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The draw to save money can be big. Shopping from the comfort of your home can be a factor. There are six things we think you should consider when deciding on how and where you are going to purchase your new bike.

  • You know what you are getting
  • Fit
  • Assembly
  • Service
  • Trade In
  • We support your community

You Know What You are Getting

When you shop locally you can see it, feel it, touch it and even ride it.  If something costs less then something else there is likely a reason. It could be the quality of the construction. The substitution of cheaper parts that won’t work as well or last as long as another part. The amount of support could be different, from the post sale support to warranty coverage to follow up services. Saving money upfront may not mean that the item you have actually purchased is going to cost you less. 
Just because one model may work for others it doesn’t mean it is right for you. You may have different needs and wants.  What works for one may not work for you. Can you really tell if the bike is going to work for you by a review?


You’ll know it is the right size. Fit is key to having a comfortable bike to ride. Not all bikes fit the same.
 A bicycle is not like other sports equipment. A baseball, soccer ball, a bat to name a few, work the way the manufacture designed out of the box. They differ from a bicycle that requires assembly and adjustment to your body to be comfortable. 
While you might have a primary size of shoe you wear, I doubt every shoe is the same size in your closet. Different uses require different fits in shoes. Same for the bicycle. Not every bike is going to fit the same way and the fit of your bicycle is going to be essential to how comfortable you are during your ride and how the bicycle handles.


Assembly by a professional bike mechanic ensures your bike is properly adjusted and ready to ride when you pick it up. 
Over my 25 plus years in bicycle retail I have seen all sorts of bicycles improperly assembled. Much of it down right unsafe to ride.


Most local shops provide a service package of some kind with a new bike purchase. It is normal for new bikes to experience a break in period and need a little attention after several rides.

Trade In

When the bike is outgrown bring it back to us and we will trade it in towards a new bike. Then fix it up and get it to a new happy owner. Keeping it out of the landfill and putting some money back in your pocket.

We support your community

As members of the community we make donations to local community organizations, speak to local groups about cycling and participate in organizations to increase cycling opportunities and access in our community. We ride where you ride and use that knowledge to help you choose the right bike for the riding you want to do.

Cost you might not have considered

Having the bicycle properly assembled will add to the cost. Having to change stuff out to make the bike comfortable after your purchase will cost extra. Getting the bike fit to you will add cost to the bicycle. Follow up adjustments after your bicycles break in period while normal will cost money for online purchase. Much of these services are included when making a purchase from your local bike shop.

So give your local bike shop an opportunity to earn your business. You’ll likely be glad you did.

by Ernest Freeland

This is the second part of Why Purchase from your Local Bike Shop

In the previous post we outlined reasons to purchase from and support your local bike shop. In this post we are adding some details.

  1. The Right Fit: Every bike that rolls out of Crofton Bike Doctor has a frame and component group that is anatomically proportioned to its rider’s size and intended use. We then make sure to adjust the bicycle to properly fit the rider. Next we show you how to use and operate your new bicycle.
  2. Ride Before You Buy: Ride a few different models to help you pick the perfect bike, either outside or on our indoor riding station.
  3. Selection: We do the research so you don’t have to. To make it on our showroom we have reviewed the options available and selected the best products to offer our customers. We’ve narrowed it down to a few options making your decision easier.
  4. Trained Sales People: We love to ride and our team is trained to help you select the perfect bike for your riding styling. We’ll show you the different options and explain the features and benefits to you. We will ensure you are selecting the proper size and fit for your new bicycle. Then demonstrate and install any accessories you may want to personalize your new bicycle.
  5. Professionally Assembled: Our bikes are delivered professionally assembled and ready to ride. Each bicycle goes through our assembly by a trained bicycle mechanic. Our mechanics love to work on bikes and it shows.
  6. Free Lifetime Tune-Ups: For as long as you own your Crofton Bike Doctor bike, our Lifetime Free Adjustment Program will make sure the fundamental systems of your bike are operating properly.   If you feel your bike is not working right, just call for our Tech Center.  We will answer your questions or schedule an appointment for your bike.
  7. Quality Accessories: We’ve offer great accessories that will make your riding safer and more enjoyable. These accessories are ready to stand up to the challenge you will bring them.
  8. Extended Test Ride: We want you to be riding the perfect bike for your cycling needs. We believe our pre sale support helps you select the perfect bike but just in case we offer an Extended Test Ride. Ride your bike for 30-days and if it is not perfect bring it back and we will exchange it for a different bicycle.
  9. Warranties: All our bicycles come with a lifetime warranty that covers the frame and a warranty covering the components. If you ever have an issue please bring us the bike and we’ll take care of the rest.
  10. We LOVE to RIDE!: We love to ride and there is nothing more we enjoy doing then sharing our love of cycling with you!

So that you can get to know us a little better we will be sharing our cycling profiles over the coming weeks. Here we will share some of our cycling thoughts and stories. We hope you enjoy them.

The first one is myself.

Why do you ride?

Ernest FreelandI love the feeling of freedom and the ability to explore while being outdoors.

  • Most memorable riding experience? / Favorite riding moment.

As a kid growing up we lived at the bottom of a hill. So I worked on riding to the top without stopping. Setting a goal to get to a certain driveway or further than the last time. I’ll never forget the day that I finally made it all the way to the top without stopping.

  • Least memorable riding experience?

I don’t really have one. I’ve had days that you would think would be bad days, like riding in the rain. It’s funny in many ways they have turned out to be great days! You know the type of day were you really feel that you have accomplished something.

  • Favorite place to ride?

St. Michael s and Oxford area as well as the C&O Canal.

Rides you dream about doing?

I’ve always wanted to ride across country and regret not doing that right after graduating from college. I want to ride from Pittsburgh home on the Great Alleghany Passage and C & O Canal. There is also a route along the St. Lawrence River that is interesting. Here is a blog on my cycling bucket list.

How has riding affected your life?

Positively. I’ve been lucky enough to ride with a lot of great people and create great memories. A summer camp I was doing as a kid got me interested in the sport and then from there it grew.

Who is your favorite person to ride with?

My wife Amanda

What one thing can you not ride without?

A bike? I have to have a cycle computer on the bike when I ride. It really bugs me not to know how far I went that day, yet on the same token I am not one to log or track my annual mileage.

Funniest thing that has happened while you are riding?

I was riding the C&O Canal with my Uncles when we came across a trail closed sign. Did we honor it, of course not. My Uncle said he thought we could get through. We reached a point where the trail was really no longer there and were passing bikes across the next thing I know I am in the water up to my waist along with my bike. We had just purchased a dozen eggs and they were strapped on the back of my bike. The amazing thing was that my bike was leaning up against the river embankment and the eggs were unbroken. My uncles said my bike had done a full flip falling off the side before coming to a rest.

Do you remember your first bike? If so what was it?

A red and white Schwinn.

Ernest’s June Arundel Voice Article

The summer is here and now is a great time to ride with your children. In the past parents had to be creative in how to bring their children along for the ride, how to ride longer with children or even how to teach them to ride. Today families have many options that are safe and to help get their children out outdoors, involved in cycling.

With some overlap across them there are several phases of riding with children; bring them along phase, teach them to ride and ride longer with them.

For children not old enough to ride there are a few options for mom and dad to get out and ride with children. Most are familiar and have probably spent some time in them as a child, child seats. Child seats generally have a weight rating of 40 pounds but many children outgrow them in height before they exceed the weight limit. In my opinion there is a better option than a child seat, a child trailer. These are generally designed to carry a child up to four years of age and are rated to a hundred pounds for two children. Trailers are more stable, offer cargo space and greater comfort for the children. (Click here for a more in depth comparison.)

Strider Balance Bike

Strider Balance Bike

During the time you are riding with them they will reach the age where they want to learn how to ride. It is even easier to get your child riding on two wheels thanks to the balance bike. Children as young as eighteen months can start learning to ride with a balance bike. The idea of the balance bike is to allow children to learn how to balance and counter steer. This allows most children to bypass training wheels and move right to riding a two wheeler. Balance bikes are available in models that fit children from eighteen months to ten years old.

Once you have them riding on two wheels you may find that mom and dad want to ride longer then what the child has the energy for. To address this challenge there is the pedal trailer. A pedal trailer attaches to an adult bike and allows the child to pedal when they can. There are two styles of pedal trailers. The most popular is good for children starting at about 5 years of age depending on height etc. and have a sitting position just like a bicycle. This style is another great way to help children improve their balancing skills and allowing the adult to get a longer ride in. The second is a recumbent style that is geared for younger or smaller children less than 65 pounds. They sit in a seat and have a harness system that secures them, allowing them to pedal and enjoy the scenery.  Pedal trailer offer more fun and fitness for everyone on the ride.

With all the tools available it is easier than ever to get your child involved in cycling.

“After a little over a year from buying my bike at Crofton Bike Doctor I am even more convinced that my bike FIT was

Andrew Sink Fitting Alice

Andrew Sink Fitting Alice

critical to me making not just a good purchase, but a great purchase. This was my second bike purchase since I started racing in Triathlons, my first was a great bike but I just went by my own feel when I tested it. I noticed that especially on flat courses, where you do not change position often, I would get various aches and pains (e.g. lower back, sometimes my legs would get stiff). After racing my first Ironman I decided before I raced again for my second Ironman I was going to upgrade my bike. I found Crofton Bike Dr from taking winter bike classes at the store and really became comfortable working with them. Andrew Sink did my FIT, it took more than 2 hours with all the measurements but he determined not only my best positioning on a my bike but what bike fit my frame best. That alone saved me money because I had been told by friends to take advantage of a special of a bike deal being offered on the internet and I am glad I didn’t listen to them because I found out that brand was not a good fit for my body. The bike I ended up with was so easy to adjust to it felt like it had been made for me and I was comfortable on long rides right from the start. Due to that comfort and correct positioning my speed increased and I am getting more in touch with my potential in cycling. You do not need to be a competitor to need a FIT, you only need to want your bike to be the correct size for you and to be totally comfortable on those long rides. After a year with my bike and FIT I can say I am convinced it is the smartest way to go whether you are purchasing a new bike or just making yours more comfortable.”

Alice Spriesterbach – Ironman Triathlete – used with permission.

Bike: Speed Concept 9 Series

Learn more about our Fitting Services or give us a call.

A copy of Ernest’s March Arundel Voice article.

Warmer days are right around the corner and by the time you read this we will be enjoying later sunsets thanks to day light savings time.

Last month we talked about all of the great places to ride locally. If you missed it visit my blog for all of my Arundel Voice Articles. If you have a suggestion for an article please let me know. This month I would like to talk about what accessories are going to make your cycling fun and safer.

Helmet – of course. MD Law requires all riders under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. Wearing a bicycle helmet, besides being commonsense, is the brain’s major protection. Today’s helmets are safer than ever. And they are vented, comfortable and light. Federal properties, such as military bases and parks, require cyclists to wear a helmet. Helmets usually last 3 years or so, depending on use and climate. Always replace your helmet after it has sustained an impact.

Bell or Horn – It’s a Maryland law. The human voice does not meet the state requirement. A bell is a friendly way to signal your approach; and do “ring” well before you pass people.

Hydration – You need to stay hydrated while riding. A water bottle and cage is a small investment. Typically drink one bottle for each hour you ride. Water bottles have come a long way, they are easier to drink out of and many are designed to keep your drinker cooler on the hottest of days. Most of today’s bicycles come with mounting points for at least one if not two bottles. Also available are handlebar mounts. This style of mount is ideal for young children. Going long distances? Try a hydration pack. It can carry up to a hundred ounces of fluid while providing additional pouches for other items. Learn more about hydration here.

Photo ID and Emergency Contact Information – If something should happen, who do you want contacted? We recommend a RoadID in a jersey pocket or saddle bag. If something happens, you won’t be alone for long. Or use a luggage tag with pertinent info on it.

Cell Phone – perfect if you need to call someone for help. Most of today’s Smartphone’s have apps that can help you track your training, offer navigation and act as a cycling computer.

Camera – a great way to create memories from your ride to share for years to come. You never know what you will see.

Gloves –Gloves are easier to replace than the skin on your hands. They’re also comfortable.

Fix a Flat Kit –Spare tube, pump, tire levers. Be prepared for when you get a flat tire. Fixing a flat is relatively and with a little practice you’ll be an expert. If you don’t know how to fix a flat contact me and I will be happy to teach you. Even if you don’t know how to fix a flat it is important to carry the equipment you need to do so. That way a fellow cyclist can lend you a hand in your time of need.

Floor Pump – Proper tire inflation before a ride is key to avoiding flat tires. While not a take along item on a ride checking the inflation of your tires prior to the ride will reduce your likely hood of a flat.

These “essential” cycling accessories will make your riding safer and more enjoyable. I look forward to seeing you out on your bikes this year. Safe riding!

Here is a copy of Ernest’s February 2013 Arundel Voice Article. For a more complete list check out our Adventure Center and be sure to check out our Upcoming Rides and Events page for even more cycling events.


Hard to believe we are six weeks into 2013. I trust your plans for a more healthy 2013 are moving along for you. Before you know it, it will be warm and you’ll be looking for places to ride outdoors. Good news you live in an area that has lots of choices. If you are just looking for a basic trip, there is one. Looking for more adventure? Got that too. Whether you are looking for paved or unpaved options our area has many choices

A  popular option are bicycle trails, sometimes called rails to trails – Generally bike trails are paved and free from cars.  The terrain is gentle or almost flat.  Many trails are great places to ride with children or have a fun ride with families or friends

Do you want to get closer to nature? Unpaved trails similar to bicycle trails are a good option. Two that are close are the C&O Canal or the Torrey C. Brown Trail (formally the NCR Trail). If mountain biking is your preferred type of riding Patapsco State Park and Rosaryville State Park are short drives. Patapsco offers a little more variety in terrain where Rosaryville is an ideal place for the beginner to intermediate rider.

For the road cyclists there are many great roads that offer the cyclist routes of ten to greater than a hundred miles in length. There are many weekday and weekend rides for those looking to ride in a group. Baltimore Bicycle Club and Potomac Peddlers all have rides that leave from nearby areas.

I’d be happy to help you find the perfect place for your next cycling adventure. For more information please visit my blog or send me a message on Twitter.

A few local areas to get out and enjoy your bike:

Paved Trails:

W B & A Trail: Odenton, MD – It is 3.8 miles long and it runs from Piney Orchard Parkway and Odenton Road to Bragers Road, while passing through the Piney Orchard Nature Trail.  It is accessible from the bike shop, via Waugh Chapel Road. Though this road is not recommended for children, the bike trail is fine for them.

Baltimore & Annapolis Trail: Runs from Annapolis, MD to BWI Airport.  It is 10 feet wide and follows an old railroad route for more than 13 miles.  There are many places to start a ride.  Do any distance you like.  It has a rural feel, generally, and is suitable for wheelchairs and rollerblades.

It also joins the 12.5-mile Baltimore Washington International Trail (BWI), which loops the airport.

The BWI Trail: This 12.5 mile trail is popular for its distance, workout and amenities.  There is access from the Airport Observation Area, on Dorsey Road (parking, playground, picnic tables, planes right overhead). Ask us how to link the trail with local back roads for a long road ride.

Unpaved Trails:

C&O Canal Trail – This gravel trail runs 184 miles, from Cumberland to Georgetown on the old canal towpath. A bucolic, 10-mile stretch along the Potomac River begins at White’s Ferry, near Poolesville.  Many cyclists take a few days and ride its entire length. Lots of history and scenery, all the way.

Mountain Biking:

Patapsco Valley State Park:  Nationally known for advanced off-road trails, its nickname is “Moab of the East.”  But there are trails here for all skill levels, like the paved, circuit trail to the Swinging Bridge, a 300-foot walkway over the river. We can recommend trails, based on skill and trail conditions.  This park is just off Route 1 South.

Michelle at the Women’s Road Clinic

We had a great time this past weekend at our Women’s Road Clinic!

The clinic was led by Michelle and Britni, and the participants ranged from beginning cyclists to women with multiple years of road riding experience.

The first part of the clinic covered clipless pedals and how they can make a rider safer, more efficient, and more powerful on the bike. Next, the participants learned about shifting and how to choose the appropriate gearing and cadence for a given situation. The last part of the clinic covered group riding etiquette, and then concluded with a demonstration on changing a flat tire.

Thanks to all our customers for coming out! We plan on doing another clinic in the spring and will be doing some women’s specific rides occasionally this fall before the cold sets in. Want to stay abreast of all the fun things happening at the store? Be sure to like us on Facebook or join our e-mail list.