Falls Church has a quirky little treasure. As their website landing page states, “It’s not just a bikeshop. It’s a lifestyle.” The Bike Club is not exactly a club, but rather a place where you can buy new or used bicycles. They also sell a variety of bike accessories and offer bike repairs. In nice weather, you can just drive up on your bike to their tented repair area, and wait while they make adjustments, add air, etc. Most repairs are done within the same day, if not immediately. And the store is open seven days a week, which makes it very convenient.
a glimpse of the outdoor repair area, bikes waiting in the queue to be repaired and my bike in the foreground
The Bike Club’s website also announces, “If you like bikes…come see us …if you want to hang out…come see us…” And on any given day during the nice weather, you will see a variety of people, all ages and ethnicities, hanging out talking about bicycles.
The inside of the store is organized chaos, with bikes and accessories placed everywhere, including hanging from the ceiling. And the totally random decorations (the bust of a military general, live green parrots, a miniature Vietnamese temple, a Spiderman figurine, and much more) reflect the quirky personality of the owner, Phuoc Van Pham.
some of the controlled chaos of the interior
another view of the interior of the shop
Pham is clearly passionate about bicycles. A friend who was visiting from Montana, who is a bike enthusiastic and spends his off-time working at a bike shop, commented that the Bike Club is a bike nerd’s dream come true, and that the owner really knows his stuff. And he supports bikers – he sponsors a team of four BMX riders, who one year brought home 37 trophies, many of which are on display at his shop.
Pham, a champion kick boxer and expert bike assembler who was named by the Bicycle Exchange as its “Mechanic of the Year” in 1990 and in 1991 he was Bicycle Exchange’s “Service Technician of the Year.” In 1993, Pham set up a bike repair tent in the front yard of a mattress store owned by a friend in Falls Church, and soon opened the store in his current location.
A couple of weeks ago, the shop was temporarily closed to address some building safety concerns by the City of Falls Church. I found this interesting given that a new bike shop moved into town (the only other bike shop) just two months earlier, while he has been in his shop for almost 20 years without prior incident. But, anyway…
a cool retro-style bike a man was buying for his daughter to take to college
Luckily, the Bike Club expects to be open within the next two months. I drove past the shop today and got a glimpse of the repairs being done. The store is completely empty now, but I am hopeful that it will be restored to its full eccentric glory. I look forward to the grand re-opening in time for spring, the perfect time to go biking!
The Bike Club is located at 438 South Washington Street, Falls Church, VA, just 11.1 miles from The Mall in DC