As a 12-season veteran of the United States Cycling Federation who also holds a master’s degree in philosophy, Bicycle South Windsor LLC owner Peter Di Pietro takes a thoughtful approach to cycling. Discerning in the curation of gear, Di Pietro pilots a shop that carries new, used, and rental bicycles by brands such as Masi, Haro, Schwinn, and GT. He also oversees and performs same-day repairs and tune-ups that carry a service guarantee for a full calendar year—a generous timeframe that allows riders to cruise confidently over the course of the spring, summer, fall, winter, and bike-jousting season.
Within Stone Age Rock Gym's indoor facility, 4,500 square feet of textured climbing walls help visitors ascend to new heights. Bouldering, 32-foot lead routes, and top-rope climbing areas await gym guests, surrounding them in technicolor handholds that creep up the walls at challenging angles. Elsewhere, a simulated ice-climbing wall absorbs the blows of axes, and a gear shop preps climbers to ascend walls with the dexterity of Spiderman.
A staff of certified guides lead classes that teach students as young as 6 the fundamental skills needed to ascend simulated peaks. Alternatively, the experts head up guided climbing trips to sites across the state. They help eager climbers scale the 30-foot Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow and reach the Sasquatch hugs awaiting them atop Ragged Mountain's 120-foot cliff.
New England Ski & Scuba's staff touts many years of experience, training, and personal enjoyment in the realm of winter and water sports, making the shop a trustworthy source for gear and general know-how. Inside, visitors navigate through an extensive selection of new and used equipment, apparel, and accessories from the industry's leading brands. To ensure it remains on the cutting-edge of product development, the shop communicates directly with most of those manufacturers through an intricate system of yodeling. The shop also offers repairs, tune-ups, and classes.
For more than 50 years, the Wolfs have run Bloomfield Bicycle & Repair Shop, outfitting cyclists with the bikes best suited to their customers’ needs such as Schwinn mountain and Jamis street bikes. They can even pair up couples with tandem bikes and the pedal-weary with electric bikes. Besides slipping cyclists into bike shoes, gloves, and vests, they also mend and maintain all kinds of bikes, from traditional two-wheelers to electric bikes and scooters.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
PGA-certified professional golf instructor Keith Everett has spent 12 years teaching beginner and advanced clubbers, currently mentoring within the meandering creeks and colorful foliage of Farmington Woods. With a philosophy that mistakes are rooted at the setup of each tee, Keith schools orb-clobbering students on the game's fundamentals prior to recommending changes to their swings. An evaluation of the trainee's clubs is followed by a computer-aided analysis of the student's swing from different angles, played back to the pupil. Following a review of the evidence, Keith recommends necessary changes to irons, woods, and swing technique. Throughout the process, Keith encourages players to stretch their reconfigured wings by practicing on the putting green, chipping area, driving range, on the course itself, and anywhere other than on top of the hood of their boss’s BMW.