By Lauren Daley
For a neighborhood that has long advocated for bicycle routes and safety, Hayes Valley was sorely missing a key element: a local bike shop. Finally we have a place to go to for all our bike needs thanks to John McDonell and Matt Ames, co-owners of Market Street Cycles.
I recently took my bike in to get its rear wheel replaced and got a chance to talk with John and Matt. I know I join the many neighborhood cyclists who wish to welcome this great new business to our community. John and Matt have opened their shop at the corner of Page Street and Market Street. With over 800 bikes passing every day, it’s the busiest cycling intersection in the city! They have been open since the day before Thanksgiving, 2011. Their philosophy is to keep a practical, no attitude bike shop where cyclists of all levels of bike knowledge are treated with respect.
They open early at 8:00am and stay open late until 7:00pm, catering to commuters and those who use their bikes every day. With an appointment, they even have same day turnarounds for those who drop off their bikes in the morning. This is ideal for dropping off a bike on the way to work and picking it up on the way home. They offer a full breadth of services from custom wheel building to hydraulic brake work and everything in between. Surly bikes are in stock at the shop and Jamis soon will be stocked as well.
Simply put, John and Matt want to do whatever it takes to get people on their bikes and have a lot of experience doing just that. John McDonell, a San Francisco resident since 1997, started getting into bike maintenance when he got a job as a bike messenger in Washington D.C. in 1990. He has worked in several shops since then and has run several shops in the Bay Area. Before opening Market Street Cycles, he started and ran the bike portion of Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Matt Ames has been working in shops since he was 14 years old. He was John’s head mechanic at Mojo Bicycle Cafe and left in mid 2011 to become a full partner of Market Street Cycles.
John and Matt have worked hard to make Market Street Cycles the shop they envisioned. For years John had his eye on the location and was thrilled to finally negotiate a lease in 2011. The space was in pretty bad shape so they had to do a complete rebuild. They did it all themselves with Matt acting as the general contractor. The result is incredible – a bright, lofty, and clean space that is really comfortable to be in. John and Matt really like the neighborhood’s diversity and appreciate the warm reception they’ve received.
My experience, replacing my rear tire, with Market Street Cycles was wonderful. I felt respected and my bike was treated well, despite its rusty appearance. I got a fair price and they didn’t try to pressure me into buying anything I didn’t need. It is so nice to finally have a bike shop I trust and enjoy going to just a few blocks away from home.