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As many of you may know, I left Florida back in April for the wilds and chill of the midwest…Dayton, Ohio to be exact. Just before I left, I asked our readers to recommend bike shops and routes in the area. As I was unfamiliar with the “lay of the land” when I got here, I still didn’t have a good grasp of what shops were local to me.

Enter Performance Bike — I had been a mail-order/online customer of theirs for literally decades (I remember the first printed catalogs in the mid-80s), and I stumbled across one of their retail shops on one of my family’s first forays around town. My local Performance shop is in Kettering and is overwhelmingly the most convenient (and closest) shop to my house.

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I stopped in periodically to chat and to browse the sale racks…desperately scrambling to get a cold-weather clothing set for the winter soon to follow. Heck, Performance even heard about my move and sent me a $25.00 gift certificate to encourage me to stop in more often!

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On the whole, I have been extremely impressed with the staff at my local Performance. I had been to one other Performance shop just after the company started building retail locations…this one was in the D.C. Metro area back in the late 80s. Suffice it to say I was underimpressed at the time. Also, I had heard a variety of horror stories about the quality of the repair staff at the retail locations…many of them on bike forums I frequent.

That’s simply not the case at my local outlet…manager Kevin Sintz is dead-serious about running a tight ship, with trained and certified mechanics and friendly salespeople. They treat me like a minor Internet cycling celebrity when I go in there (ha!)…they even remember my children’s names and help entertain them while I shop. Kevin has some flexibility in tailoring his shop’s wares to reflect local needs, and he and his staff are very active in local cycling events and advocacy initiatives. I have gotten so much good information from the employees there…good mountain biking trails to try, invitations to cyclocross training clinics, suggested routes around the region. It is always a pleasant experience going in there, and I am very appreciative of their nature in welcoming me to the community.

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The retail store here is gigantic…and has examples from throughout Performance Bike’s massive online catalog. There are literally hundreds of bikes racked up, ready to sell, and a huge variety of clothing, shoes and accessories to choose from. The place is always clean and the staff is ALWAYS friendly — never hesitating to welcome my family to the store and answering questions. No matter how busy it is in there, someone is always ready to chat for a while. I like that a lot. Oh, and they have a clearance table back near the mechanic’s station…lots of goodies at rock-bottom prices if one is willing to dig a bit!

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I’ve since discovered other bike shops in the area, but I keep coming back to Performance — with the exception of one tiny bike shop far away from my house, Performance is the only other local place that hasn’t given me a bad experience. I am VERY particular about the bike shops I do business with, and a good shop is worth its weight in gold.

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Don’t be afraid…if there’s a Performance Bike in YOUR area, you might want to give it a try. You might be as surprised as I was!