It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
East Coast Alpine keeps bikers cycling to the summit of their skill-mountain by tuning two-wheelers to peak condition. Technicians calibrate bikes for safety and a smooth ride by adjusting the brakes, front and rear derailleurs, and cables; physically checking the derailleur hanger, bottom bracket, crankset, hubs, rims, and tires; and testing the bike's gear-jerk reflex using a tiny hammer. Bikologists will also degrease and lubricate all moving, nonbiting parts before cleaning the nonmotorized carriage and truing the rims if needed. After performing the full inspection, the team can recommend further repairs to the owner or prescribe a treatment for handlebar acne.
In 1967, a pair of rock climbers founded the first Eastern Mountain Sports store to share their passion for nature and provide the hard-to-find gear they used to explore its wildest depths. Since then, the outdoor-gear-and-apparel purveyor has expanded to encompass 69 retail locations and 11 outdoor-adventure schools between Maine and Virginia. Using input from their own climbing-school guides, they design, engineer, and test much of their own gear and apparel—often amid harsh conditions on Mount Washington Observatory’s wintry peak.
In each store and adventure school, a knowledgeable staff outfits customers for year-round camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and other outdoor expeditions. Bianchi, Jamis, and Marin bikes speed cyclists along paths, and multipurpose backpacks help adventurers keep their secret diaries safe from bears. Stores also stock men’s and women’s seasonal outdoor apparel and high-tech outdoors electronics such as altimeters, GPS tools, camping lanterns, and portable audio devices.
To ensure customers venture out with the proper gear, Eastern Mountain Sports also backs up services and products with a satisfaction guarantee. Upon request, they can replace products, adjust climbing gear, and perform maintenance on bikes, skis, and snowboards. Staff members may also recommend their favorite trails, climbs, and rivers, or help customers embark on international adventure tours conducted by Austin-Lehman Adventures.
Years before Dan and Maria founded DBC City Bike design, the duo resolved to reduce their dependence on gasoline. This resolution led the couple to Europe, where they hopped aboard Dutch bicycles that redefined how they thought about comfort on two-wheeled mounts. When Dan and Maria returned stateside, they began importing and selling these revolutionary rides through their new store, The Dutch Bicycle Company (The DBC). However, the hills, long-distance commutes, and stairs that define many American cities revealed many inconveniences in the unmodified Dutch model, so DBC added City Bike design to its name and they began building their custom Swifts, calibrated to handle the rigors of urban, bike-riding lifestyles. Today, the founding couple and their design staff build these bikes to order, modify existing rides, and provide tune-ups that, like prison-gang relay races, keep chains moving smoothly and swiftly.
The first Giant-brand-owned bike shop in America, Giant Cycling World peddles Giant bicycles and accessories as well as merchandise from vendors such as Shimano, Fox, Michelin, and more. The store’s full-service repair shop caters to the two-wheeled needs of competitive cyclists, recreational riders, and commuters, most of whom depend on their mountain bikes to reach their otherwise-inaccessible mountain jobs. A resident bike buff will conduct a thorough standard tune-up on customers’ banana-seated steeds, beginning with an inspection of all the bikes’ parts. Next, the 10-speed technician will adjust derailleurs, brakes (which may require bleeding for an additional fee), headsets, and bottom brackets before tightening every last nut and bolt. Marvel as newly trued wheels spin with the youthful vigor of a newborn trike and freshly lubricated cables and chains make formerly squeaky structures as quiet as a mouse-wearing moccasins. After completing a wipe-down of the frame and fork, Giant’s pleasant pedal pros will release the bicycle back into the wild to join its pack. Should your foot-powered street stallion require more extensive work, the tune-up also includes a 50% discount on the labor needed to install new parts and accessories.
Papa Wheelie's caters to every type of rider, where they're simply looking for a quick way to get to the grocery store or are competing in a triathlon. The shop offers everything riders need to take to the streets, from cycling apparel and helmets to the bikes themselves?including options with an electronic drivetrain to make shifting easy in any terrain, whether pavement or quicksand. If you already own a bike but it's in need of repairs, a team of technicians can fix brakes or refit new wheels to keep you rolling in optimum condition. Then, once you're back on two wheels, you can join one of the shop's group rides to zoom around town with like-minded neighbors.