• On supporting your local bike shop, or not

    by  • August 31, 2011 • News • 8 Comments

    This morning I read a great post by 718 Cyclery that got me thinking. Joe the owner of the shop was responding to Groupon’s pitch breaking down simple math to show what a horrible deal it can be for a local business to opt into a deal site. See his awesome math below.

    For a shop such as his which specializes in service I can see why bringing in people who are shopping for a deal doesn’t make sense. These people can find deals online. For those who are looking for advice and a friendly face, there is the local bike shop. The fact that Joe writes about his experiences opening a store and reaches out to the community adds something to your buying experience that you can’t get online.

    When I was first starting out, Recycle a Bicycle gave me some great advice about fixing up my beater bike which saved me a bunch of money. Ride Brooklyn and 9th St Cycles have been super helpful and friendly along the way. The reputation that precedes bike shops for being snobby and grumpy seems to be fading. Well that is unless you are R & A Cycles.

    I have found that sometimes shops do mess up or dismiss my knowledge, but it’s the shops that try to make it right that win me over. Take Bike Habitat for example. They wrote on their website that my first flat would be on them but when I went into the store, one of the employees told me not to believe everything I see on the internet. I tweeted about it and they apologized and made it right. They’ve been super supportive and helpful ever since.  I had a similar experience with Brooklyn Bike and Board and they also fixed the issue right away.

    Sometimes shops try to do it right but still rub me the wrong way. Take Bowery Lane Bikes for example. Yesterday there was a tweet on #bikenyc.

    It seems that they were trying to make it right but were overwhelmed with the response to their model call. And so they messed up. Do women who are upset about your model call appreciate your poor taste in humor? Not so much. They have potentially lost a handful of customers in this interchange.

    All this is to say support your local bike shop if they make you warm and fuzzy or at least treat you right! Amazon can only do so much.