Three cyclists cruise the calm banks of the James River; one rides a brand new Gary Fisher, one sits atop a tuned-up fixed gear, and the other tests out a Trek rental bike—all thanks to Bikes Unlimited. The store’s downtown location, housed inside a historical brick building constructed in 1897, is stocked with mountain, road, and BMX bikes along with gear such as cycling computers, trainers, and jerseys. Mechanics at the downtown and Wyndhurst locations are on hand to perform necessary tune-ups and repairs, but the shop’s support for the cycling community doesn’t end there; the staff leads regular group rides, helps to build and maintain local mountain-bike trails, and sends cheetahs in pursuit of racers as a motivational tool.
Over its 30 year history, The Dive Shop has trained over 10,000 new scuba divers and earned the honor of being a five-star PADI Instructor Development Center, without ever switching owners. The same teachers who helped the first class of students discover the underwater world now aid their children and grandchildren in making the same discovery through Open Water Certification diving courses and introductory lessons. They start beginners off in the safety of local pools, before plumbing the depths of Lake Rawlings during certification dives.
In the front windows of Balance Bike Shop, the mechanics have put a slick collection of bikes on display—bicycles that are positioned in a way one might expect to see sculptures in a gallery. And its this type of love—or, this type of care—for bikes that rings true throughout the shop and workshop area, where mechanics perform all manner of services, from tune-ups and flat repairs to frame preparation and complete builds. For all services, the shop guarantees that every bike leaves the shop in better shape than when it was brought in through or crashed into the front door. To accomplish such a task, the crew uses and stocks various cycling components, accessories, and tools from top industry manufacturers.
Riverside Outfitters works to get Richmond-ers out on the water, up into the trees, and out on the trails with a variety of natural outdoor excursions. The staff helps locals and visitors engage with the area's rich landscape, guiding fleets of rafts, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and innertubes down the James River, which the Daily Press described as having "the only urban whitewater rafting experience available in the country." High ropes courses and climbing seminars teach first-timers how to nimbly break from gravity's embrace, while outdoor summer camps teach kids to engage wildlife without the scratchy fingers that come from texting with tree bark.
The Bicycle Chain is a chain of specialty bike stores offering bicycles, service, and repair, as well as cycling accessories. These titans of two-wheelers contain full-service repair centers staffed with friendly, knowledgeable salespeople and qualified technicians. Today's Groupon is good for one Tune-Up package, which gives any chromatic cruiser the attention needed to forgo future therapy and remain comfortable for riding. All brakes, shifters, brackets, and bearings, as well as the tire pressure, will be adjusted to the ideal level for riding safely over a vast field of banana peels. Frames and forks will be polished, and chains and gears wiped down and lubricated where necessary. Cranks, bolts, and pedals will be tightened until the bike is ready to be cleaned and polished like Yul Brynner's head. Post primping, The Bicycle Chain's mechanics will advise you of any problem areas, such as a worn brake pad or piece of spinach in your teeth.