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Switchback Cyclery

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / Posted on July 9, 2013

switchback cyclery torontoSwitchback Cyclery is a bike shop in Riverside near Queen St. E. and Broadview, and they give back to the community in more ways than just hooking it up with bikes. Switchback is run by the Toronto Enterprise Fund (TEF), which, in this case, helps individuals who may otherwise have had difficulty finding a job.

switchback cyclery torontoAside from that admirable participation in social enterprise, though, Switchback Cyclery also provides everything a cyclist would be looking for if he or she wandered in, aside from firm and commendable ethics. Brand new, shiny and mostly lightweight bicycles line the walls, ranging in brand from Huffy to Devinci, Linus, All-city, Brodie and Fuji.

switchback cyclery torontoCynthia Leung, one of the managers, tells me they want to focus on the commuter and sell urban bikes that are practical, and that allow you to effectively grab your groceries, too. (Being an accessories girl, I can't help but gawk at the selection of cute baskets available for just that purpose). That said, anyone looking for a mid-range road bike or a touring bike would be in luck here.

switchback cyclery torontoSwitchback doesn't sell used bikes, but Cyn said they help find a home for any donations and other homeless bikes that come their way. New bikes, she says, start at about $500. As many bike shops will say, she reminded me that they want to sell a good quality product, and not one that you could get at Canadian Tire for $100.

Switchback CycleryIn terms of services, the shop does everything from a basic cheack up to determine the overall health of the bike 910 to 15 minutes, free!) to more elaborate repairs. After that, though, it was impossible to get them to divulge the cost of a tuneup, since it would differ so widely based on the amount of work needed.

switchback cyclery torontoAs I said, I believe accessories make everything better, and bikes are no exception. Switchback Cyclery has tons of cute baskets made out of wire and wicker, not to mention preciously utilitarian saddle-bags and mini bags for your handlebars. Your bike will be the cutest one at the park if you pop in here. And, of course, they have your standard garments for the rider: gloves, shorts, and shop tees, if you feel like reppin, are on sale for $5.

switchback cyclery torontoRiverside's latest social-purpose enterprise is currently open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. throughout the week, and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday. As it gets the show fully on the road, though, hours will expand from 7 am. until 7 p.m. throughout the week. The shop will remain closed on Sundays.



Andrew / July 9, 2013 at 09:41 am
My buddy and I happened by the day they opened. Great looking shop with some really neat bikes and accessories. The people working there were super friendly, I'll be back for sure!
Bronwyn / July 9, 2013 at 10:21 am
These guys are pretty fantastic in terms of helping you get what you want. Curbside did as much as could be expected, but Switchback goes above and beyond to try and order in exactly what you're looking for if they don't carry it already. Though they can't promise to be successful, just the effort speaks for itself. I'll be shopping there for sure.
Poor Girl / July 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm
Nice, but this place just looks like they are going to overcharge me!
Ofcourse replying to a comment from Poor Girl / July 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm
Criminals will steal from you one way or another.
greg / July 11, 2013 at 07:22 pm
Had my old road bike - 7 years of 4 season commuting! - rebuilt here, and it's like riding a new bike. These guys refuse to cheap out on the details most of us don't know about, and will not sell anybody junk.
Sarah Williams / July 12, 2013 at 03:40 pm
I'm interested.....
Sarah Williams / July 12, 2013 at 03:42 pm
Thanks for getting people on bikes not cars.
Alice replying to a comment from Poor Girl / July 12, 2013 at 07:25 pm
Check it out!
Erika / July 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm
I was looking to make a change from my cruiser to something more efficient for commuting and possibly some greater distance rides. The staff at Switchback were incredibly thorough, honest and informative while helping me find the right bike. I didn't feel any pressure to get something that wasn't going to be a good fit for me, and they really took the time to consider exactly what I was looking for based on my needs. They have a 30 day warranty so you can take it back for adjustments if something doesn't feel right. I test-rode 5 bikes throughout the process and they were really helpful in taking my feedback from each to find the right one. The staff are down to earth and they describe things to you in a way that doesn't make you feel stupid if you're still learning about bikes. I would HIGHLY recommend this place!
RJ / September 14, 2013 at 07:39 am
Had a basket installed and it was done within a few hours. Great place, great service, great people!
G / November 12, 2013 at 10:00 am
Wouldn't take my bike anywhere else. Free tuneups for life on a new bike purchase. Advice from the kindest and most knowledgeable staff. Hands down the best bike shop in Toronto.
Tim / February 19, 2014 at 07:37 pm
"Free tuneups for life on a new bike purchase."

If this truly is Switchback's policy, it will not last. Anyone who's worked in the industry knows this.
Richard Bechard / November 7, 2014 at 10:43 am
I just read about the award you won and may I say CONGRATULATIONS!!!. You have defineitly earned it.
JL / May 15, 2015 at 12:41 pm
I've posted this elsewhere, but am posting again because these Guys deserve it.

I rarely take the time to write reviews/comments, but am so pleased with the service at Switchback Cyclery that here's a review:

I've been using bike stores in the city for about 25 years and Switchback is by far the best.

Friendly, courteous, honest, thorough service.

For tune-ups, will "diagnose" all your bikes needs before letting you know exactly what needs to be done, including a cost-breakdown, before getting your OK to proceed.

"Rushed" my 5-year-olds bike ("We'll get you on your bike as soon as possible") (without my asking to: there was a 2 week wait at the time, they called me the next day to let me know it was ready).

I decided to order a fairly expensive bike from them, and when discussing it with Steve, he brought to my attention a comparable bike that cost about $1000 less, without trying to push me in any particular direction.

Offer a complimentary "check-in" after about 30 rides on a new bike, for tweaking, so your new ride is perfect.

They have a decent selection in-store, but can order stuff that's not in the store, so ask them. As it turns out, they are one of the few Spot retailers in Ontario.

Bottom line: absolutely exemplary service. I wish every transaction was this pleasant.

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