Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bicycle PRO Shop

When I travel to Washington, D.C., one of my favorite places is the Bicycle PRO Shop located at the foot of the Key Bridge in the heart of Georgetown. Besides being permeated by the government, D.C. is also home to a very hardcore road and messenger scene. A walk through DuPont Circle will yield a mass of amazing fixed gear machines, some Mad Max in style and others look like they have rolled out of a velodrome. Road cyclists are everywhere, mostly making their way out of town to hit some of the sweet rollers in Virginia and Maryland.

When you step foot into the Bicycle PRO Shop (BPS), you are blown away by the sheer amount of cool Euro gear. When visiting BPS, I advise beginning with a visit to Dean and Deluca, which is just up the street, for an espresso or coffee of the day. With cup in hand and the sweet taste of the bean, you can truly take the time needed to wade through all the eye candy. As you pass through the door, first stop is the showcase to the right. Inside you'll find relics from a simpler time, some cool, old Campy gear, and perhaps an odd French headset or BB. Littered about in the same case are all of the high-zoot, Gucci tweaks that you may have heard about but never thought you would see in-person: from a full ti cassette from a small Italian manufacturer to an all-carbon rear deraileur. Clearly, you can see that somebody has a passion for all things road and isn't afraid to offer customers products to make their machines unique.

Meander further into the shop and you'll find a selection of tires that would make any hard core cyclists drool (and I ain't talking about 50 pairs of Michelin PRO Race tires either). The selection is vast and BPS has a tire to fit your individual needs. Vittoria EVO Pave CG anyone? It was here that I first saw the original Campagnolo Carbon crank of 2002. You may remember the hype that accompanied this crankset: Campagnolo had machined down their existing Al crank and then applied a layer of carbon fiber to increase rigidity and decrease weight. The result is a crankset limited in numbers and completely handmade in Italy. The cost: well above retail ($1,000 was most common) and they were impossible to get a hold of. During that visit I saw not one, not two, but three pairs, a remarkable feat for any shop!

In addition to the amazing road bikes, BPS also dabbles in the sweet MTBs. Full-suspension or hard tails, you decide. At the time of my last visit, the selection of Santa Cruz bikes was second to none. With a look into the crevacies, the shop always yields a gem or two. In 2003, well before the recent interest in cross, a gander toward the ceiling at the front corner of the shop uncovered an amazing ALAN cross frame. As a side note, the staff at the shop are always welcoming and knowledgeable about the products.

A unique aspect of the BPS is the bike shop located next door. Yes, you read that right, one door down is home to Revolution Cycles, a rapidly expanding chain of Trek dealerships in the D.C. area. Revolution came about when, back in the late 90s, a few of the BPS employees decided to strike out on their own and open a shop. Whether it was their love for the neighborhood or habit, they decided to open it directly next door. A gutsy move if you ask me but also a testiment to the size of the cycling community in the area. Both shops seem to be doing well. My photos from Bicycle PRO Shop may be a bit dated but they convey the seriousness of the shop as well as just how much sweet gear is packed in this place (literally from floor to ceiling).

When in D.C., be sure to drop by and visit Coppi's, a wonderful organic restaurant, named after the one and only.

Photo courtesy: Bicycle PRO Shop

Bicycle PRO Shop
3403 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20007


Unknown said...

When my sister used to live in DC, I'd always make time for a stop to Coppi's when I visited. Good food.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Coppi's used to be a pizza place? When did they go organic?

Anonymous said...

I remember eating at Coppi's years ago. I was alone and sat at the bar talking with the owner about Lance Armstrong (this was circa 1994).

Chuck Walter said...

First off: I love this blog and check it daily, it is the stuff.

I used to wrench at the pro shop and when in town I always make a point to stroll on in. You forgot to mention the manager, Noel, he defines pro. Great guy and a great shop. Dudester!!!

Anonymous said...

Washington, like NYC is truly a global city. It's a lot easier to make a good living in the business when a higher percentage of folks understand the need for higher quality.

I believe in the past, this blog has reviewed Conrad's in NYC. Right next door there you can dine on the patio at L'Impero. Same deal here. Need that audience to make that global magic.

Radio Freddy said...

Anony - I agree, there is a portion of the customer base who truly appreciates work that is well done. It is the job of the shop to educate their customers on the "added value" a shop provides. For some cyclists, price is the only consideration, but for others, exceptional mechanical work, great conversation, tasty coffee and a friendly passionate staff trump the few dollars saved.

Radio Freddy said...

CAW - Thank you for taking the time to drop by and read BKW. I left Noel out simply because I avoid naming names. But you are 100% correct, Noel embodies the PRO mindset and he is worth seeking out when you visit. - RF

Anonymous said...

I heard there was also a cool shop in the DC area (Maryland) called Lantern Rouge, ever heard of it?

Mansard said...

Enjoyed this post. It was well-written and thoroughly researched. I'm not a roadie, but your writing captured my dirt-loving heart.


Francis said...

Lantern Rouge:
Was run out of the owner's house. He has since moved to the west coast.

Neat setup-- couple of frames, srm's, fitting equipment, stereo, exotic components, and clothing.

No more though.

Bike Drool said...

I've been by there... yes, great shop!