Last week, numerous Kingstonians spotted what appears to be Google’s streetview mapping vehicle, once again taking stock of the Limestone City’s transportation network. There was, however, a small twist this time around, as the vehicle seen towing the streetview apparatus was in fact a bicycle. Further, it appeared to be mapping bike lanes as opposed to the remainder of the grid, which arguably has not changed much since Google’s last glimpse. This got us talking around the dinner table about the recent strides Kingston has made to expand our network of bike lanes, the long way we have to go before we’re truly a bicycle-friendly city, the sharrow fiasco, the success of the rack and roll program and everything in between.
As much as we advocate for and encourage discussion about ways to improve Kingston’s transit system, today we’re taking a different approach and focusing our attention on independent businesses who specifically and directly support cycling. There are lots of big box retailers who sell bikes when the season arrives, but we’re more so interested in the little guy, who tirelessly caters to the dedicated cycling masses, trailer riders and triathletes.
- A’Hoy Rentals, 23 Ontario Street: touted as Kingston’s only on the water equipment rental store, A’hoy does bikes ($5/hour, $25/day) and tandems ($6/hour, $30/day). Of course, they also do kayaks, canoes and small sail boats.
- BBs Cycle, 154 Division St: rentals ($5/hour for a minimum of 2 hours, or $25 day), repairs and sale of used bikes, a stone’s throw away from Queen’s and the Hub. A humble establishment operating out of the owner’s residence.
- Cyclepath, 471 Princess St: one of the larger specialty stores, with racks of gleaming bikes for every style of riding, and all the gear you could ever need. Family-owned and operated since 1997. Full service honest repairs, and decent prices.
- Cycle Wolfe Island: although technically not on the main land, Cycle Wolfe Island offers bike rentals for $15 (half day) and $25 (full day). They ask that customers refrain from taking bikes off of the Island over to Cape Vincent or Kingston.
- Frontenac Cycle, 336 Barrie St: another one of the larger shops, again with lots of selection, gear, apparel, and full service should you need it. Celebrating 40 years in the business, they’ve earned a reputation for honest service and fair prices.
- Gears and Grinds, 42 Queen St: a favorite haunt of triathletes and serious cycling enthusiasts. These guys take great pride in showcasing the best bikes and gear. Stepping foot inside is somewhat intimidating, but folks behind the counter are friendly.
- J&J Cycle, 550 Days Rd: serving Kingston’s cyclists for over 35 years, J&J operates out of the west end store. With over 150 bicycles on display at their spacious showroom, they pride themselves on providing great products and service.
- R L Fletcher Bicycle Repair, 916 Portsmouth Ave: another in-house repair service and seller of used bicycles. These guys strive to put the customer first, and when it comes to regular maintenance, they don’t charge for little things like air and oil.
- Ted’s Road & Triathlon, 477 Princess St: a relative new comer to Kingston’s cycling scene, Ted’s is an offshoot of Cyclepath. Aside from road and tri candy, Ted offers fitting services to ensure your bike is configured perfectly to your body size.
- Yellow Bike Action, 23 Carlisle St: a volunteer-run bike shop which has been providing reconditioned bikes for sale and inexpensive bike repairs since 2000. Outgrown bikes can even be brought in and traded up with the time comes.
Did we miss any locally owned, independent champions of cycling? Drop off your comments on the local bike shop and rental industry below.
Thanks and credit for today’s photo to gorbould.