New LBS: Valley Bike & Ski Werks–Hadley, MA
Boulder, Colorado is a cycling mecca. When I was visiting Boulder a couple of years ago, I hit a few local bike shops to see what they were like. It was like nothing we had here in the Northeast; at least, nothing like the shops I was used to. Bike shops in New England are often crammed into old store fronts, bikes displayed in creative yet confusing ways. As a retailer for 20 years, I know a thing or two about merchandising. Bike shops around here are using old space as best they can. In Boulder, bike shops are built for bikes. And so is Valley Bike & Ski Werks.
I started hearing about the arrival of Valley Bike & Ski Werks as early as last January through a list serv. Then, a few people in the cycling community started buzzing about it. Somehow I missed the opening event last April. This weekend, I finally got to check it out.
When I walked in, I was instantly a kid in a candy store. High ceilings with rows of bike stacked evenly and neatly 3 cycles tall drew my eye up. Breathtaking epic wall art of racers flooding the countryside in typical Tour de France fashion graced the walls. A coffee bar doubled as the service counter for repairs. Equal offerings of mens and women’s clothing. Yes I’ll say it again….EQUAL OFFERINGS TO WOMEN. Friendly staff. Road, Mountain, and bikes for kids. They also have the Specialized Body Geometry Fit to ensure you get a proper size bike for your body geometry. This was a well-rounded shop, easily serving the causal bike rider to the serious athlete, as evidenced by this sweet triathlon bike set up I noticed while wandering around the shop in a giddy daze.
I had a chance to talk to a few of the people in charge at Valley Bike and Ski Werks. “We needed this.” I told them. Because honestly, I haven’t seen a shop like this around these parts, ever. They are definitely filling a need, and bringing the LBS of the Pioneer Valley into the next century (at last!).
People who know me know that I use a few different shops. There’s one I’m almost exclusive to service because they take me seriously and tend to do me favors in turning my bike around quicker than casual customers. I’ve used the small local chain several times and never had a complaint. And I’ve used this quirky small shop literally down the street from my house for an odd or end here and there. I definitely plan on using this new LBS for service, and I’ve already bought a few small essentials during my maiden trip today (gloves and a couple of water bottles). And after seeing a the bikes, it will be difficult to resist investing in a new ride.
So join me in welcoming Valley Bike & Ski Werks to the cycling community. It looks very much like we’ll be richer for its arrival!