A knowledgeable staff that includes tennis instructors and former touring pros helps customers navigate the aisles of racket-sports equipment inside the two locations of Courtside Tennis & Apparel. A demo program lends out rackets from brands such as Babolat and Wilson for patrons to try out on the court or at John McEnroe–themed parties, and same-day stringing services get gear serve-worthy in a hurry.
Steelhead on the lower Feather River. Peacock bass on the Amazon River. Tarpon on Mexican flats. The guides of American Fly Fishing Co. have taken anglers in search of these fish on fly-fishing adventures around the world. When not wading through forested streams and rivers, they staff American Fly Fishing’s shop, advising guests on fly tackle, fly-tying equipment, and other gear from brands such as Korkers, Sage, and Abel Reels. They also impart their expertise through classes and clinics, such as private fly-casting lessons. In addition to serving anglers, American Fly Fishing’s team supports a number of conservation programs, and encourages catch-photograph-exchange-emails-and-release practices to help sustain the American River and other nearby waters.
Anything you might need between the front and back wheel can likely be found at Bob's Cycle Center. The shop carries bicycles for all terrains and riding styles, from road bikes to mountain bikes and cruisers from brands such as Trek, Marin, and Electra. They also carry a wide selection of parts—like brakes, handlebars, and chains—as well as tires, tubes, and wheels. And then there are the repair technicians: expert mechanics who can coax maximum performance out of your bike by giving it a tune-up or a heartfelt lecture on the importance of flossing between its spokes.
Bob's Cycle Center carries all of this for bikes, but they have riders covered too. Bike-owners can peruse a selection of outerwear, jerseys, shorts, and bib tights from Bontrager, as well as helmets, gloves, and shoes.
The faculty at MVP Sports Unlimited includes three trainers versed in Nike's SPARQ method, a former Seattle Mariner, and a coach with a 25-year career in fast-pitch softball. Baseball, softball, and soccer players flock to the 15,000-square-foot center for one-on-one instruction and to finesse team dynamics, relying on a practice space whose climate stays consistent without the hoopla of rain dances. Inside, a 3,500-square-foot turf training field stretches out under 15-foot ceilings and is flanked by six 70-foot batting tunnels. A pitching mound and an L screen equips each of these, and the staff can wheel in either a Bata machine capable of hurling a 95 mph fastball or an Iron Mike machine that visibly winds up to help batters work on timing. A pro shop sells gear for practice, and an arcade and a lounge with WiFi entertain sidelined visitors.
Granite Arch Climbing Center doesn’t just teach its visitors how to surmount cliff faces, it prepares them to climb out in the wild. That’s because the facility is divided into different areas that replicate the characteristics of rockfaces around the world. Clients can climb their way up the pin-scarred granite of Yosemite, the horizontal cracks characteristic of upstate New York’s Gunks, or the limestone pockets and tufas found in Thailand. In between these internationally inspired rockfaces, climbers can practice basic skills on bouldering walls and belaying paths. Classes are also available to teach clients the basics or help established climbers advance to more difficult paths. Staff can also help form lasting birthday memories with parties, in which partygoers learn the basics before blowing out their candles and eating the wall.
A bounty of firearms supplies bolsters Ammo Depot’s roster of gun training and safety courses. During the Handguns 101 course, first-timers learn how to operate a firearm by reviewing ammunition and firearm fundamentals, shooting positions, and handgun-cleaning techniques before testing out their newfound skills at the range. Instructors also enlighten pupils with a trio of NRA courses, which include the Basic Pistol course, Personal Protection Inside the Home, and Personal Protection Outside the Home courses. Back in the shop, ammunition comes by the box or in bulk, and visitors can peruse a selection of targets, ear and eye protection, or basic firearm accessories.