Here is a list of shops that I believe are worth letting people know about. Recommendations and word of mouth is the best way to find out all the good stuff, so hopefully this will save you all a bit of time. Ok, most of them are local to me, here in the Thames Valley, but not all will be, and this is a list that I will continually be updating. I was going to subdivide them into running, cycling, etc, but as many of them cover much more, I’m not going to limit them to categories at the moment.
Runners’ Retreat is a running shop in Marlow, Bucks. It’s a proper running shop, not a sports fashion outlet. The service you get from Brian and Matt is excellent. They really know their stuff, are very friendly, have years of running behind them, and are just bloody good blokes. There is a treadmill in store with video gait analysis to make sure you get the right shoes for your running style. There are very few specialist shops like this around, and they will look after you whether you’re a complete non athletic novice, or an elite athlete.
Pedalling Gear is an independent bike shop in Wooburn Green run by Dave. Dave recently went out of his way to sort out my rear wheel, at very short notice, and there is some very high class bike porn to look at too, including Cervelo, Cipollini, and Parlee. It’s great to go to a real bike shop and not a show room, if you know what I mean. The workshop is right on the shop floor, so lots of bike chat available as Dave works his magic.
Great independent bike shop in Caversham. They have a road bike section upstairs and a mountain bike section on the ground floor. Lots of different manufacturers, a great range to suit most budgets, separate workshops for road and mountain bikes, clothing, shoes, loads of accessories, free parking. Talk to Ricky upstairs. He really knows his stuff, and collects vintage bikes too.
Small bike shop in Bourne End. Limited range of bikes, and not much top end stuff, but great service. Good place find the odd nut and bolt, or unusual spare part. The guy that runs it is a real enthusiast, and has a signed poster of Eddy Merckx, and enjoys chatting all about the bike. Got a set of wheels trued here, quick service and cheap.
Online swim specialist but with a showroom in Bourne End. Listed here under shops as I have never used it online, but then I don’t need to. Loads of stuff to cater for swimmers, triathletes, kids, etc. Costumes, wetsuits, accessories, and changing rooms! On a small trading estate with easy parking right outside.