a peek inside the fishbowl

22 May, 2023

Bikes and Ottawa bike shops

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!|Ottawa

They say that if you want to get more movement into your day to start with something you enjoyed doing as a kid. Well, for me, this is riding my bike. So I started biking to work last week. It takes approximately nine minutes and I’m pretty winded by the end. NINE MINUTES. My plan is to to do this three times a week for the rest of the season so hopefully it will get a little bit easier with time.

Nine minutes is a short time, but it’s a good time. The whistling wind, the crunch of gravel under my tires, coasting down hills big and small… it feels great and I love it.

We have a secure area to lock bikes at work, which is a bonus. I have to laugh at myself though… I am not very graceful and am forever always closing the gate on myself, running over a foot (mine, thankfully), or dropping stuff. The area is overlooked by a bank of windows and it occurs to me that I am providing a comedy routine for an unsuspecting audience every time I’m in there. :D

My bike is a heavy “mountain bike” style with thicker tires. It’s 20+ years old but I love it. It is SOLID. I feel safe on that thing, it’s like I’m riding a tank. YES, it weighs a lot, but I can run over pretty much anything and not be afraid of wiping out. I think that’s a pretty good trade off. That being said, I am very tempted by vintage-y step-through Townie-style bikes but I am hesitating. My bike still gets me from point A to point B, so do I really need a new one?

Each kid received a new bike for their birthday this year.

The youngest was in town back in April and she picked out a sleek and gorgeous Trek model at Bushtukah here in Westboro. Believe it or not, we bought and paid for it during a weekend and when Mark went to pick it up the next Thursday he was informed the bike we had purchased had been sold to someone else. Err. That was a surprise. I am still not sure how this happened but we were so disappointed that we got the refund and bought the same bike online at a delightful little bike shop in Kingston called Trek Bicycle Kingston. The youngest picked her bike up there when she was back in Kingston. She was happy with the service and absolutely loves her bike.

It was the eldest’s birthday this month. (24!!) We skipped Bushtukah, obviously, and checked out the Hintonburg location of Full Cycle and bought a bike there instead. We were so pleased with their friendly, knowledgeable service and low-pressure attitude. It was a great experience overall. In fact, it was so good I might even be convinced to get a new bike for myself at some point… ;)

So, Bushtukah lost a couple bike sales, and also, future bikes sales from our family. But when all is said and done they did us a big favour because thanks to their poor service we discovered two new amazing bike shops I’m happy to support and recommend to others.


3 Responses to "Bikes and Ottawa bike shops"

1 | Sally Dowe Marchand

May 22nd, 2023 at 12:33 pm


Here here to bike riding. When I returned to work for a short term contract after retirement I did two things. One I promised i would not dive back I to many hours of overtime I previously performed. Two I decided to ride my bike and was so pleased with the nice ride and speed compared to the 35-40 minute walk I once did.

My gift to myself upon retirement was a brand new Giant bike from Full Cycle’s shop on St Laurent Blvd. I am so happy to have it serviced now in my own neighbourhood.
Happy and safe riding

2 | Davey

May 22nd, 2023 at 3:21 pm


Love Full Cycle in Hintonburg – great folks, really personal and honest service. I’m also a fan of Phat Moose over on the east side of the Pretoria Bridge, but they’re a less focused on every day cycling / families than they are on serving the mountain bike, adventure bike, gravel community (it seems). Also, had a pretty great level of service and good quality/price at Quick Cranks on Somerset W (roughly at Bayswater). And when I need help downtown, Retro-Rides on Sparks St is my go-to!

3 | DaveM

June 3rd, 2023 at 11:33 pm


It is too bad that has happened to the little one’s present…

I shall add them to the list of companies to avoid.


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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