When Doug Emerson started University Bikes, or U-Bikes as most Boulderites know it, I don’t think he ever imagined he’d end up one of the best bike shops in the U.S. I’ll go for full disclosure and reveal I am good buds with Emo, but if his shop were a train-wreck of sullen employees and poor service, I’d choose never to write about it and let it lie. Happily for him and luckily for us, though, U-Bikes is an absolute dream of a shop. Here’s why:

1. Reasonable service–By this I mean the staff sells each customer what she or he needs–not the trinket with the highest margin, not the latest plasticky doodad from China, but what will make that customer’s cycling better, more fun, safer, etc.

2. Sane service–I’ve yet to hear a salesperson overwhelm a person with meaningless details only a bike dork (like me) would appreciate. I did get one of the guys to talk pretty heavy tech-geekery one time, but only because I was interested. Walk in and get the info you need, without the introductory course to carbon vibrations and aerodynamic testing.

3. Good service–Buy a bike at U-Bikes and you’ll get the thing tuned for life. Drop by with a squeaky brake and they’ll dial you. Quick.

4. Extra service–The gang at U-Bikes one time drove a spare inner tube out to a person who’d rented a bike, and then flatted miles north of town. Not bad!

5. Convenient service–By this I mean you can generally get an appointment that day or the next, for repairs, tune-ups, you name it. And get this, you can now buy energy gels, bars, inner tubes, lights, multi-tools, and some other stuff after hours. How? Well, the U-Bikes vending machine, that’s how. Drop by, pop in your credit card and away you go. Five a.m. ride, but you’re without an inner tube? No worries. Headed home and some pimply-faced kid ripped off your bike light? No sweat, drop by U-Bikes at 11 p.m. and you’ll have a new one in seconds.

Just another reason U-Bikes rules. They’re cool, they’re smart, and the owner’s not a bad guy at all. Viva U-Bikes!