A Bicycle Lover’s Guide to Syracuse

Where to go to buy bikes, talk bikes and ride bikes

Whether for racing, leisure or just a green means of transportation, Syracuse bicycle culture is present and growing. Thank the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council for the Greater Syracuse Bike Suitability Map detailing the best places to ride and head out to explore Syracuse’s two-wheeler lifestyle.

Beaucoup Bikes

The “Heck Yes, We’re Open” door sign instantly shows the relaxed vibe inside Mello Vélo Bike Shop. Musa, the shop’s Shiba Inu who greets and nuzzles patrons, solidifies the sentiment. Bikes and paraphernalia flood this cozy joint—from neon rims dangling from the ceiling to glowing handle grips to purple spotted cow bike horns—Mello packs it all in to this 1,500 square foot space. Pedals snag your shins as you navigate between 1930s vintage BF Goodrich bikes for $100 and a Surly snow bike for $1,800. A mechanic, an outfitter, and a friend to talk bikes with, Mello delivers. If you know what a Bianchi Volpe with Tiagra 9-speed shifters is, this is your place. If you only know you want a bike that moves when you pedal, this is your place.

556 Westcott St., 315-307-3104. Open Mon-Fri 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sat 10-5, Closed Sun.

Long Ride, Time to Mello

Eat, drink, bike; get it all in at Mello Vélo Café and feel warm and fuzzy doing it. A half door separates the inviting café from Mello Vélo Bike Shop, a business fusion that began when the café opened in Sept. 2011. Designed to channel the European cycling culture (also in keeping with the name as vélo means bicycle in French) vintage posters of bikes at Montmartre and paninis á la Italy where cycling abounds complete the scene. Regulars settle at bar style wooden tables, snag copies of Bicycling Magazine from the mag rack, or toil behind laptop screens taking in the smell of espresso and roasted tomatoes. Try “The Radonneur” for $6.99, a panini with smoked gouda, pear, and maple bacon, one of Mello’s best.

550 Westcott St., 315-307-3104. Open Mon-Fri 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sat 10-5, Closed Sun.

Bikes…Swanky Bikes

If ever James Bond needed a bicycle, the performance level of Advance Cyclery, better known as CNY Bikes, would be his go-to. He might sit in the suede recliner, watch a bike race on one of four flat screen TVs, then admire the close to 50 high-end triathlon road bikes suspended evenly just above eye level. Lavish but with a discreet sophistication, the upper level plays no host to the under experienced or the underfunded. Bicycles are served up car style—complete with full-color catalogs displaying details about the bike’s frame, its drivetrain, the wheelset, and the components, with car style prices to match. The view-on-request Felt DA1 triathlon bike costs a cool $12,999. Head downstairs to the family level to peruse another 250 bikes when you need more blue-collar, less Bond and you can find used bikes for just around $100.

118 Seeley Rd., 315-449-2453. Open Mon-Fri 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sat 9-5, Sun 12-4.

Nice Rack

If bicycle lovers spent REM hours dreaming up the bike rack of their desire, it would probably look something like this: sheltered storage, a bike repair station, and an air pump, all free for use. A gift from the Centennial Class of 2011, SUNY ESF’s Illick Hall boasts the iPhone of bike racks, a smartrack if you will. Designed by DERO Bike Rack Co., the 23 racks, raised a few feet off the ground offer stone walled protection from inclement weather, no need to lift your bike out of 18 inches of snow. Screwdrivers, hex wrenches, spoke wrenches, and a chain breaker hang from steel cables; if your bike got trampled by a car, you might just be able to fix it here.

Forestry Dr., 315-470-6500. 

Ride With It

Time for a ride around the city? Join the more than 500 Onondaga Cycling Club members for a leisurely 10-mile ‘Slow ‘n Easy Ride’ for novices or take time to train with a 65-mile hilly terrain ride with more than 50 feet of climbing. From March to December, most riders enjoy the Manlius and Pompei routes for the good cyclist safety and easy-on-the-eye rolling terrain. On a typical night, a ride leader might have 25 to 30 followers; on a good night, up to 50. Yearly membership rates start at $5 for juniors age 17 and under and go to $30 for a family membership for up to eight people. Members enjoy access to more than 180 ride routes, some of which originated more than 40 years ago when the club came about.

Onondaga Cycling Club, 315-569-9880


Euclid Ave

I would include a public service announcement to NEVER bike down Euclid if it can be avoided. Too much broken glass. #secondflattire #bitter

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