Want to have a look round a bike shop without even leaving the house? Google's Business Photos service is effectively Street View for stores, and Sigma Sport in Kingston is one of the first bike shops in the UK to take advantage of the new technology to let you have a look round their store any time. You can even go upstairs.
Business Photos has been available for a couple of months. Google don't take the photos themselves; you'll need to find yourself one of Google's 'trusted photographers' if you want your business shot with one of the special 360° cameras. According to Bikebiz this can cost as little as £250 for a small store, so we'd expect to see more bike shops taking advantage over the coming months. Thomas's Cycle Revolution in Ipswich is another store that's been an early adopter
Okay you won't be able to browse the shelves to see if they've got a particular kind of brake block in stock – it's only a static photo, after all – but it could be useful to give you an idea of the sort of bikes and products a store sells, or for scoping out shops in another area if you're visiting. You can access the inside view from a shop's Google+ page or by virtually walking in from Street View; a double direction arrow is the indicator to look for that there's a shop you can look inside.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.