With that in mind, here are five great places in metro Phoenix where well-versed staffers will help get you set up with the right gear.
Sunday Cycles Bike Shop
This small, family-owned bicycle shop caters to the “anyone cyclist” with a down-to-earth team that can pair you with a bike that fits you and your cycling needs. “Everyone that comes into the store has a story,” shop owner Joe Berman says. Whether riding is your only form of transportation, you’re an up-and-coming cyclist, or you're just looking to hit the trails, “it all comes down to people wanting to ride bikes,” he says.
For Berman and his staff, cycling in one form or another is a passion they all share, and creating an environment that feels like home and supports any style of rider is the foundation on which the shop was built. Aside from a variety of cycles displayed throughout the shop, custom builds are also an option, and there is a build-and-repair shop located within the store. Sunday Cycles also offers an array of gear to support any trip, from road biking to bike-packing with hydration packs, clothing, headgear, gloves, eye wear, tool kits, jet boils, and nutrition such as dehydrated meals, bars, protein powders, and gel packs. The shop also hosts a Wednesday night mountain bike ride. Find details at the Sunday Cycles Facebook page.
Arizona Hiking Shack
This mom-and-pop shop has been serving outdoor junkies since 1972. Originally located in Cave Creek, Arizona Hiking Shack is now more centrally located at 3244 East Thomas Road in Phoenix. AHS focuses on hiking, backpacking, and climbing gear, generally catering to intermediate adventurists and above. It's apparent upon entering the store that customer service is a huge focus. Beyond knowledgeable staff, the store offers great opportunities to try out new outdoor experiences without having to drop a ton of cash, as it has a large array of rentals. Backpacks, snow shoes, trekking poles, climbing gear, kayaks, and paddleboards are among equipment available to rent at all times.
AHS also offers an array of classes such as first aid and CPR certification taught by certified members of the Mountain Medix staff, as well as in-store and field-training classes on desert safety, backpacking, map and compass reading, and canyoneering, all of which can be found at the AHS website. Oh, and if they don't have a particular item you're looking for in stock, they'll special order it.