Spokes have populated the space around 1630 West University Avenue for 65 years, turning stoically as numerous bike shops have come and gone. The spot’s newest cycling incarnation, Chain Reaction Bike Shop, owes its staying power to owner Raleigh Faust and his staff of experts who cater to collegiate commuters, recreational cyclists, and serious athletes alike. Inside the unvarnished wooden storefront, rows of rides from Scott, Jamis Bicycles, and Surly await ownership. Every bike purchased at the shop comes with a lifetime of free service adjustments, making owning a bike as hassle-free as combing a hairless cat. Technicians see to these new rides, taking more than a dozen measurements for individualized fittingsand performing maintenance services that range from spot repairs to comprehensive tune-ups.
Brasingtons Adventure Outfitters' knowledgeable staff arms outdoor recreationists with a vast array of rugged, nature-ready products from well-known national brands. Shield eyes from sunlight and hairdos from jealous wind gusts with a variety of Columbia hats ($14–$45). Mountain Safety Research's PocketRocket portable stove ($39.95) lets campers boil 1 liter of water in less than 3.5 minutes, leaving plenty of time to mark trails with jelly beans and give a CamelBak water bottle ($8–$35) to a thirsty bear. In addition to suiting up warriors for battle with the great unknown, Brasingtons also hosts adventurous events, including kayaking demos on the Santa Fe River every Saturday.
Bicycle Clinic’s owner has been selling bikes by Vilano, 3G, Green Line, and Benotto, and servicing two-wheelers of all makes and models, for more than two decades. Complete tune-ups include inspection of all components, lubrication, brake and gear adjustment, cable and housing inspection, and wheel truing, which teaches wheels to center themselves until they experience the peace necessary to destroy enemy wheels. Riders who are within 20 miles of the shop can have a mobile mechanic pick up their pre-tuned cycles free of charge and take them back to the full-service repair station. Bicycle Clinic's cycle gurus also cosmetically spiff up vintage and new bikes with custom restoration and frame-painting services that restore rusty cruisers to their former banana-seat glory or emblazon flames upon stems and top tubes. Steed-less riders can still enjoy a leisurely ride down Jacksonville's quiet streets and drag-racing strips with rentals of new 3G beach cruisers, regularly rotated to keep stock fresh.
Escape impending donkey invasions by taking your cobwebbed bicycle out of its dusty nook and bringing it in to Bike Fitters. The bike geniuses know how to make a rust-riddled beater ride as smoothly as a hoverboard, and today's Groupon will get you a full basic bike tune-up. Bike Fitters' skilled mechanics inspect the bike from top to bottom, taking care to note any signs of wear or nests of raccoons. Wheels are adjusted, tire inflation perfected, sticky bits lubed, and brakes primed to optimum efficacy. Following the wheedling, the mechanics also perform a test ride, ensuring optimum safety during the course of all motorless, thigh-powered exploration. Whether you purchased your bike from Bike Fitters or not, they know how to make it a well-oiled, land-cruising machine that will never burst into flames for no reason. See here for Bike Fitters' extensive bike tune-up checklist.
The pedal experts at Santos Bike Shop pair shoppers with loaner two wheelers and quality gear and fix up bicycles to ensure their road- and trail-worthiness. Among the Giant bikes available for rental, the Revel 1 ($25/day, $200 deposit) sports a lightweight ALUXX aluminum frame, and the patriotic Anthem X 3 29er's ($45/day, deposit is cost of bike) 29-inch wheels and Maestro suspension inspires bald eagles to fly in victory lap formation. Protect noggins with Giant Talos helmets ($44.99) and keep hands shielded from handlebar burn with a pair of Spenco T.2 Elite riding gloves ($49).
The experienced staff at Zone 5 Coffee & Bikes tweaks two-wheeled transporters and helps kick-start your ride with caffeinated drinks. Feel free to grab a coffee—brewed with organic Jittery Joe’s or locally roasted Lucky Goat Coffee beans—or munch on their specialty muffins and assorted breakfast pastries. Coffee isn't the only brew they stock—there's also a rotating selection of six craft beers on hand, such as SweetWater 420, Highlands oatmeal stout, and Bell’s amber ale. As you kick back inside, you can check the weather for your upcoming bike ride on the free WiFi connection.
Back in the repair room, Zone 5’s seasoned technicians work tirelessly to tune-up and fix up bikes. In addition to providing bike maintenance, Zone 5 also has a stable of bikes for sale as well as gooey cinnamon rolls big enough to replace a flat tire.