Pop a Wheelie
Pop A Wheelie is an unassuming community bike shop in Bloor West Village that defines itself by catering to families and commuters rather than the spandex clad troupe that tends to frequent Wheels of Bloor , which is located right across the street.
You won't find $5000 race bikes here, but rather a wide selection of hybrids, cruisers, mountain and kids' bikes. The latter are particularly noteworthy in that Pop A Wheelie has staked a claim as one of the best places to outfit young riders in the city.
This is less about carry lots of different brands than it is about carrying lots of sizes. Pop A Wheelie stocks Louis Garneau, Linus, Felt and Devinci kids' bikes from 12 to 24 inches, with the latter brands more of a factor in the larger sizes. Prices start at $150 and go up to just below $500 for those budding superstars out there.
In the adult department, the main bike brands include Linus, Felt, Devinci, Simcoe, and Louis Garneau, though there are also more specialty items like SoloRock folding bikes and fat bikes from SE Bikes. Prices throughout the range reflect the fact that the shop stocks beginner to enthusiast rides rather than racing machines or vanity bikes.
Prices start in the $500 range for Louis Garneau city bikes and go up to around the $2000 mark for the performance hybrids and fat bikes. That's a refreshing change from many so-called mid-range bike shops in Toronto, where $3000+ bikes are very common on the sales floor.
Pop A Wheelie has a decent selection of accessories for urban riders, including bike trailers for those hauling around little people.
There's not much to want in this department, with a variety of locks, saddles, helmets, tubes, and tires. In general, I find the store merchandized well, so it's easy to find everything.
It's worth noting that service is also friendly and unobtrusive here. You get the distinct sense that the staff want to make this an inviting place free of the attitude that some of the higher end stores are occasionally accused of (rightly or wrongly). Come here to fix a flat and they won't try to sell you a new bike.
If you're looking for a city bike or to set up a kid on something better than the crap they sell at Canadian Tire, this is a great option in Toronto.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.