City Bikes Very Close to Opening Up on Barracks Row

Photo courtesy of Barracks Row Main Street

City Bikes looks very close to opening up on Barracks Row at 709 8th St, SE in the old Capitol Hill Bikes space.

Capitol Hill Bikes is now located down the block at 719 8th St, SE.

I’m typing this post from NW but I’m pretty sure I just heard a very loud “God Dammnit” echo through the wind…

Think Barracks Row can support two bike shops?

29 Comment

  • Now I can get snooty, crappy service on Capitol Hill as well as Adams Morgan.

    • +1,000. i try to avoid that place for exactly that reason. bike mechanics who look down the ends of their noses at my beater commuter bike don’t make me fell like patronizing their stores if i can go anywhere else…

      • I worked at the city bikes in Adams Morgan for a bit last summer and couldn’t believe how horrible the customer service is (as an employee). Service was not emphasized, but pushing customers on bikes was. Rarely would they have all the models and sizes built and ready to go, so often a customer would come in, see a bike they liked and then I’d have to make up some reason why they should buy that very model and not the one that actually fits them (because it was still in a box in the warehouse). The management was extremely pushy with its employees, and made the employees compete ruthlessy with one another to get higher sales. Often would I put in the hours with a customer going through all the options and models,. they give you the “Ok, well I’ll think about it” and eventually when they do come back a couple days later to buy the bike and all the accessories you’ve suggested, your “colleague” would steal the sale and brag about their numbers.

        I’ve worked at bike shops for years and always prided myself on my ability to help customers with kids bikes, entry level commuters all the way up to custom built titanium frames with custom wheels and hubs. Very sad to see that this franchise is actually expanding. This place doesn’t care about the bike community or its customers, and if they hire a solid, knowledgable employee, you can guarentee that that person won’t last longer than a month.

    • +1001. Any place that makes a snotty comment about how “beat up” my freaking mountain bike is with (gosh forbid) some paint scraped off the cranks and a little mud under the seat is no place for me.

    • My thoughts exactly. If Capitol Hill Bikes can continue to provide non-douchey service then they’ll be just fine.

  • stopped in there on Saturday and they were more or less open and helped us out. i hope they can, i actually prefer them to cap hill bikes.

  • This might be a dumb question as I’m not much of a biker but want to start…

    when I was about to pump my tires the other day the little metal part popped inwards… what do I do now?

    • Unless you can get the valve stem (the little metal part) to pop out the hole in the rim again by pushing on the tire, you will need to buy/borrow some tire irons, pop the tire part of the way off the rim, push the valve stem back out the hole using your fingers, and then use the tire irons to put the tire back on the rim. It is pretty easy if you have tire irons, and is good practice for fixing a flat. You should be able to find a video demo on You Tube for fixing a flat tire (which will include all of the steps described above, plus some others), and tire irons at any bike shop.

      Happy biking – wear a helmet!

  • went to city bikes in adams morgan on saturday. really good, affordable service on my not at all fancy bike.

    • yeah, I’ve brought my 6 year old Trek 4500 mountain bike in there several times. It’s not a junker but it’s no beauty queen either. It has its share of scratches and abuse.

      Anyways, I’ve never had a problem with their service or prices. I’ve worked with Capitol Hill bikes too, I found them to be equally friendly.

  • bike shops are like guitar shops. you must bow down to the gurus and accept that you’re not worthy.

    that said, you certainly don’t have to have a fancy bike to be treated well there. those guys have great appreciation for vintage bikes that people use well. they generally get annoyed by yuppie snobs (aw crap, mirror) who buy an expensive bike and never ride it. but they’ll be more than happy to take your money, regardless.

    just don’t try to out talk any of them with what you read on the internet or some guy told you – showing off their knowledge is part of their job satisfaction.

  • How much did City Bikes pay you to say nice things about them?

    What does City Bikes care about?
    – Volume and Profit

    What should a bike shop care about?
    – community & customer service
    – profit & volume

    What’s missing from City Bikes?

  • When is a bike “vintage” and when is it just “old?” (I have a 30 year old Bianchi 12 speed I’m thinking of donating or selling, but do people even want these bikes anymore?

    • Yes. depending on the condition of the bike, it could be quite a nice piece for someone to work on. I myself enjoy working on older bikes because they are simple enough and require less tools than fixing motorcycles or cars

    • Yes – people still want them (if they’re in decent/operable condition). Plus, doing the fixed-gear conversion thing on a solid frame is ever popular, especially among hipsters.

      I’d venture a guess you could fetch 100 bucks on craigslist.

  • City Bikes has some very expensive bikes. Most were certainly out of my price range, at least in the style I like. I go there to get new tubes though and other random things and I like it. There are professional and nice.

    In February I was at Eastern Market and figured I would stop over at Capitol Hill Bikes to check out some toe clips and see about getting my handlebars raised. The mechanic was a dick and super sarcastic. He told me that I could but then my handlebars would come off and I would go lose a bunch of teeth. I was confused. He then explained why in a way that made me leave feeling like an idiot. I’m moving to the Hill so I’m happy to hear I will have an option other the Capitol Hill Bikes.

    • Absolutely need to go to BikeSPACE at I and 6 NW (ish). They know what they’re doing and they’re not douches.

  • I was just at Capitol Hill Bikes today…everyone was friendly. I have purchased a few items for my commuter bike over the course of the past seven months (my bike commuting history) and for the most part they have been cool.

    But yeah, I think I have encountered some dooshiness there in the past.

  • Honestly, even if they’re going to treat me like crap, it’ll be nice to have another option on the Hill. I go to Bicycle Space when I can, but sometimes I need to pick something up closer to home, and those Cap Hill Bikes people are aggressively douchetastic.

  • Could you explain the “God Damnit” line? I don’t understand.

  • isn’t bicycle space run by a bunch of folks who came from city bikes? my experiences there have proved to be the opposite of city bikes in every way. which is why i go there.

    • Yes, BicycleSpace is owned and run a by a lot of ex-City Bikes people, but seemingly just all the good ones. It’s a complete night and day difference from City Bikes. No attitude, really helpful staff, very cool shop.

      • YES! They saved me a ton on a cargo bike recently and they take great care of their customers. The kickstand needed some adjusting and they spent a good 30 minutes machining a small spacer for me. That’s a ton of extra effort and I appreciate it. Worth the extra pedaling from Barracks Row

      • yes, this is true

  • yeah, i spose i wrote that wrong…i think they knew what they were doing when they left and became bicycle space. brilliant.

  • I just bought a bike from City Bikes in Adams Morgan before this one was open. I am excited that they will now be on 8th (I live near eastern market). I stopped in on sat. with my bike and they were more or less open already. The people were friendly and were more than willing to help me out with the question I had.

  • Fixing your own bike is well within reach of anyone with the urge. Get a used bike, buy a few used tools, and you’ll be well on your way to avoiding all the bike-repair douch-iness prevalent in DC. Seriously, it ain’t nuclear rocket surgery, folks. Drop the gears and an 8 y.o. could do it.

    • Well, I would say wheel truing is the most difficult thing, not gears. Wheel truing is the one thing I can’t do as well as a bike shop that has a truing stand.

      That said, I completely agree with you. After getting talked down to by City Bike maintenance guys one too many times, I vowed to never use them again. I researched bicycle mechanics like mad and bought all the tools I would need. I tore an old bike down to the frame and rebuilt it as a rock-solid single speed. I no longer inconvenience City Bikes with my bike problems.

      I will check out Capitol Hill Bikes, though. I would like to buy my tubes and stuff locally rather than online if I can find a good shop.

  • can’t recommend the bike house enough! i think it’s been discussed here before, but it’s a co-op operating behind qualia coffee in petworth, they provide the tools and will help you fix your bike, showing you how to do it yourself (while doing more complicated things for you). it’s free and awesome:

    no snobs!

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