Help us buy bikes during the age of covid?
July 7, 2020 8:33 AM   Subscribe

We're a family based in Brooklyn who is trying to find a way to buy bikes, whether online or in-person. Would love any advice!

Many bike shops seem either closed or too far away. We found a number of affordable bikes online, but it seems like everyone else has also swarmed these venders and so the bikes are all out of stock or on back order. Our main goal with this is to have some mobility, since we are not using the subway and don't have a car.

I would love it if people had recommendations either for:
(1) reputable online retailers who still sell bikes
(2) or for bike stores near downtown Brooklyn/Brooklyn Bridge Park who are open and practicing good pandemic etiquette.
posted by johnasdf to Shopping (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if this is too far, but Hilltop Bicycles is now on Clinton St. in Manhattan. If you can hike over the Williamsburg, it's basically right there. They're open, with, I think, limited hours.
posted by praemunire at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't want harsh your mellow, and maybe it's different where you are, but where I am the vast majority of bicycles are sold out and have been for months. Our dedicated bike shops have some bikes, generally the most expensive racing ones that have sat on the shelves. And no kid sized bikes at all.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:51 AM on July 7, 2020 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: The_Vegetables -- Yes, that's precisely what we've encountered! We are lucky we got a kid's back before the pandemic, but we've looked at like 10 or 20 online retailers and they're all sold out.

Praemunire -- We are further south, but let me take a look at Hilltop Bicycle!
posted by johnasdf at 8:53 AM on July 7, 2020

You might try Piermont Bikes, in Rockland County. It's not in Brooklyn, but last time I checked, they had good inventory. I really don't know if you are going to find *anything* in Brooklyn. (Full disclosure, used to work there.)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:56 AM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Look into Atlantic Bicycles (Atlantic and Smith), Ride Brooklyn on Bergen in Park Slope, Bicycle habitat on 5th ave and 9th street in Park Slope, Bicycle Station (further afield on Park and Adelphi Near the Navy Yard), or Franks Bikes in Manhattan in the LES between Manhattan and and Williamsburg bridges. All these places have great service, but I would imagine they are all also overwhelmed.
posted by tip120 at 8:59 AM on July 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

tip120's got the shops I know of. Ride Brooklyn is the only one I've been to since this started, and they were super great. I'd definitely call ahead and be like "here's my needs, do you have any bikes" since I've also heard of places being very sold out.

The other place close to you is Propel, if you're looking for fancy, electric bikes. This was my (pre-pandemic) mobility device, although my kids are too small to do their own biking, so it was a good fit for me.
posted by Phredward at 9:07 AM on July 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thereโ€™s Redbeard Bikes in Dumboโ€”sounds like they take appointments. They are generally $$$ but maybe worth a look.
posted by the_blizz at 9:46 AM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, maybe a Citibike membership would be a good stopgap?
posted by the_blizz at 9:54 AM on July 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Since you're mostly looking towards mobility and already have an appropriately sized bike for your kid, I'd invest in Citibike memberships for the adult members of the household (plus a good supply of wipes/gloves) instead of buying way more bike than you need.
posted by yeahlikethat at 9:57 AM on July 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just bought a foldable bike from Citizen Bike in Florida that they sent to me via Fed-X. Entire process from order to assembly to delivery took about a month. It was mostly put together when I got it. Only had to install the handlebar and seat and unfold it.
posted by Gino on the Meta at 10:24 AM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Recently bought a bike from Propel in Brooklyn (mentioned above). They delivered it to me for a fee - no need to go to the shop. They had a good amount of inventory and delivered it within a week or two of ordering.
posted by valeries at 10:37 AM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't know how their stock is in your neighborhood, but we were able to buy bikes and get curbside pickup at REI.
posted by whisk(e)y neat at 11:27 AM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like the proprietors of Redbeard, mentioned above, a lot.
posted by ferret branca at 11:30 AM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Check our Priority Bicycles.
Their Classic Plus models ($500 and up) are nice lightweight commuter / city toodling bikes, with grease-free can't-rust belt drives instead of chains. I rode my very-early-model Classic for 5 years around NYC where it held up well, and now it's zipping me around Pittsburgh. (Just as many potholes, more hills.)
Priority sells online and ships the bikes 95% pre-assembled โ€” though they do have a showroom and assembly / repair shop in SoHo that you can visit by appointment.
What I like the most, though, is that they're a small and friendly team. Years ago when I wanted to swap in some parts, the Founder (a former bike mechanic) did the work himself at no charge. I assume that's happening much less now that they've scaled up from the successful-Kickstarter-in-a-building-basement that they were at the time... but that spirit of customer service is still intact from what I can tell.
(And the bike really is a joy to ride.)
posted by D.Billy at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Apologies if this is super unhelpful, but it might be worth it to check for used bikes on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I know there are folks with extra bikes who are realizing that now is a good time to sell them (which reminds me, I need to clean up that extra bike in my basement...).
posted by bluedaisy at 8:54 PM on July 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I also recommend redbeard and I think their appointment system fits your protocols. They have a website so you can check inventory. They lean e-bike and folding (they seem to carry a lot of $$ bromptons) so the vibe is more commuter than anything, and that may not be what you are looking for, but you can take a look online and if you like the inventory you can make an appointment.
posted by clownschool at 9:46 PM on July 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you want/ need to go the online route...a folding bike sidesteps the sizing question.
posted by oceano at 1:34 AM on July 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I wanted to say that I ultimately ended up going with PRIORITY BIKES and got the Gotham model of the classic bike, since it's on the more affordable end and was actually in stock. Amazingly, they seemed to have things either in stock or soon in stock. They are also very friendly and the bikes seem high quality! Thanks, D.Billy!
posted by johnasdf at 7:54 PM on July 24, 2020

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