Friday, February 27, 2015

Who is Behind Bars in Brooklyn on #theother5th?

Push the bike handle to open the front door and you walk into a beautifully bright and warm space, full of bike 'stuff' filling all the walls, and in the center is Sandra, the owner of Behind Bars in Brooklyn which is located near 17th Street on #theother5th, Park Slope.

Sandra dealing with a customer's repair needs
Behind Bars is a bike repair shop. They don't sell bikes but will assess and repair. I asked Sandra why they don't sell bikes. She told me that there are a number of  good bike stores in the area, but many of them don't focus their attention on maintenance and repair. "Bikes last forever and things can be fixed", she says.

I had to ask Sandra about being a woman running a bike repair store. She smiled and told me a few anecdotes about her experiences. Customers do come in and ask her when the mechanic will be available. In fact Sandra has been in the industry for 24 years and is a certified mechanic. She is very aware that many people ride a bike like they drive a car, but have no clue how it really works. Her service aims to make people feel comfortable about what she is offering and what needs to be done. There is no hard sell, ever, she told me. It's professionalism all the way.

Water Bottles
I was intrigued to know why Sandra chose the South Slope to set up shop. She explained that she knew the area well, having lived there once, but she also knows that this is an area where people commute on their bikes to work. She rides in from Bay Ridge every day. Because of this fact, she opens from 8am to 8pm; ready to fix flat tires or dodgy brakes on the fly. Come in and she'll lube up that squeaky chain for free and outside, you can pump up your tires for free. Safety comes first, Sandra tells me. Get your bike checked out after the long winter months. Make sure you have helmets and you must have lights if riding in the dark, it's a legal requirement. There are a lot of accessories in the store and for us parents; kids helmets, and baskets. Sandra will even repair scooters and skateboards.

The Store
Whilst I was there a man came in with his bike and immediately Sandra greeted him in Spanish whilst pulling parts off the shelf. She appeared caring and professional. We are pleased Sandra chose the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID to put down her business roots (or spokes!).

Behind Bars in Brooklyn
610 5th Avenue
Between Prospect Avenue and 17th Streets
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook: Behindbarsinbrooklyn

Joanna Tallantire

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