• 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.

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    8 Responses to On supporting your local bike shop, or not

    1. Joe
      August 31, 2011 at 2:38 PM

      Thanks for the support!

    2. Amanda
      September 1, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      I don’t really want to perpetuate this, but I feel like it needs to be mentioned that when there is a model or actor call for a commercial, a movie, a play, an editorial shoot, there is a specific look that a director or photographer is looking for to fulfill their needs for that particular shoot. In this case the director (who is doing this for free, most likely for their portfolio) is more than likely envisioning a scene that includes a girl riding a bike with her hair blowing in the wind, which is a classic and romantic visual that has been used many times because of the feelings and sentiment it evokes.

      As a photographer myself and someone who works in the photo and fashion industries, I find the instant outrage over their model call (and there was outrage even before they had a chance to make a response) completely out of line and maybe, perhaps ignorant of what exactly a model call is and how video and photo shoots work. Initially, Bowery made a nice, professional, maybe not thorough enough, but still pleasant response. I can see why they would get ticked when the negative comments continued, insinuating that they have something against women with short hair (which they clearly do not). The following comment in which they ask, “Really? Seriously?” and tell them that they can do whatever they want when they want to shoot a commercial for them for free (which their current director is obviously doing), was not necessarily a good PR move by any means, but you know what? They’re human. It’s a small company, it’s probably not a PR robot who makes all the right moves and has a human reaction when they are basically being accused of holding a sexist attitude. If I were in their shoes, in that moment which was somewhat heated for twitter, I’m not sure I’d even be able to keep myself that well composed.

      Take a look at just about any model or actor call and you will be very hard pressed to find one that doesn’t include a list of characteristics that they are looking for, be it, male, female, tall, short, ethnicity.

    3. September 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      sure thing Joe! thanks for the great post.

    4. September 1, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      Hey Amanda,

      Thanks for your thoughts. While I definitely hear you regarding the model call (and because it’s true they can do what they want) the point was that they didn’t address their expectations clearly. That “really? seriously?” tweet was pretty messed up regardless of how frustrated they were. And as you can see in my post, the point is that it is normal and human to mess up but it’s what happens afterward that matters.

      Tweeting “Just for clarification. the BLB Crew loves ALL the ladies, long, short, or NO hair….no. not like that ;)” another off color joke about women’s pubic hair is not the way to amends with women who feel slighted for having short hair because it doesn’t “envision a scene that includes a girl riding a bike with her hair blowing in the wind, which is a classic and romantic visual.” In today’s media world, I don’t think a small business can afford to be an ass to potential customers online or in person. If that is how their Twitter person acts, then their store culture probably follows suit. Others can make of it what they will, but they’ve lost my business for now.

    5. BLB Crew
      September 1, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      Turns out we used a short hair girl anyway so, theres that… but have fun.

    6. September 2, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      Amazon isn’t going to get their nails dirty fixing my bike that I’m too girly to fix myself.

      I’m overjoyed to give my local bike shops money for my frivolous bike tweaks and adjustments.

    7. Heather
      September 2, 2011 at 10:27 PM

      “BLB Crew” sounds like a fraternity of lame young boys – and yes, your pubic hair jokes are only slightly more lame than your bikes.

    8. Laura
      September 5, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      I didn’t even think they were referring to pubic hair, I thought the tweet was referring to loving the ladies. Clearly, I have removed my head from the gutter for too long!

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