Being a cyclist might mean outfitting yourself in all spandex and going for weekend rides on your high-dollar Specialized ride. It might also mean riding to the farmers market in a sundress and putting organic kale in your wicker basket, ringing your bell as you head out. Maybe both are way off base and you just want a safe, cheap, and fun way to do your favorite outdoor exercise. In any case, there's a few helpful shops, groups, and apps to help Phoenix area cyclists get out there and get pedaling.
See also: 7 Best Group Bike Rides in Metro Phoenix
Tempe Bicycle Action Group
Whether this year was your first time riding on the Summer Solstice Swimsuit Ride or you've been a weekly C.R.A.P. rider for years, T.B.A.G. is about more than a bunch of silly acronyms and social rides. A big part of what this advocacy group does is work with the city to improve bike infrastructure and laws in Tempe. The volunteers who run the group have also been known to teach safety seminars for kids and even help run the annual Tour de Fat bike and beer festival with New Belgium Brewery and other local bike organizations. Anyone can join the cause, so if you're interested in making a difference for Tempe's cyclists, check outwww.biketempe.org for information on how to help.
From quickly fixing a flat tire to meticulously truing a wheel, there's a lot to learn about fixing up your whip. Well, the folks over at Rusty Spoke in downtown Phoenix are there to help you learn all of that and more -- free of charge. The nonprofit is focused on making bikes accessible in every way, regardless of how much cash you have on hand. The community education center, located in the PHX Bike Lab, also has a stock of ready-to-build-up bikes in case you need one to learn on.
Sure, you can buy new and used bikes that are ready to roll from Bicycle Cellar. However, the shop also functions as a commuter support facility conveniently located at the Tempe Transit Station. What is a commuter support facility? Well, showers, lockers, and monitored bike racks to lock up are only part of it. The friendly, knowledgeable staff is also there to help you with minor and major repairs, as well as lend their bike expertise in other areas.
The newly launched app is jam-packed with useful information for Phoenix cyclists. Whether you're a serious mountain trail rider, a casual weekend cruiser, or a daily bike commuter, the app probably has some useful information, as well as a suggested route, for you. Developed with the help of local bike shops, it's available on the iTunes app store completely free, so you might as well give it a test ride.
Having our very own bike brand is a pretty big part of showing that this city has a legit bike culture. And luckily the Phoenix-based State Bicycle Co. shows not only that but also that we have style. The brightly colored, simplistic single-speed and fixed gear bikes definitely look hip. However, with weekly rides and special alley cat races, State Bicycle is more than just a bike maker. They're also dedicated to expanding cycling in Phoenix and making it fun while they do it.
Before Phoenix had Rusty Spoke, Tempe had Bike Saviours. With over seven years serving the cycling community, this nonprofit bike collective has saved a lot of bikes. Although it started out in founder Allison Karow's backyard, it's since moved to a more commercial location off of Broadway Road and Roosevelt Street in Tempe. That doesn't mean the shop has gone commercial though -- they still offer free use of shop tools, maintenance and repair training, and cheap used parts. If you're looking to clean out your garage, you can also donate old bikes and bike parts to the shop.
Phoenix Spokes People
In a little over a year of existing, the Phoenix Spokes People have kind of accomplished an amazing amount of things all in the name of cycling in Phoenix. For one, the group attended every 2013 city budget hearing to be the voice of bikers, which, in turn, got the city to raise funding for bike infrastructure (i.e. bike lanes and such) to $1.5 million -- 30 times the previous allotment. Now the PSP are looking to become a lobby for cycling to make sure that riding bikes is an integral part of Arizona's political landscape. It's not all work, though. The group also organizes community rides like the 2013 bike bell Christmas choir and a ride to the ballpark with discounted baseball tickets.
Map My Ride
Though this app doesn't have a specific tie to Phoenix, if you have a lot of cyclist friends on social media, chances are you've already seen about 200 posts from this app. That's because the free app is basically a brag alert. You can show everyone just how far you've gone and how fast with a few simple taps on your smart phone. Aside from that, it's fun to share your favorite paths with your friends and this is probably the easiest way to do that.
Grid Bike Share
As we all anxiously await the launch of the Valley's first bike share program, which should be in the next couple months, it might be a good time to show support and get a membership for the program. In fact, if you sign up now, $99 gets you 32,850 minutes of riding annually (i.e. 90 minutes per day) as well as a Grid T-shirt, water bottle, and sunglasses. Plus, you don't have to worry about repairs and storage because you're sharing your bike with the rest of town.
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City-Specific Bicycle Programs
While independent bike organizations like Phoenix Spokes People and T.B.A.G. go for grassroots bike advocacy, many Valley cities have their own bike programs to help teach safety and work on measures to improve the quality of cycling for everyone. Here are some of the cities that have programs dedicated to bicycles: