America’s Best Bike Shops

I feel good just looking at this old photo from Ben’s Cycle on Milwaukee’s south side, which became my local shop when I lived four blocks down the street in Lincoln Village. You can see more old photos of Ben’s in this blog post here.

Ah, I love the smell of rubber tires and Tri-flow in the morning! Part of the reason I fell in love with cycling was allure of the local bike shops, filled with shiny new bikes specially designed to help me have a great time riding. Even though I now have a bike for just about any kind of riding I want to do, from road racing to touring to pedaling across frozen lakes, I still enjoy walking into bike shop and inspecting the latest offerings almost as much as I did when I got my first real bike at a local shop.

I am lucky enough to have a job where I get to frequent local bike shops across Wisconsin. I bet each of you have a favorite and a host of good memories from that shop. No wonder then that the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) has selected six Wisconsin retailers for their list of top bike shops in the country.

Each year the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) selects America’s Best Bike Shops in North America.  In 2014 Wisconsin had six bicycle retailers recognized for their excellence.  The following shops made this year’s list.

BicycleWise & Sports Fitness  -  Whitewater, WI

Erik’s Bike Shop  -  21 locations (7 in Wisconsin)

Stadium Bike  -  2 locations

The Bikeshop at Southport Rigging  - Kenosha, WI

Wheel & Sprocket    -   7 locations (6 in Wisconsin)

Wildside Adventure Sports   –   Baraboo, WI

The NBDA selected nearly 300 shops for it’s annual list of America’s Best Bike Shops.  The list, now in its second year, was unveiled just before the Interbike trade show, and retailers were celebrated at an annual reception held during the show.

Retailers must fill out a detailed application and be evaluated by a mystery shopper to be considered.  Points are awarded for customer support, knowledgeable staff, operation excellence, marketing excellence, community involvement, local bike advocacy, national bike advocacy and the mystery shopper experience. Stores with 370 points and above were awarded the title of “America’s Best Bike Shop” for 2014.

Congratulations to our Wisconsin shops for being recognized as among America’s best! While these are certainly great shops, we all have our reasons for shopping where we do. What shop do you go to, and why do you like it? Do you have a favorite memory from a local shop?



About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

2 thoughts on “America’s Best Bike Shops

  1. My favorite find this year was Chain Reaction owned by Nikki Jackson in Appleton. It’s a sweet, tidy little shop in an old corner store in a quiet neighborhood in central Appleton. Creaky wooden floors and, if memory serves, a tin ceiling. And Nikki is a lot of fun. One thing most bike shops need to work on is a feeling of accessibility for women and, though I am not a woman myself, this struck me as the kind of place retailers who are interested in selling more bikes to women should go visit.

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