Best Place to Get Your Bike Fixed While at Work

PHX Bike

PHX Bike

Have a mechanical snafu on the morning commute to work or need a quick repair from damage done on the weekend ride? PHX Bike is downtown Phoenix's little urban bike boutique that not only could, but is. Shop owner Palmer Martines can have a bike ready before it's time for the ride home. Break a spoke, need a derailleur adjustment, brakes freeze up, or drop a chain? No problem. If you're into two-wheel fun of any variety, this super-specialized, super-indie shop's got the goods for fixie, single-speed, road, or BMX varieties. Located in The Hub building, just south of Adams on Central, PHX Bikes is the only shop downtown to service bike commuters and ASU students. And, as with any good shop, the space is anchored by a comfy red couch.

Bicycle Haus

Set in Old Town Scottsdale, Bicycle Haüs is the town's ultimate cycling boutique. It carries drool-worthy, super-high-end lines like Rapha, Assos, Pinarello, and Colnago in a shop that is always immaculate. Even though it's got the stuff that can fill anyone with bike envy, it also has baseline bikes for those looking to cruise the Greenbelt or area canals. Haüs is a big supporter of local racing, sponsoring multiple teams as well as a local pro-level crit race. The very best part of the shop, though, is the collection of vintage Specialized and Schwinn bikes and race-worn bike jerseys that line the ceilings, making this place not only a shop but a museum. Be sure to look for the green jersey from the Tour de Romandie, won by the Valley's own Chad Beyer. Complete with a bar to sidle up to for chatting up the wrenches who seem to constantly be building a new dream bike, Bicycle Haüs may only look like it's for a few, but it really is for anyone who loves to pedal two wheels.

We're not sure why the titular character of Avril Lavigne's hit song "Sk8r Boi" was dubbed a loser. In our high school, the skater kids were some of our coolest classmates. And the chill cats behind the counters at Cowtown Skateboards are the same way, which makes us feel right at home. Maybe that's because the shop employs burgeoning kick-pushers who will give you their honest take on everything from trucks and shirts to decks and sneakers. When they're not hawking wheelie goods, you likely will find them out at local skate parks testing out tricks and gathering material for new videos. That's what makes the Cowtown team legit, and it's why we trust 'em above all others when it comes to grinding, carving, and flipping.

It's said that a chemist's best friend is the periodic table. If that's true, being BFFs with a tabular display of elements sounds like a boring existence, if you ask us. It might behoove said chemists to seek some new buddies, and, no, we're not talking about any greasy-haired teenagers eager for you to help them cook up. Instead, consider making acquaintances with the helpful and sociable staff at ChemLab Supply, who seem to have great chemistry with their customers (sorry, couldn't resist). If your latest experiment calls for sodium thiosulfate or cupric chloride, ChemLab Supply has 'em in stock at their South Phoenix retail location, as well as more than 600 other essential substances, oxidizers, and acids. And if you're feeling testy, the store also stocks kits for gauging pH levels, conductivity, and water purity. A full range of flasks, beakers, glassware, Bunsen burners, and lab equipment is available for purchase. ChemLab's been serving solvents since 1980 to a variety of local inventors and lab nerds. But if a badass bald-headed ex-teacher strolled in asking for thorium oxide and phenylacetone to make Blue Sky, they'd probably call the cops.

Best Place to Buy a Pet That Actually Belongs in Phoenix

Phoenix Reptile Expo

Do you own a chinchilla? If so, then you are a bad person and should feel bad about subjecting an animal to the Arizona heat. Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains and adapted to live at cool higher elevations. Arizona is probably as far as you can possibly get from that environment without shooting them into space. So what is a conscientious desert-dwelling animal lover to do?

Perhaps head over to the annual Phoenix Reptile Expo held at the Mesa Convention Center. Whether you are looking for a new tank for your 15-foot boa constrictor or just a hot rock for your favorite scaly friend, this reptile convention has you covered. Beyond upgrading your current reptile enclosure, you can also look forward to browsing through a huge array of new reptile companions. Local and national vendors sell everything from corn snakes to bearded dragons. The expo goes down in November, and tickets will run you $12 for adults and $5 for children. There is a $2 admission coupon available on their webpage.

Best Place to Prepare for the End of the World As We Know It

Arizona Survivalist Show

Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force Museum

If you have ever had even a passing interest in preparing for the End Of The World As We Know It (EOTWAWKI) then you'll probably want to check out this Mesa convention. Held in the hangars of the Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force Museum, this "prepper" convention has all your bases covered. Here you can pick up the very latest in personal post-apocalyptic protection, a good example of which is the Crovel, a combination of a multi-tool and a sharpened shovel suited for hacking down a tree or hacking off someone's head.

Sportsman's Fine Wines & Spirits

If you can't find a bottle of wine you like somewhere in Sportsman's 1,500-plus bottle collection then you probably need to admit to yourself that maybe you don't like wine – or that you're the snobbiest wine snob in all the land. For more than 25 years, Sportsman's has been offering Phoenicians the best selection of wines in town. Whether it's that perfect bottle of malbec or an oaky chardonnay, the Sportsman's team can help you find what you're looking for. Since wine shopping can sometimes be stressful, head over to their tasting room to decompress with a glass of something red and an impressive cheese plate.

We're not claiming to be experts in the world of hunting, but we do know that the telltale sign of a good taxidermist appears when you find yourself seriously debating whether the stuffed animal you see is alive. That's the reaction that Chris Kruger strives for with every animal he preserves — from bears to bass, bison to bobcats.

Working alongside his wife, Mary, who specializes in animal rugs, Kruger considers himself an innovator in the world of taxidermy. Having practiced the art full-time since 1985, Kruger tries to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to developing more advanced techniques, creating his own materials from scratch, and capturing not just the most vivid animals but also some of their most epic moments in nature.

As you enter Kruger’s at-home studio, you’ll pass by a life-size javelina leaping into the air as a snake extends its body to sink its teeth into the poor mammal’s leg. Traces of the glossy, saliva-covered cactus that the boar had been feasting on still nestled around the grooves of his teeth. It’s details like this that set Kruger apart. If you want further testimony to his craft, you can find his mounts at the Smithsonian Institution and in sporting-goods stores around town. See a slideshow here.

In 1996, Phoenix-based entrepreneur Christina Carlino decided to put her beauty school knowledge and life philosophy to work. The then-34-year-old had had plenty of experience in the beauty industry (she worked for plastic surgeons in Hollywood and developed the BioMedic line that's now sold in plastic surgery offices around the country). As the story goes, the idea for Philosphy skin care came to Carlino while she was hiking Squaw Peak. She was going through a hard time and looked up to see a rainbow. From that rainbow came a book of poems, and from that book came a internationally successful skincare company. Carlino started small, but the business grew quickly. She not only developed the original fragrances, but she wrote the poems on the backs of all her products — a moisturizer called "hope in a jar," a scrub called "deeply superficial," and a perfume called "pure grace," to name a few. And she chose the imagery for each label that you can now pick up at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, and QVC (though in Phoenix, we still have our own standalone stores). Carlino sold the company to the Carlyle Group in 2007, and the brand was acquired by perfume maker Coty Inc. in 2010, though Carlino still vouches for the brand. Her Phoenix-based life now is a little more low-key, with a focus on family and smaller singing and songwriting ventures, which you can hear all about on her website.

Phoenix artist Christy Puetz works on her animal creations with a long needle, a collection of glass seed beads, and countless peyote stitches. Her fragile, delicate, and painstakingly detailed creatures come from a variety of backgrounds and stories. In 2011, she created a collection of “shapeshifting” creatures shown at Modified Arts, and, in 2009, she showcased a series of birds with beaded patterns inspired by the microscopic appearances of diseases including herpes and chlamydia. Together, her animals create a story line played out in the artist’s mind. Over the summer, Puetz was an artist in residence at [email protected] (located inside Scottsdale Civic Center Library), where she worked for a public audience and hosted workshops that fed into the exhibition, titled “Monsters and Squirrels,” that surrounded her.

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