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Posts tagged “bike shops

Just Riding Along… Customer Service?!?

(Drags out soapbox…)

Let me tell you a story:

When I moved to the Cincinnati area a few years ago, one of the tasks on my list of things to do was to find my next local bike shop. I really like supporting the “mom and pop” style stores, and bike shops are no exception. On my off days from my then new job, I would drive around with an address and shop name (Yes kids, this was before smartphones were affordable) and search out my next potential shop to give my money.

Some days, I would go in all by my lonesome, and just window shop. Maybe I would buy a spare tube, but basically I would just feel out the store, and see if there was a nice vibe from the employees. Most of the time, I was met with smiles and good information about the local trails, bike models, etc. Then, my wife started back to work, and I now had a companion to my search: My “just learning to walk” daughter. My, how this changed the game…

Right off of the bat, things were different. Gone were the overly enthusiastic sales people, asking me if I needed anything at my every turn. In their place were employees that had to be sought out. When I would ask any type of cycling related question, I was met with short answers and an almost disdain for even asking my query. The first time this happened I chalked it up to someone having a case of the Mondays. Then it happened again. And again. Only one store in the Cincinnati area treated me the same during my long term experiment, child or no child, which is my shop today, Bishop’s Bicycles.

So why the soapbox rant? This happened again just a few days ago at another shop. I normally do not go to this shop, but I did have a gift card, so the plan was to order a new rack and a set of new handlebars. For the record, this was WAY over the gift card limit. This trip however, I had my now walking and talking daughter and her new little brother. Double whammy. This shop dismissed my every question, and treated me like I was bringing in a Huffy off of the streets. It is hard to describe with words, but it was definitely there. Hard to imagine in a weak economy, when someone comes into your place of business you treat them bad enough to make them not want to return. That is what happened in this case. Now I will probably just buy $30 worth of tubes.

Question time: Has anyone ever had this happen to them? Any shop employees or owners have some insight on this? Why give the cold shoulder to a shopper with children? Just because I have my kids with me doesn’t mean that I am not going to spend a considerable amount of money in your store. Please keep that in mind…

Rant over.

Just keep spinning…

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Bikes R In and a fat bike…

Last week I was lucky enough to get to spend some time with my family in wonderful Emerald Isle North Carolina. Perfect weather, great company, and quite the cycling infrastructure. It absolutely blew my mind that a tourist based community could have such a strong cycling culture. If only major cities would take notice. Anyway, while driving around from one nature hike to another I happened to stumble upon a gem of a bike shop. Enter Bikes R In

Now normally while on vacation, I try to stay out of bicycle shops unless I need that random part to fix one of my bikes, but while driving by this little shop, a certain bicycle caught my eye. Sitting out front of the shop was a Sun Spider AT (Click for specs.), a beach cruiser fat bike! I had never seen one of these before, but I had to take a closer look. This bike was made for cruising around slowly in the sand, with 26×4.0 tires, a relaxed geometry, a Sturmey Archer 2 speed coaster brake hub, and did I mention 26×4.0 tires? This bike really made my day, and for the price of around $800, it almost went home with me. The main reason that it did not was due to the fact it is a cruiser bike only, no rim or disc brake mounts on this rig. Still a very cool bike.

Once inside the shop after drooling over the fat bike, I was blown away with the amount of bikes packed in the store’s space. Everything was covered, from the dedicated road ride, to a dual suspension mountain bike, folding bikes, recumbents, even unicycles hanging from the ceiling, every cycling discipline was covered. The shop also has rental bikes to keep you peddling even while on vacation. This is the type of shop that every cyclist wishes they had in their area. If you are in the Emerald Isle area, stop by and check them out, I know that I will the next time that I am visiting family. Who knows, maybe I will take home a new fat bike…