District Cycleworks isn't really a bike shop. It offers service (presently, by appointment). It can order you the parts you need. It'll build a bike for you. There's coffee. On future rainy days, diehard cyclists will be able to take over trainers to do some speedwork. And if you've got a question about your bike, owner Matt Moore will likely be around to answer it. But, no, it's not the kind of bike shop, stacked with Treks and Giants and spare tubes and those infuriating clippy pedals, that you've come to expect to open as DC's population of cyclists grows exponentially.
District Cycleworks opened formally in March, in a bright, sunny, wood-floored former yoga studio. The space, at 26th and P streets, peeks out at Rock Creek Park. It's not far from CycleLife USA on K Street NW, the roadie-catering shop at which Moore worked for several years. But conceptually, it's a world away.
He's a taking cue from the long tradition of hand-built bikes. Though District Cycleworks may not be brazing fillets anytime soon, Moore's inspired by the craftsmanship and personalization that goes into a custom frame—and is attempting to offer that sentiment in his space, which he’s hoping becomes a “third place,” the kind of environment that engenders prolonged hanging-out, much like a bar or café.
"I won’t be stocking bikes; instead, I’ll be working with the bicycles people already have and are inspired by, and I’ll connect others with talented frame builders nationwide," he wrote in an introductory post for target="_blank">Cycle Boredom. "Bicycles are powerful and beautiful tools that, as a good friend once said, 'have the power to change the world.' They certainly have changed my world, and my goal is to help figure out how they can help you."
Can DC support a target="_blank">boutique third place that trades solely in bicycles? There's plenty of disposable income here, to be sure. But there's also a larger momentum toward individualized, considerate, and high-quality services and products that's reflected in local endeavors like target="_blank">handmade sausages, target="_blank">hair products, and target="_blank">upstart record stores. The city was knocked for decades as a cultureless bastion of political blowhards, but Moore's bike salon—and retail and commercial experiences that, like it, come with an attractive personal touch—are proving that DC is packed with creative, forward-thinking entrepreneurs willing to give small business a go.