Introducing Chocotenango



Have you ever thought about what it takes to be recognized as one of the best in the world in your particular specialty?  It’s not just talent and hard work - plenty of people have talent, and plenty work long hours.  It’s more than having access to vast financial resources as money alone does not ensure excellence either.  And it’s not just being well-studied and mastering the fundamentals – that may get you to an average level or above, but it will not put you on the world stage, recognized by your peers as one of the best at what you do.

What separates the best from the rest of the field is the ability to tap into extraordinary imaginative powers, and the dogged pursuit to bring the ideas to a reality worthy of the richness of the dream.  This means having a breadth of perspectives from life experience to tap, and an abundance of personal sacrifice to bring it to fruition.

It’s no secret that cyclists have an enhanced mental agility.  Master Chocolatier Ismael Neggaz is no exception.  He has been developing his recipes and techniques for over a decade, and his company Chocotenango has won multiple international and national awards.  He makes his chocolate right here in Washington DC by hand, which makes it even more incredible that he has achieved his level of excellence because hand tools do not afford the same level of precision as industrial machinery.  Look closely while you’re out and you may catch a glimpse of Ismael darting about town on his bicycle as he goes about putting Washington DC on the world chocolate map.

Break off a bit of a Chocotenango bar, put it on your tongue, and find something to hold on to.  Your mind will race off to the exotic places from which the exquisite combinations of tastes are derived, and after the silky flavors slowly dissipate you will be left wondering how it is possible that someone is able pack so much taste and texture into a small brown square.

BicycleSPACE is proud to announce that we have Chocotenango bars in stock at all three shops, just in time for the holidays and the winter season, available by the bar or by the case.  Stop by to try it out and tell us your story, and stay tuned to our media for Chocotenango tasting events at the shops.


Put Your Road Rage to the Page


Elly Blue and Joe Biel returned to BicycleSPACE Downtown for another great event during the National Bike Summit. Elly and Joe, of Microcosm Publishing, have been active in creating books, zines, and films centered around the intersection of bikes, transportation, gender, sexuality, race and class. 

Biel started Microcosm Publishing from his closet in Ohio over 20 years ago, in part as an outlet for depression. Today, Elly and Joe led “Put Your Road Rage to the Page,” a writing workshop and discussion on how to channel your frustrations in something positive. Attendees included locals, experienced commuters, new cyclists, a Lyft driver who bikes, a bike advocacy organizer from Cleveland, and a self-described “California bike industry shill,” from the lovely Merry Sales Co.  

The group enjoyed a passionate discussion where they wrote and shared personal stories that made them upset and frustrated, but also ways they find joy and inspiration in the bike world. Some criticisms we’re of the usual suspects, poor infrastructure and rude behaviors from drivers. Critiques also fell on the cycling community as well. Folks felt frustrated when those on bikes treated each other in negative ways, “shoaling” at lights, talking down to other genders, elitism, and erratic behavior that hurts the public image. 

The consensus was that these issues aren’t specific to the bike community, but relate to society at large. They discussed ways we can shift our attitudes towards empathy and compassion. Such as not assuming you know what’s best for others, instead they emphasized the power of getting to know people first and learn who they are. There was lots of support for random acts of kindness and micro-affections. 

Elly and Joe had folks compile a list of problems and solutions. Together the group came up with ways to work toward positive, productive outcomes within “your agency and locus of control.” The group got to know each other and shared stories from their own facets of the bike community. It’s always a pleasure hosting Elly and Joe and we can’t wait to see them again. Check out their site to learn more about their great work. 


Metro's Massive Repair Plan and Getting Started Bicycling

“Metro estimates unprecedented crush loads unless rail riders find alternative modes.” – Martin DiCaro, WAMU 88.5 News 


We applaud Metro’s Safe Track initiative, and are big fans of using public transportation.  Washington DC needs a safe and reliable Metro system, and now the work is getting done to make it that way.  But, according to ABC News, city officials are encouraging the 700,000 daily riders to avoid the Metrorail entirely for stretches at a time, in anticipation of extremely crowded train cars and platforms. 


The related shutdowns and closures will affect our regional transportation system, stretching it to its limits.  Many will experiment with starting to use a bicycle to get around town, and to and from work, at least on the nice days.  We, at BicycleSPACE have been getting around by bicycle in DC, some of us for over 30 years, and have some tips to share.  Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions.


Q:  When and where will the Metro system be affected, is there a plan and can I see it?


A:  See Metro’s press release here, and Metro Surge Schedule


Q:  Do you guys ride right out there in the street?


A:  Yes and no, it depends.  A lot of times we see new cyclists riding out on major roads, which we would never ride on.  We choose our routes based on our well-being, and fortunately there are an increasing number of options. 


The safest place to ride is on a trail where there is no nearby automobile traffic.  Examples are the W&OD Trail, the Four Mile Run trail, the Mount Vernon Trail, the Capital Crescent and Georgetown Branch Trails, the Metropolitan Branch Trail, and the Anacostia River Trail, soon to be completed.


Next down the safety list are physically separated bike lanes, or Cycletracks, such as the one on 15th Street NW, Pennsylvania Ave NW, on L and M streets downtown, and for a couple of blocks on 1st Street NE, right off the Metropolitan Branch Trail in the NoMa neighborhood near Union Station.


Then there are the painted lanes and secondary streets, which are better than riding out on the fast, busy thoroughfares.


Plan your routes ahead of time, and ask others which routes they use, and get familiar with bike maps.  Be creative.


Q:  Is there a place where I can see all this stuff?


A:  Yes!  Here is an official DDOT bike map which shows trails, Cycletracks, and lanes.

Here is a more regional map:

And a very good meshing of various regional maps.


Q:  Ok, so I’m going to try biking, but I’m not sure I’m going to like it so I don’t want to spend thousands, what are the main things I should look for in a bike?


A:  First off, it needs to be comfortable, meaning that it needs to be the right size and configuration for your particular body, and we’re all different.  The best way to do this is to talk with people like us whose goal every day is to match potential riders with the best bikes for them, and then go on a test ride.  We offer plenty of weekly opportunities to go on extended test rides at our shops and you may see a list of them here.

Next, the bike should be able to accommodate fenders and racks so you can arrive cleanly and comfortably to your destination.  Most of the bikes we carry do this, and here is a sampling of  some great bikes we carry for getting around town.


Q:  I’ve got an old bike in Mom’s garage, or I found one on craigslist or DC Used Bike Marketplace  and I was thinking about using that, is it practical?


A:  There are some great classic steel bikes out there from the 1970s and 1980s, which can work great for getting around town, with a couple of caveats.  If it was a low quality bike back when it was originally purchased, it still is.  But if it was mid to better quality, it could be a gem.


Most of those bikes came with steel wheels originally, which made them both heavy, and impossible to stop in wet weather because the brakes wouldn’t grab.  We pride ourselves in being able to modernize these bikes with lighter and brake-friendly aluminum wheels, and we are able to find many older parts, where necessary, to make these bikes quick and snappy, and great for the city.


Q:  What can or should I carry on a bike?


A:  A change of clothes and small towel is nice if you’re riding to work.  Most offices are kept cold in the summer, so when you get in you can wipe down and change in the bathroom and you dry right off with the A/C cranked the way is usually is. 


We like to carry a multi-tool as well to make adjustments (for example seat height) as we go, and to quickly fix anything that may have come loose, particularly on older bikes.  Also, a spare tube and a patch kit, and a CO2 inflator can be super handy to fix a flat, should it happen, and we can teach you how.  Avoid broken glass!


Q:  How do you carry stuff on a bike?


A:  Most people start out with their old school backpack, and the padding and warmth from it can be good on your back in the winter time, but in the warmer weather the extra heat from carrying a bag and the shoulder straps can be a real burden.  For this reason we attach a pannier (French for a bag used to carry bread) or two to a rear rack and carry the weight and bulk on the bike instead of our backs.  You can also get a bag which goes under the seat which can carry your repair kit and mobile device.  We have a selection of these at each of our shops to fit any budget or style sense, including backpacks made specifically for biking by Mission Workshop if you want to keep your bike cargo free.


Q:  Is there bike theft in DC?


A:  Yes, unfortunately there is.  But the good news is that you can deter theft with a high quality lock.  We went to Germany to see how the best locks in the world are made, and how they stand up to theft attempts of up to 8 tons of force. Watch our ABUS tour on Youtube here.


Q:  Got it, my first week was great, and I’m feeling great too!  Now, what can I do to make my ride more comfortable and enjoyable?


A:  How does the seat feel?  How are your wrists?  We are big believers in saddles by Brooks England, which can allow you to ride all day, comfortably, and they’ll fit on any bike.  There are also grip options, like those from Ergon which we love, or even some simple cork grips to make it easier on the hands.  Also, and especially on older bikes, you can swap out uncomfortable handlebars for a more appropriate bar.  Replacing racing bars with a Nitto Mustache or Dove bar on an older steel bike can give it a new life.  Also, you will make a bunch of tiny adjustments to the seat height and pitch, distance from the handlebars, you’ll rotate the bars until they feel just right, and attach a water bottle cage and water bottle to carry your favorite refresher with you, and a good multi-tool will help with that.


Finally, we do fit consultations with our Guru Fitting Machine and can help you to feel completely at home on your bike, even if it means working around previous injuries or limitations.  Here is a link to our service.



Q:  Do you guys do this year round?


A: Well, Scandinavians say that there’s no bad weather, just bad gear, and it makes sense.  Yes, most of us do ride in the colder months, but with good jackets, gloves, and rain gear at the ready.  The benefits of feeling great and the convenience and low cost, and sense of freedom experienced by getting around on a well-fit bicycle outweigh any slight discomforts of Jack Frost’s nipping.  You actually get to a point where you appreciate being out and taking part in the diversity that Nature has to offer instead of watching it passively from behind a glass screen, and there’s beauty in that.


Q:  Is there a place where I can find more local tips to riding safely?


A:  Have a look at this blog entry where we’ve listed much of what to watch out for on your journey, and introduce a methodology for staying out of harm’s way. 


We hope that the silver lining to the extensive Metro repairs is that a whole new population discovers how great it feels when getting around on a bicycle, and that they stick with it even once disruptions caused by the Metro repairs are a distant memory.  We invite you to any of our shops to discover what we consider the Spirit of Cycling.  




Ruggers ride

Bikes help connect you to what you love. Much of the Washington Women's Rugby Football Club, DC Furies, ride to weekly practices at Gallaudet University.

Founded in 1978, DC Furies is one of the oldest women's clubs in the country. Beginning with 5 women, the club now has 60 members, many of which compete at the elite level in the Women's Premiere League. 

The Furies host the largest Spring Rugby Tournament, Ruggerfest, in the country next weekend, April 16th and 17th. Check it out!

How does your bike connect you to your passion? Let us know in the comments. 

An amazing and awesome double grand opening


When we say you made our double grand opening amazing and awesome, we mean it definitively.

The words are used so often that it's easy to forget their root meanings. Amazing and awesome. Suffice it to say we're inspired by a sense of wonder, gratitude and heartfelt appreciation for your support.

You've gone home with lots and lots and lots of exciting new bikes. This makes us happy unto itself and even more happy to know we'll see you back for regular check-ups. And happier still to see you again to redeem your 10% back gift certificates.  

And we'll see dozens of you to pick up bikes you ordered. We know the wait is hard, but we're excited that you'll have to visit us again. ;)

One thing we learned from our time in the pop-up shop at 5th and G Streets is that home is where the heart is. You came to us and continued to consider us your community bike shop under the most crowded, disorderly and challenging circumstances. Voting with your feet, you proved you most value our BicycleSPACE community and we couldn't be happier.

You proved it yet again during our grand opening. If we couldn't locate something right away or there was a wait for a salesperson or mechanic, you were the consummate diplomat. We noticed and appreciate your resilience.

Thanks to all our loyal customers who brought their own friends to our shops to introduce them to the BicycleSPACE difference.

We made new friends and benefitted from existing relationships during this eventful weekend. We send sincere thanks to these individuals and businesses.

Adams Morgan

Tryst donated three platters of food on Saturday afternoon, plus five gift certificates to our raffle.

Mmmmm. Thanks, Tryst!

Mmmmm. Thanks, Tryst!

Acme Pie Co. donated untold numbers of delectable pies to sweeten our Saturday.

The CakeRoom Bakery was the icing on the cake Sunday morning. Earlybirds enjoyed delicious cupcakes the bakery donated.

Mellow Mushroom warmed us midday Sunday with generous pizza donations.

Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe filled our vast SPACE with music for the coolest cats in Adams Morgan both Saturday and Sunday. Plus, they raffled seriously covetable prizes.

Toro Mata hand-delivered flowers to us. They bought the lovely bouquet at neighboring Little Shop of Flowers. 

Roofers Union and a number of Adams Morgan residents welcomed us via social media.

Bromptoneers, with BicycleSPACE co-owner Phil Koopman at left, paid a visit to our Mt. Vernon Triangle shop. From there, they rode to our Adams Morgan shop then lunched at Mellow Mushroom.

Bromptoneers, with BicycleSPACE co-owner Phil Koopman at left, paid a visit to our Mt. Vernon Triangle shop. From there, they rode to our Adams Morgan shop then lunched at Mellow Mushroom.

The Brompton Bicycle Club created a Sunday event around our grand openings, visiting both shops then lunching at Mellow Mushroom to recycle bicyclists' consumer dollars back to a friendly business.

The Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District (AMPBID) hand-delivered the gift bags the Saturday earlybirds enjoyed. AMPBID has been a steadfast supporter all along.

We tip our cycling caps to our Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C for their statesmanship in welcoming us to the neighborhood.

Mt. Vernon Triangle

A Baked Joint donated gift certificates to our raffle.

A Baked Joint and 5th Street Ace Hardware welcomed us to put flyers in their stores and sent good wishes via social media.

Our bicyclist Ward 6 councilman, Charles Allen, paid us a visit on Sunday afternoon.

Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, left, with BicycleSPACE co-owner Phil Koopman, gesturing so enthusiastically his hands are blurry. We love how a gorgeous Celeste Bianchi Milano Dama photobombs at right.

Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, left, with BicycleSPACE co-owner Phil Koopman, gesturing so enthusiastically his hands are blurry. We love how a gorgeous Celeste Bianchi Milano Dama photobombs at right.

The Mt. Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District and its marketing committee are supportive allies as we open shop.

We tip our cycling caps to our Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6E for their statesmanship in welcoming us to the neighborhood.

It takes a village to grow and sustain the largest bike shop in D.C. We sincerely thank our village people for investing in our amazing and awesome grand opening.

Double Grand Opening weekend rides

BicycleSPACE rides for Double Grand Opening weekend of July 11-12

Saturday, July 11

Hills of Anacostia departs from 440 K St NW at 8 a.m.

Nice & Easy departs from both locations. Two simultaneous rides depart from 440 K St NW and 2424 18th St NW at 10 a.m.

Cupcake Ramble departs from 440 K St NW at 11:30 a.m. It ends with treats in Adams Morgan at 2424 18th St NW.

Sunday, July 12

Nice & Easy departs from both locations. Two simultaneous rides depart from 440 K St NW and 2424 18th St NW at 10 a.m.

City Explorers departs from 440 K St NW at 11:30 a.m.

This will be our regular ride schedule from now on. Later this month, we're introducing a Hills of Rock Creek Park ride at 8 a.m. Sundays from Adams Morgan. Details coming soon! 

10% back when you buy a bike this weekend

This one is truly a standout, so we're dedicating a post to share our valuable offer with you.

Buy any bike and we'll email you a gift certificate for 10% of its value. Your $1,000 bike nets you a $100 gift certificate.

But, wait. There's more.

This offer can be combined with 15% off bikes of $1,500 or more. 

Double dip during our Double Grand Opening!

And, double dip again by doing your own personal Tour de BicycleSPACE. Shop in one location and show your receipt at the other location for 10% off your purchase (excluding bikes and labor).

If you feel like you need a scorecard, you're right. We'll have printouts at each shop so you can see all our awesome offers on one page.

Double Grand Opening of BicycleSPACE Adams Morgan and Downtown July 10-12

Good things come to those who wait!

The wait is over, friends. Our Adams Morgan and downtown shops are having a Double Grand Opening July 10-12, 2015.

Some of the fun includes:

  • Win a bike ($1,000 value)
  • Buy any bike and we'll email you a gift certificate for 10% of its value ($1,000 bike = $100 gift certificate)
  • 15% off bikes $1,500+ (excluding cargo, electric and folding bikes)
  • Show your receipt from one shop and get 10% off at the other (excluding bikes and labor)
  • photo contest
  • free water bottles

The festivities take place during normal business hours:

Adams Morgan

Friday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. | Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. | Sunday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.


Friday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. | Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. | Sunday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Short and Sweet FAQ

What's new? All about our new bikes and products.

What about the weekend rides? Here's the schedule.


Thank you for keeping the faith and believing that a better BicycleSPACE was on the horizon. What was once an abstraction of architectural renderings is now a brick-and-mortar reality.

The shops are filling up with beautiful, durable, functional things and an eye-popping assortment of more bikes than ever before, e-bikes, clothes, shoes and so much more.

The most important component is you, our dear friends. We can't wait to welcome you into our new homes.

We'd love to see you at both shops and will reward you with a special offer: Show your receipt from one shop and get 10% off at the other (excluding bikes and labor).

Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media for updates about our Double Grand Opening Extravaganza.