7. LOCAL BICYCLE SHOPS in Monterey County–and Tips on New and Used Bikes
This local bike shops section includes:
- Complete list, in alphabetical order, of “Local bike shops of Monterey County.” All sell new bikes. A few have used bikes for sale too. (See part 4 of this web page.) And all do maintenance and repair.
- List of local bike shops best able to serve Spanish speakers–see ¿Habla usted español?
- Tidbits about Monterey County local bike shops–a sampling to help you get acquainted.
- Tips on purchasing new and used bikes.
- Bikes for people unable to buy their own.
There are locally owned bicycle shops in Carmel (mouth of the valley), Castroville , Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, and Seaside.
First, why support local bike shops?
- For a multitude of good reasons, including quality of products, reliability of service, personal attention, and much more.
- Local bike shops are among those who boost biking in their communities in many different ways. For example, Monterey County’s local bike shops participate in or otherwise support one or more of the following: being part of diverse support for Monterey County’s first Open Streets, Ciclovia Salinas; contributing project supplies for the Monterey County Probation Department Youth Center bike class; celebrating the HER Helmet Thursdays project’s anniversary celebrations with raffle prizes and full-page ads; boosting Bike Month, e.g., by different shops providing a complimentary mobile mechanic for the annual Intergenerational Ride, offering low-cost inspections and tune-ups. And that’s just a start of why we value local bike shops!
Saul Soto, owner of Tony’s Bike Shop, Castroville is pictured above following his barricade volunteer shift at the inaugural Ciclovia Salinas, Monterey County’s first Open Streets. For examples of other local bike shops who helped at that historic event, click here. (Photo courtesy of Juanita Turner Photography.)
1. Local bike shops of Monterey County
Þ Bay Bikes, Carmel (at the mouth of Carmel Valley, just off Class I path; look up for nearby windmill) – 3600 The Barnyard, Carmel; 831/655-BIKE.
Þ Bear Bikes (in North Salinas, between Sherwood Gardens and Alvin Square; look for neighboring Kawasaki Suzuki motorcycle dealership) – 1288 North Main, Salinas; 831/444-8460.
Þ Bobcat Bicycles (in Oldtown Salinas, parallel to and one block east of Main; not far from the Amtrak station and downtown Salinas MST bus plaza) – 141 Monterey, Salinas; 831/753-7433.
Þ Carmel Bicycle (at the mouth of Carmel Valley, just off Class I path; look up for nearby windmill) – 26543 Carmel Rancho Boulevard, Carmel; 831/625-2211.
Þ Doug Chandler Performance AKA DC-10 (next to the Cycle Stop Honda shop) – 517 Abbott, Salinas; 831/422-3270.
Þ Forest Hill Bike Shop is in the “Bicycle Specialty Services” section on the main resources page.
Þ Marina Cycle & Skate – 214 Reservation Rd, Marina; 831/384-2453. (As of 12/4/14, no website, but on Facebook.)
Þ Peninsula Bike Works – (just off freeway, not far from El Estero Lake, and very near Naval Postgraduate School’s 10th street gate) 1271 10th St, Suite C, Monterey; 831.643.BIKE (2453).
Þ Sports Center Bicycles – (close to Class I path near Roberts Lake and Embassy Suites) – 1576 Del Monte Blvd, Seaside; 831/899-1300.
Þ Tony’s Bike Shop & Skateboards – NEW LOCATION January 2015: 10917 Merritt Street (in Cabrillo Plaza, behind the Trolley Car), Castroville; 831/272-8409. Usual hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. (As of 1/6/15, no website, but on Facebook.)
Þ Valley Bikes – (downtown Salinas) – NEW LOCATION April 2015: 64 West Alisal Street, Salinas; 831/422-3453. Usual hours are 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. (As of 12/4/14, no website, but on Facebook.)
Þ Winning Wheels – (downtown PG; above Lighthouse Ave, below Pine Ave) – 318 Grand Avenue, Pacific Grove; phone 831/375-4322. (As of 10/26/13, no website, but on Facebook.)
2. ¿Habla usted español?
Who are Monterey County’s most fluently bilingual bike shop professionals? Among them are the following (current as of 7 January 2015 / 7 enero 2015).
They are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bear Bikes, 1288 N. Main St., Salinas; phone 831/444-8460. Ask for employee Edwin Nolasco (fluent) or the owner, Bryan Williams.
- Sports Center Bicycles, 1576 Del Monte Blvd, Seaside; phone 831/899-1300. Ask for employee Tony Ortiz (fluent).
- Tony’s Bike Shop (no website), 10917 Merritt Street (in Cabrillo Plaza, behind the Trolley Car), Castroville; phone 831/272-8409. Ask for the owner, Saul Soto (fluent). Call ahead for shop hours. (See Saul in video below.)
- Valley Bikes, 64 West Alisal Street, Salinas; 831/422-3453. Usual hours are 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. (As of 12/4/14, no website, but on Facebook.) Ask for mechanic Eliseo G. Pacheco (fluent).
- Winning Wheels (no website), 318 Grand Avenue, Pacific Grove; phone 831/375-4322. Ask for owner Hector Chavez (near-fluent).
Below: Owner Saul Soto (at left) and a customer at Tony’s Bike Shop, Castroville.
Spanish-language biking resource materials:
The Bicycling Monterey website’s “Resources/Los Recursos” section includes Información en español sobre las bicicletas. This resource compilation includes videos and written materials in Spanish, such as, a summary of California bike laws (including equipment requirements), tips for helping children learn to bike (including helmet-fitting tips), safety tips (including about biking around big trucks and buses), and much more.
3. Tidbits about Monterey County’s local bike shops
Sports Center Bicycles, Seaside
Home of Team Everybody: The slogan of Sports Center Bicycles, Seaside, epitomizes what Bicycling Monterey, and the heart of the Monterey County bike community, are all about: “the home of Team Everybody!” Sports Center loves to help others bike, whether you are a racer, a commuter, or a preschooler on two wheels for the first time. My 23-year-old got her last bicycle there, having long graduated from her Burley trailer.
Visit the Sports Center website for images of the types of cyclists they serve–yup, Team Everybody! Or stop by their shop and get a chuckle from the sign in their window. There you’ll see their own list of “Why bike?” in their window. Their reasons: “*@#! BP, breathe deep, fatten your wallet, slim your backside, and teach your children.”
While they express their beliefs with a dose of humor, the staff at Sports Center is seriously dedicated to their customers’ biking experience. Intimidated about stepping into a bike shop? Some folks are. But after your first visit, you’ll realize that you needn’t be at Sports Center Bicycles!
Robert Cepeda, service manager at Sports Center Bicycles of Seaside
provided complimentary mobile bike mechanic services
at the Intergenerational Ride, a new Bike Week activity in 2012.
Winning Wheels, Pacific Grove
The Monterey County Weekly’s readers said, “Best Bike Shop of 2012!“ The Weekly‘s 22nd annual readers’ poll awarded Winning Wheels of Pacific Grove the honor of Best Bike Shop. Stop by and learn why this business of 25+ years is such a favorite: 318 Grand Avenue, Pacific Grove; phone 831/375-4322.
Avid cyclist Patty at Winning Wheels in Pacific Grove
Aquarian at Bay Bikes AKA Bay Bikes Downtown Monterey
Triangle’s Fun Social Spot: Aquarian at Bay Bikes is another local shop with a longstanding reputation for helpfulness. This is the shop where our family purchased a Burley bike trailer back when my daughter was a baby. Located at 486 Washington Street in Monterey, Aquarian is next door to the East Village Coffee Lounge at the corner of Washington and Pearl. You’ll often see Velo Club and other bikers relaxing there on the triangle plaza. (Direx tip: Munras becomes Abrego at Eldorado; and Abrego becomes Washington at Pearl. If you’re confused about our streets, it’s not you, it’s Old Monterey!)
Aquarian at Bay Bikes is part of the Bay Bikes family of shops. The Monterey County Weekly’s readers voted Bay Bikes, “Best Bike Shop of 2013!”
Click here to read the Weekly’s notice about this 2013 award.
(Photo below shows their former sign.)
Aquarian at Bay Bikes, and its neighbor, HER Helmet Thursdays spot East Village Coffee Lounge, draw a lot of cyclists to the triangle plaza.
(Photo above courtesy of Leo Kodl.)
Bear Bikes, North Salinas
Bear Bikes is tucked in a little shopping plaza off North Main, between Sherwood Gardens and Alvin Square. Youth have no trouble locating this popular shop!
Bobcat Bicycles, Oldtown Salinas
Carmel residents wished for bike shops and got two at the mouth of the valley!
relocated from mid-valley to Carmel Rancho II in October 2010.
Bay Bikes Carmel…
added another dose of bike-love to the neighborhood, moving in at the nearby Barnyard. Together, these neighbors–along with many HER Helmet Thursdays spots closeby–make a very bike-friendly welcome right off the Class I bike path at the mouth of the valley, parallel to Highway 1. (See bike Carmel tips.)
Tony’s Bike Shop & Skateboards, Castroville
Tony’s Bike Shop & Skateboards, 10917 Merritt Street (in Cabrillo Plaza, behind the Trolley Car), Castroville; 831/272-8409. Bilingual English-Spanish. Call ahead for shop hours, or to set an appointment.
The shop, named after his father, Tony, is run by Saul Soto. Among services provided: Used and new bike sales, maintenance, repair, painting. Included are BMX, cruisers, fixies, mountain bikes, and more!
4. Tips on Purchasing
Here are tips on selecting a bike from San Francisco’s 511.org.4
4a) New bikes
Investing in a new bicycle from a local shop–where clerks are knowledgeable and can find the right bike for your body and your needs–is first choice.
Check those 511.org tips on selecting a bike, then ask local bike shop staff for more guidance.
If you find yourself with a new bike from a “big box” store, see tips from Ray Hosler–click here, then scroll down to subheading “…bike quality.” As Ray cautions, in his experience on assembling such a bike for a charity, “These bikes need tuning by a pro….What of the poor person buying this bike and trying to assemble with no experience? It’s a frightening thought.”
4b) Used bikes
If your budget doesn’t permit a new bike, or if you aren’t really sure if you’ll bike much and just want to test out an inexpensive used bike for awhile, what to do?
First, although local bike shops primarily sell new bikes, some also sell used bikes. It never hurts to ask!
Check the “Used Bikes” post for more info.
Some shops, including Tony’s Bike Shop & Skateboards in Castroville and Valley Bikes in Salinas sell used bikes, as well as new, on a regular basis. Some shops, like Sports Center Bicycles, will sometimes have a couple used bikes to sell, along with their new bikes. Other shops may have a couple or more used bikes in their inventory all the time.
If you’re lucky enough to get a used bike from a local bike shop, you not only save money while buying a quality bike, you also have the well-founded confidence that the bike is in safe operating condition–because a local bike shop mechanic has gone over it! Feel free to contact me, as I am sometimes aware when the local bike shops have good used bikes in stock.
Next, check with local bike rental stores. For instance, at least one of them typically sells their used bikes in October. Another scheduled a used bike sale for January. They had purchased the bikes new at wholesale prices, maintained them well throughout their rental life, and are now ready to sell them to prepare for purchasing new ones again for next season. What does this mean to you? The possibility of finding a sweet deal on a used bike!
You may also want to consider Craigslist or yard sales. However, if you are not mechanically savvy, it’s wise to take a used bike for a safety check-up and maintenance recommendations at a local maintenance/repair shop. Discounted bike safety checks typically happen in April and May, to help celebrate Bike Week/Bike Month. And year-round, simply ask a local bike shop for their best price on safety inspections.
What’s the dollar value of that used bike? You may want to refer to the bicycle blue book.
These tips on “How to buy a great used bicycle” may also be helpful to you.
5. Bikes for people unable to buy their own
Gears 4 Good is a small organization organized on the Monterey Peninsula by Steve Benes, and as resources and time allow, Steve is happy to serve locals throughout Monterey County. For people who cannot afford a bike, Gears 4 Good provides bicycles for transportation to work or school, or simply if driving is not an option for them.
Gears 4 Good is a 501 (3) (c) nonprofit, since March 2013. Please visit http://www.gears4good.com/ and email Steve with your questions if you or someone you know needs help obtaining a bike.
Steve also welcomes people to contact him with offers to help in this philanthropic endeavor.
For related Monterey County opportunities, also see: How to help: Bikes, gear, skills for youth and others without.
In our neighboring Santa Cruz County…
- The Bike Church of Santa Cruz helped get the Bike Shack in Watsonville started. Now Bike Shack is able to offer not only a DIY bike repair space and repair/maintenance skill sharing, they’ve also been able to sell affordable bikes–$20 to $100, sliding scale.