with couches and tables. And of course, everything is flanked by lines of truly beautiful bicycles. It’s a store you’d actually want to hang out in—which is a plus, considering they offer a whole bunch of great free classes there for customers.But let’s talk about the bikes.  They can do the basics for you (like service your poor commuter bike after it’s been savaged by heartless street punks) but what makes the store unique is their very unique custom build service. If you opt to do it, you can work with them to pick the individual bike components based on your needs and budget, and they’ll work closely with you to discuss each part choice and its implications (functional and otherwise). And the best part is that instead of just clicking your mouse and ordering it, you head over to the shop and actually build it side by side with their mechanics. They describe it as a collaborative experience, and you have the opportunity to learn what makes the bike tick by getting grease under your nails. It marks the expansion of a trend whereby city folk more and more truly want to experience what it is to build something, to make something tangible, to grow something, to be part of something authentic. Seems like a positive trend for the urban species, and I think the team at 718 Cyclery is on to something great. And when my poor old Schwinn finally goes to the big Scrapheap in the Sky, I am definitely going to give the collaborative build a try (and you can bet I won’t leave the ensuing new bike locked up outside overnight.)

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