pictured: Colin Dixon

There’s a nice piece in Express‘ Fit section today about Phoenix Bike Shop in Arlington, which I picked as Best Bike Shop a few weeks ago. That wasn’t an easy choice—-I frequent a few bike shops and am deliriously happy with most of them. City Bikes, right near our office, is a classic local bike shop, with great stock, friendly clerks, and perhaps the greatest wrenches in the city. Spokes Etc. in Alexandria is also a fine shop, and I hear great things about the Bike Rack and pretty much every other LBS in the area.

What makes Phoenix great isn’t the fact that you can get a fully rehabbed bike with a nice ’70s lugged frame for less than $100, it’s that kids in south Arlington, which comprises some of the poorest areas of the county, can earn a sharp ride just by helping out around the shop. The shop’s director, Colin Dixon, and chief mechanic, John Harpold, take kids out on rides every week. “I just have always seen bikes and used bikes not as a lifestyle but as the best part of how to get things done,” Dixon told me. And that’s why I think his shop is the best, even with such stiff competition.