Sweet Pete's main bike shop occupies a huge 4000 square foot space on Bloor in between Dufferin and Lansdowne. A former Loblaws grocery store many moons ago, its current tenant has been servicing the needs of the "everyman" cyclist for over 15 years. This isn't the place to pick up a Cervelo R5, but if you're a casual urban rider — be it as a commuter or a hobbyist — you're likely to find what you need here.
That's not to say that the store eschews the high end altogether so much as to point out who the target customer is. If you want a $4000 bike, Sweet Pete's has a few of those to take a look at. But, as manager Owen Gerrard tells me, the store's "sweet spot" price range for bike sales is $650-$750, and city/hybrid bikes make up about 30 per cent of overall business. Main bike brands in Pete's lineup include Trek, Giant, Kona and Opus. On the clothing and accessories end, you'll find PAC, Gore Bikewear, Suguoi, Bell, and Kryptonite (to name a few of the noteworthy brands).
Having visited the store a number of times, my experience is that its greatest strength is that it doesn't try to be something it's not. To the same extent that there aren't super high-end bikes, Sweet Pete's stays out of the used market (too hard to tell what has and hasn't been stolen) and away from the cheap Canadian Tire crap that's liablel to cost a lot in repairs somewhere down the road (trust me, those bikes are not built to last).
From a customer service standpoint, my visits have always been pleasant, whether they were for maintenance or to buy accessories for my commuter bike. The sales associates are down to earth and anything but pushy. The mechanics know bikes, but won't bore or intimidate customers with a whole lot of jargon. This isn't as common as one might think. Bike shops can be unwelcoming places for the uninitiated, but I just haven't observed that here.
The good news for people who like this approach to bike sales, then, is that Sweet Pete's has recently opened up a satellite store in the Annex, known as the B-Side. Here one will find close-out and discounted bikes, plus a good selection of accessories.
Who the store caters to: urban riders, commuters, and families
Bike price range: $400-$4000 (with the majority to found between $600-$750
Service capabilities: Full service shop, comfortable with all repair requests regardless of bike
The tune up: For $50 you get adjustments to brakes and gears, basic truing of wheels, tightening of all bolts, and 30% off additional repairs
Second location: 517 Bloor Street West (416.533.4225)