If Bici Cyclery’s fashionable staff and gallery aesthetic seem slightly intimidating to the casual biker, be apprised: the shop’s former manifestation, Houston Fixed Gear, was so tragically hip it barely carried inventory. Nearly everything had to be ordered. When that business model proved ill-advised, the space landed in the hands of native Houstonian Michael Dinh, who aimed for something welcoming to a broader swath of Montrose residents. And voilà: Bici—a place that retains its appeal, in Dinh’s words, to cycling’s “high style element,” but welcomes casual bikers with parties, bikerly advice, and, for the cyclist who requires something harder than Gatorade, gratis Lone Star at a makeshift bar.
It’s a warm and welcoming environment, insists Dinh, though he’s so impeccably dressed we’re not sure we’d show up in biker spandex. Or a suit for that matter; Dinh is a corporate refugee who quit his telecom job in June. “I don’t want to use the cliché of not wanting to work for the man anymore,” he says, “because the fact is that working for the man is often easier than being the man. But I did want to do something more creative with my life.”
Bici, then, is what happens when a once-frustrated creative channels his imagination into sporting goods; think REI meet MFAH gift shop. You won’t find a sleek Danish Yakkay helmet ($70) elsewhere in Texas. Dinh prefers long-wearing leather saddles, such as the Brooks B17 ($120-$240), while the Oopsmark wine holder ($34) is a whimsical touch. (Truly, Bici is the place for biker alcoholics.) You can add all of these to the Linus Roadster sport ($650), which Dinh affectionately calls a “professor bike” tailor-made for a tweed-clad ride to Rice, “although,” he adds, “it has to be pretty darn cold to ride in tweed.”