(credit: DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

For those who like bikes, how things are changing in the East Bay. Following years of effort from bicycle advocates, as of October 2013, bicycles are now allowed on BART at any time. For those in need of pointers, tips on bike etiquette populate the web following that decision. Visionaries can imagine the day when Oakland and San Francisco are connected from start to finish. In the meantime, we watch and wait for progress on extending the Alexander Zuckerman bicycle-pedestrian path dedicated to the founder of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. Members of EBBC should ask about discounts offered by many of the bike shops throughout the area. The East Bay has a good number of great bike shops, especially in Oakland, so find the one that makes you the happiest.

Pioneer Bike Shop
11 Rio Vista Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 658-8981

The lack of a website for this small business is more than compensated for by owner Edmund Gee’s hospitality, great prices and service, plus his superior know-how. What you need to know is that he’s closed on Sundays and Mondays. If you’re thinking of buying a new or used bike, this is not the place. If you’re thinking of bringing your existing bike in for repairs or an overhaul, come here first. If you don’t know whether your current bike is salvageable, do find out here.

Wheels of Justice Cyclery
1554 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA 94707
(510) 524-1094

How nice is this? Wheels of Justice Cyclery offers to look over a used bike that you’ve purchased elsewhere, or your own bike, to make sure it’s cycle-worthy. If repairs are needed, customers get a free, no-obligations appraisal with costs explained prior to committing to any work. The shop is an expert in the Body Geometry fitting program, one of 15 shops in the nation named for their expertise in special fitting philosophy. A 30-day test ride program on new purchases is available and kids’ bike purchases attract discounts of 50 percent toward each new bicycle as they grow.

Montano Velo
4266 Piedmont Ave.
N. Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 654-8356

Poetry in motion; this shop is a feast for sore eyes. Check out the brand lineup and the jerseys to match: Moots, Pinarello, Surly, Bianchi, Dario Pegaretti and Broakland. If you want to talk shop regarding torque tubes, bearings and powertaps with ace mechanics, bet on this being the place. Book ahead for the tech department.

Manifesto Bicycles
421 40th St.
N. Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 595-1155

“Manifesto believes in bicycles,” says the website, “…as examples of design, engineering and efficiency…practical, low-cost and non-polluting.” With the coffee shop next door and the parklet out front, these folks are rocking this corner of North Oakland with a bike philosophy to match. According to owner Sam, we can all be a lot freer without cars. It’s all about getting joy out of ridership.

Tip Top Bike Shop
4800A Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 444-4148

Owners Richard and Charlotte have a full inventory of new bikes, accessories and gear from plenty of trusted brands on hand. Purchase the latest or get some expert TLC for your beloved and oldest. Change out your saddle and bars, or ask all of the questions a newbie could possibly have. Come in for a conversation about what kind of bike works best for your needs. Or get a second bike.

Mike’s Bikes
1615 N. California Blvd.
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(925) 954-1490

Everybody in the Bay Area knows Mike’s Bikes, and possibly their parents did, too. Founded in 1964 as the first Schwinn shop in Marin, Mike’s Bikes was an early adopter of mountain bikes and has kept on top of bicycle evolution ever since. In a string of local shops, including Berkeley, Walnut Creek and Pleasanton, dozens of staffers are passionate bicycle enthusiasts who want to spread the love. With feet firmly planted in the charitable arena, Mike’s Bikes contributes to AIDS/Lifecycle, promotes racing teams supporting the American Heart Association and has provided 10,000 bikes to Africa since 2008.

Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.