Deep in the tony part of Bernal Heights sometimes known as La Lengua lies Heavy Metal Bike Shop, a full-service repair destination that’s far from any map-wielding tourists. Mission fixed gear bike aficionados and devoted Bernal cyclists both find refuge at this no-nonsense shop, which offers everything from derailleur adjustments to basic tune ups, with affordability in mind. You can browse the random assortment of used bikes lying around or dash out for a burrito while your bike is being worked on, returning with the knowledge that it's been spiffed up nice and you haven't been overcharged. And you’ll likely also walk out with sound advice on how to keep things rolling for years to come.
Housed inside of a graffiti-slathered old garage, Pedal Revolution is a non-profit bike shop. Inside, bicycle frames and wheels hang from the ceiling, while merchandise and decoration mix throughout the walls of the store. This is not only a terrific place for an alignment, but also a job training center for at-risk youth, where interns get hands-on training in how to run a small business, as well as the more mechanical aspects. Selection is on the smaller side, but the prices undercut nearly all the neighborhood’s power players. For the last fifteen or so years, Pedal Revolution has been keeping the Mission’s burgeoning cycling culture going, doing good all the while.
Watch your head and elbows when you step inside Refried Cycles, the Castro bicycle shop that’s bursting with hubs and spokes, as well as a friendly canine. Avid cyclists love this place for their integrity and passion, but the less-obsessive rider won’t be repelled by snobby attitudes like at so many other neighborhood bike shops. This isn’t the shop for high-end, fresh-from-the-factory bikes, but for tune-ups on your older model or digging up a used bike with lots of personality, Refried Cycles is a great place to start. For most locals, there’s no need to scour the internet for your next set of wheels, when Refried offers so many quality second-hand rides that have been rehabbed and ride as good as new.
The best way to experience San Francisco’s natural beauty is atop one of Mission Bicycle’s custom-built rides. The shop’s craftsmen tweak their city-friendly bikes to customers’ exact specifications. The result: bikes light enough to pedal over the city’s steepest hills, yet solid enough to last a lifetime.