Best Bike Shop 2002 | Big Wheel Cycles and Fitness Center | Goods & Services | South Florida
Not only can you pick up bikes by every manufacturer from Schwinn to Diamond Back to GT to Redline and a dozen more at this superstore; you can also get just about every kind of bicycle, from BMX to 24-speed mountain bike. Prices start at $109 for a 12-inch girls bike and go as high as $3600 for a Klein Quantum Pro, a road model with handmade frame and full Dura-ace components. Aside from all the two-wheeled suckers, there are trikes, skateboards, Rollerblades, exercise machines, and more, making Big Wheel Cycles a one-stop shop for just about every man-powered vehicle and piece of exercise equipment in existence. And for those of us too lazy to use our own muscles to move from place to place, the store also carries Go-Peds and hybrids. If you want to move faster than a walk but don't want all the expense and trouble of a car, this is your place. The store is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It's closed Sunday.
For the snowbirds fleeing New York or Montreal, South Florida's sand, palms, and thongs are a different world. But if that's not enough for them, Leaping Minds offers the opportunity to step off the sunny streets and onto a different planet. It's spiced with 75 kinds of incense; soothing New Age music floats above mounds of crystals and far-out knickknacks. A selection of religious statuary from Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions looks out on a spacious store arranged in accordance with feng shui principles, from the varicolored walls to the central fountain. Owner Greg Macneir, formerly a personal trainer, started the shop two years ago intending to be as ecumenical as possible. "We carry everything from angels to Zen," Macneir says as his friendly sheepdog, Sheba, mingles with regular customers, some of whom browse the 2000-title book selection that ranges from astrology to George Bernard Shaw's Vegetarian Cookbook. Nor are books and baubles the only draw. A Zen fountain with chimes goes for $115, and incense sells for 13 cents a stick. A gent named Reverend Bill offers "intuitive" (psychic) readings. And healing sessions are conducted by a man Macneir touts as a genuine Peruvian shaman. The shop's most recent addition, classes in four styles of yoga, have attracted more than 1000 sign-ups since February. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Of course, this is a New Age store, so you never really know.
Vehicles are like human beings. Some live a long life, married to two, three different owners. As the years pass, the fuel and exhaust systems tend to constipate, endurance diminishes, and the sheet metal buckles and sags. Other cars and trucks, however, pass on well before their time from rollovers, broadsides, and other highway mayhem. Old or young, they all end up in salvage yards. The elderly are crushed. From the young, though, come a harvest of parts: alternators, carburetors, radiators, air conditioners. From its 800 dead vehicles, Millions of Parts will pull what you need, or, if you want to trade your sweat for cash, unbolt it yourself for an even lower price. For example, strip an alternator off a '95 Whatever and pay only $20; take the radiator, $40. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Purely and simply, Rothe's takes the fear out of getting your car fixed. Two financial concerns loom every time the old Olds craps out: How much will the repair itself actually cost, and how much in addition to that will you get ripped off? With Rothe's, the latter is of zero concern, because Rothe's is one of those Mayberry, RFD kinda places that puts the lie to honest mechanic being an oxymoron. Sure, the tab for the repair itself is unavoidable, but here, it's always reasonable. Most important, with Rothe's, you won't also get bamboozled into replacing your shocks and your belts and that other thingamajig. When you take your rattletrap in thinking you need new brakes for 200 bucks, how many other places will tell you that you just needed an adjustment for 20 bucks? Rothe's will. When's the last time you've been pleasantly surprised by a car repair bill? With Rothe's, it can happen. No fear, indeed.
No sports nut is as gadget-happy as an angler. At Outdoor World, there are thousands of rods, tens of thousands of reels, hundreds of thousands of sinkers, millions of bobbers, and zillions of jigs. Lures? They number in the gazillions. But forget the mind-boggling numbers. Since the Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World set up shop in Dania Beach, South Florida anglers have been able to find innumerable gadgets under one 160,000-square-foot roof. This store, just off I-95 at Griffin Road, is no ordinary bait-and-tackle shop. This is quite simply an angler's ultimate -- sorry about this -- wet dream. If you buy more than will comfortably fit in your tackle box, don't worry. Just purchase a boat and trailer and drive your haul out of the parking lot. But there is one drawback. Between the giant aquarium, the stuff, the regularly held workshops, the stuff, the casting clinics, and, oh yeah, all that stuff, some anglers find no need ever to go out on the water again. When they talk about the big one that got away, they're discussing the killer rod-and-reel combo on the clearance rack that someone else snagged before they could even get their feet, well, wet.

Get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Get fired, divorced, or just step in something smelly? Head over to AA Lock and Gun and take out your aggressions by paying $75 annual membership to rent a Ruger (after taking a safety course), entering the indoor range, and knocking off a few rounds. Where else can you do all that? AA Lock and Gun is an institution, arming South Florida since 1963. The appraiser and gunsmith have about 80 years of experience between them. The shop carries Browning, Ruger, Colt, Remington, Smith and Wesson... basically, any maker you might want. And any ammunition as well, from .22 to the massive .454 Casull, which makes Dirty Harry's .44 magnum bullets look like pop-gun fare. The place is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Whatever the problem, you'll feel better after you've put some big holes in that human-shaped paper target. Just leave it at that.
If flintlocks pull your trigger, hustle on down to Mark 1st Antiques on the corner of Dania Beach Boulevard and Federal Highway. In the modest, mural-splashed, one-story building anchoring the south end of the antique district, owner Mark Furst (get it?) presides over cases and racks packed with obsolete military technology, from World War II helmets to samurai armor. Amid the standard antique-shop clutter of silver plate, china, and jewelry stand displays of daggers and pistols. Exotically twisted swords and elaborate old rifles hang on the walls. But Furst doesn't carry homicidal hardware made after 1898, only the classic stuff. Half a century ago, Furst, who then lived in Chicago, bought an 1810 Russian pistol in Germany for $10 and discovered he could sell it back home for $50. In 1980, he moved his business to Dania, where -- assumedly -- he's been profiting ever since.

This place is the Starship Enterprise of storage, sans photon torpedoes. No chance of doors slamming on your ass here, friends. Motion detectors swoosh portals open at your arm-filled approach. Same deal with the lights; you're never hunting for a switch, because they pop on automatically. Air conditioning keeps sweat to a minimum, as do the plentiful carts and dollies for pushing your cargo around. Sorry, no Ten Forward bar. A 5-by-10-foot air-conditioned room, about right for a one-bedroom apartment, costs $103 a month. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
The wall of dildos and vibrators is mind-boggling. Hmm, boggles more than the mind, we guess. This adult playland offers a variety of ways to spice up your sex life. The X-Factor is a large space that sells reasonably priced, run-of-the-mill nonoxyl-9 lubricants like Astroglide and a few harnesses with all the basic straps for couple-fixin'. Knowing that safe sex is the best sex, the owners also provide a load of options in the latex department, including reality condoms, which are worn by ladies. But c'mon, aren't women always having to take care of everything when it comes to freaking? That's why you should pick up a blindfold for under $10 or a nice pair of $20 wristcuffs for your gal. And don't forget to snag some pamphlets about how to clean and care for your new toys on your way out.
The Swiss-chalet architecture of this place puts one's mind at ease. You could almost expect to walk into the store for a cup of hot chocolate and a bit of friendly banter with some girl named Heidi. If the girl in question were naked except for a pair of six-inch high heels and the chocolate in question were being poured over her body, you'd actually be close. Megaplexxx is looking forward to a bright future as a smuthouse. It has titles in all the important porn subcategories and even sub-subcategories. "Teens," for instance, is not a category in and of itself anymore. You have to know whether you want teen cheerleaders, teen schoolgirls, naughty teens, nice teens, 30-year-old women pretending to be teens, and so on. Whatever you come up with, Megaplexxx probably has it. Even Swiss teens involved in a chocophiliac love scene... well, maybe.

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