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R&A Cycles: the hype is real

After a nice day touring Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty I took the short subway ride into Brooklyn to what has become THE LARGEST supplier of bikes in the world: R&A Cycles. They claim to be the largest bike store in the world and since I can’t specifically prove it I will run with their claim. However, being on the ground leaves me little doubt that the claim is not true. Quite simply, the hype is true. One caveat is that I did not visit the famous warehouse – I just visited the retail location that is open to the public (insidetri.com has a nice video review of the store – go find it!).

Where is it? Well it’s not that far away from lower Manhattan so if you are on Wall Street or somewhere around Battery Park it’s just a 15 minute subway ride to the Atlantic Avenue stop. I took the Red #5. While you are in Manhattan there is a cop at just about every three bike lengths – not so in Brooklyn! It was very hot and muggy in New York and as I walked the seven blocks from the subway to R&A I remembered that scene in Die Hard with a Vengance where Bruce Willis is hanging out with a sign around his neck and Samuel L Jackson comes to his rescue. Anyway, R&A is located in an older building with three full store fronts. The best way to describe it is that it has three long rectangular rooms.

The first room is the entry, with cash registers, wheels (Zipps, new Hed 3, Corima) aerobars (Blackwell Research, Hed, Profile Design, etc), saddles, and miscellaneous items. Frankly just about everywhere you turn some triathlon or cycling related item is hanging or shelved on just about every corner of the store.

About two thirds of the way towards the back there is an entry to the second room. Here we have more bikes, with quite a few built up, and a bunch of attire. I was going to write down attire brands like I did for SBR but frankly there were too many. I did see Oomph stocked in a store with a variety of tri items which was nice – I’m a fan. There was a guy getting fitted on a small raised platform. The setup was a computrainer, though the computer was off so they were just using it as a trainer. The fitter was using the fancy fitting rulers, but I did not see anything else (no lasers, wall rulers, etc). In the rear of this room I saw some old school Trek and Softrides, and I remember seeing quite a few Cervelos road bikes built up. Right before you got to that section on the left you had a whole wall of bike shoes plus a variety of bike helmets.

Once again about two thirds of the way towards the back there is one last entry way to the last room, which houses hybrids, some roads bikes, and kids bikes. I did not take a picture of this room – it was the skinnier of the three and since there were customers in there I did not spend too much time in there – plus no kids yet in our Fernandez household.

For the bike nerds, these were some of the brands I saw built up and/or hanging from the rafters that made it into my little notebook: Dahon, Raleigh, Orbea, Ridley, Fondbiest, Merckx, Derosa, Bianchi, Guru, Cannondale, Aegis, Giant, Scott, Quintana Roo, Schwinn, Pinarello, Cervelo, Trek, Specialized, Kestrel, Felt, Kuota, Prince, Isaac, Hed, XLab, Colnago, Griffen, Softride, Litespeed, Klein, and Look.

So how is that for bike selection? Ha! My personal favorites were to see a beautifully built up Pinarello, the grandfather of the Felt DA in the Look bikes, and being from Minnesota it always warm my heart to see one of Steve Hed’s bikes on display.

All in all of course I did not see the whole R&A inventory but just what was on the floor. Having said that, it was very extensive and it certainly met my expectations. No I don’t remember seeing compressions socks or running shoes, but the bike shoes collection was pretty big. One thing I did not see (and I seriously could have missed it) was a rack with wetsuits – but once again they are focused on bikes. You can see in the pictures how stacked everything was so I am sorry if I missed this (and yes I still hate swimming). My only purchase was a nice Brooklyn cycling hat so I cannot speak for buying anything else.

All in all if you are in New York and either need something or are looking to get away from the tourists I’d hop over and visit Brooklyn to see R&A Cycles, it will be worth your time.

My FLICKR.com album on the R&A Trip over here.

info@racycles.com | Phone: 718.636.5242 | Toll-Free: 1.800.825.3762
105 5th Avenue, Brooklyn NY, 11217
Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm | Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm | Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

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June 21, 2008 at 5:36 am
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