A brand-new bicycle repair shop has opened in Bedford-Stuyvesant just in time for the year's prime season of two-wheeled tooling around.
Bike Slug is nestled in a garden-level storefront next to the restaurant on Bedford Avenue. The tiny shop — approximately 150 sq. ft — is so darn cute and snuggly, if you don’t own a bike, you’ll want to buy one as an excuse to walk in.
Owner Alex Picca opened the store two weeks ago to build upon the growing success of his website www.bikeslug.com, where he restores and sells vintage bicycles online.
Originally from Clarkston, Georgia, Picca, 33, moved to New York City five years ago and then to Bed-Stuy three and a half years ago into the brownstone adjacent to his new shop.
“When I moved from Georgia, I brought a moped with me, and I thought it would be the answer to all my problems of getting around in NYC,” said Picca. “So I’m riding this moped, and kids on bikes were just blowing right past me. And then my moped was constantly breaking down every week. So eventually, I just said ‘screw it,’ and decided to buy a bike.”
Picca wanted a vintage bike but found most of them in New York City were overpriced. So he took a trip out to New Jersey with one of his buddies visiting from Kentucky, and ended up connecting with this guy who collected vintage bikes in need of repair. Picca found one he loved.
“But on the ride back, I thought, ‘Man, I spent so long just trying to get my hands on a vintage bike—I should just buy five off of him and fix them up and sell them.'”
Only problem was, Picca knew nothing about bikes. But he used to fix cars, and he knew he was good with his hands—one of the reasons he was able to secure the job he held at that time building guitars for Sadowsky Guitars.
“So I bought a lot of books and was scouring a ton of bicycle sites online,” said Picca. “Even now, I’m constantly devouring as much information as I can. And then there’s practice. Of course, the first 25 or so bike repairs I did were a little weird for me at first.
“But after 500, you kind of get better at it,” he said with a sarcastic laugh.
Already, Bike Slug is like a walk-in doctor’s office. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, bikers were steadily streaming through, looking for Picca’s handywork, a band-aid for a small bruise. The small fixes, he was able to take care of in 5-10 minutes.
But he also does full tune-ups ($50), wash-and-waxes ($15), derailleur adjustments ($10) and a lot more. Most repairs are $10 and under. The store also sells bike paraphernalia, such as locks, helmets and, of course, bike slugs.
“For the most part, I can fix anything. And if I can’t, I can give you an honest assessment of why I can’t and what you need to do,” said Picca.
Bike Slug, located at 1050 Bedford Avenue, is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 11:00am – 9:00pm, Saturday-Sunday, 10:00am – 6:00pm.