Arrow Bicycle is one of the most interesting shops in downtown Hyattsville.
Though small, the locally owned shop has a good selection of gear and is listed on the League of American Bicyclists as a “bicycle-friendly business.”
The Hyattsville Wire talked to co-owner Chris Militello via email.
What experience did you have before you opened the store?
I worked in bike shops for about 16 years before opening the store; starting as a part time employee in a local shop in Buffalo, New York, and worked my way up until I was general manager at Capitol Hill Bikes in D.C. This is the position I left to start Arrow Bicycle. I was also a bicycle mechanic for a pro team for five years. I am a certified bicycle frame builder and am a USA Cycling Category Two Mechanic.
What made you decide to locate in Hyattsville?
Myself and the other owner Chris Davidson both reside in Hyattsville and we thought our community needed a local bike shop.
What does your store specialize in? What should customers expect?
Because we’re a neighborhood store we meet the needs of family cycling and commuters but we are also well versed in high end/pro cycling. We have a great rapport with our customers and take pride in our store. Customers will come into a clean, organized store to speak with knowledgeable, friendly staff. We not only sell bikes, but we have a full service department as well. This allows us to maintain the bicycles we sell and we have a quick turnaround time on repairs.
The shop holds a free bicycle maintenance clinic every second Saturday of the month from 9 to 10 a.m. People can call the store for more information or to sign up.
What is the local bicycling culture like?
It varies. There are a number of commuters in Hyattsville. There are also enthusiasts that will go out and ride 40-50 miles on the weekend. If you look outside local restaurants on Route 1, you will see a ton of bikes locked up.
What could Hyattsville do to improve its bikeability?
Actually they have done a number of things lately. They have put in sharrows (bicycle arrows on the road), put in yellow bikes racks and racks on meters around the city.
One thing that still needs to be accomplished is the bike trail. Park and Planning could finish the trolley trail (bike path) through Riverdale and Hyattsville sometime during my lifetime; that would be great.
How many people join your Sunday rides? Where do you typically go?
Arrow sponsors Route 1 Velo, a cycling club. The club has a ride that leaves from the shop every Sunday at 9 a.m. that is open to all; there are club guys, locals, racers, and novices.
There are usually about 20 riders (depends on the weather and time of year). The ride is the same route every week — out Good Luck Road, through Old Bowie, through the Beltsville Agricultural Reserve, back to the shop. It’s 37 miles, it can be shortened if needed.