In 2001, husband-and-wife team Todd and Anne realized two of their biggest dreams: they started a family and opened The Bike Lane. Throughout the store, bikes by Trek, Electra, Felt, Mirraco, and Surly lean on their kickstands alongside accessories such as water bottles, bells, or high-heeled spokes for date night. Certified staffers leap down from their stationary penny-farthings to perfectly match riders with new bikes through fit services that are free with purchase of a triathlon/TT, road, or mountain bike. In the repair shop, mechanics with 40 years of combined experience service bikes, overhauling brakes, installing parts, or custom-fitting wheels. To stay connected with its network of riders, The Bike Lane organizes educational safety events, advocates for bicycle-friendly communities, and sponsors more than 50 cycling events per year.
The passionate bike enthusiasts at Bikenetic are biased and they know it. They love bicycles, considering them to be the most efficient mode of transportation on the planet, and work painstakingly to connect each customer with the right ride. Carrying a host of name-brand bikes, staff members point customers to available models that match one's riding style, size, and propensity to wear clown shoes. Customers can take bikes for a test ride, then bring their feedback to sales reps who can make adjustments and send bikers out to test the bike again or to pick up some snacks. Any bike bought at Bikenetic also falls under the protective umbrella of the shop's free lifetime-maintenance policy, which covers services such as brake adjustments, wheel truing, and bearing adjustments. Technicians restore and care for bikes that they haven't sold, as well, offering prompt and expert advice from behind the counter of their shop's service desk. The staff also leads their rallying cry of biker solidarity every Tuesday evening in Wakefield Park, where they lead mountain-biking night rides.
Pacers provides a large inventory of running shoes, apparel, and more in its new P Street location. Highly trained employees, who earned a 2009 ABBIE for Best Customer Service, help customers select the proper footwear, taking into account individual fitness levels, previous injuries, running goals, and the results of Pacers' complimentary gait analysis. After the hoof assessment, match needs with fashionable racing boots from brands such as Asics, Saucony, Brooks, and Nike (average price is $100). Runners can show off triple-striped sleeves with an Adidas zip-up top ($65) or wrap themselves in Nike shorts (starting at $28), tops (starting at $25), and pants (starting at $55). To quench runner's thirst or ensure buoyancy after running into a kiddie pool, strap on a water belt ($50).
Since 1958, Bicycle Pro Shop has helped find a matching mount for everyone from little kids just learning to pedal to United States presidents. The staff of experienced technicians—all avid cyclists themselves, including the owner, Serge, who spent 10 years as a competitive cyclist in France—oversees a stock of hybrids and road bikes from brands such as Cannondale, Scott, and Giant. In the service center, mechanics tighten up loose screws with thorough tune-ups and perform meticulous adjustments of minor yet important details such as the angle of the saddle and the crispness of the baseball cards in the spokes.
Golf Swing Exchange electronically disseminates professional, personalized tips and tricks to players of all skill levels through swing assessments, clinics, and memberships that provide access to its golfing resources. A player embarking on basic swing analysis first pays a visit to the outfit's golf-performance center, where he or she takes practice swings for 30 minutes while a video camera records each drive, chip, and tap-in. Within 24 hours of the session, a PGA professional takes a close look at the recording and offers his expertise via a follow-up virtual lesson, complete with specific drills to correct improper techniques, such as basketball-style dunking. After practicing the drills, the player may submit two more recordings for additional follow-up virtual lessons, ensuring that game-injuring issues heal completely.
Basic membership with Golf Swing Exchange is free, and includes access to its stats tracking, golf tips, and tee-booking system. Golfers can also upgrade for a fee to receive virtual lessons or advanced golf instruction.