The Chainlink

I want to hear from everyone, what do you hate about a bike shop? What do you love? What is missing from shops in Chicago?

We are changing our name and want to improve our store. We are Chicago bikers as well as a community bike shop and really want to figure out how a shop can do it best. We are creating more events as well.

What kind of events do people want to participate in? Information sessions? Mechanic workshops? Rides? Social events? Art shows?

Here is what I love and hate:
I hate when a bike shop staff talks down to me.
I love when I can have a great conversation in a bike shop.
I love when someone will go out of their way to order that extra part and call me when it's in.
I hate when a shop simply wants to sell stuff. They don't care about you, they just care about your money.
I love when the staff in a shop is passionate about bikes instead of the paycheck they're recieving that week.
I love when a shop feels inviting.

Your turn. Share some great or bad experiences and what you love, hate, and want to see.

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I hate the "you're not cool enough to be here" attitudes.

I absolutely love, finding good used parts.
I love when a shop will tell me the extra things I need to know sans attitude.
I love when they go out of thier way to help.

I hate the attitude "you're a girl and you don't know anything about bikes" that I can come across.
I hate it that when I tell them all of what I need they look at me surprised, "wow, you know what a hex wrench is?"

I would like to see an all woman owned shop. There are a lot of women cyclists and I feel we should have a safe haven for workshops (I already know of the existing women's workshops), place to go for advice without feeling intimidated. Either that, or a place that completely revamps their attitudes and keeps an open mind for newbies without the pretentiousness.
Uptown is woman-owned and has a lot (relatively-speaking) of female employees. And I never get the holier-than-thou/too cool for school intimidation that's unfortunately too prevalent in many shops.

When I was younger and knew about jack-squat, I couldn't STAND when someone at the bike shop would come at me with that clinical bicycle jargon. I'd just sit there and nod and wish I knew what the hell this person was talking about. And I felt because I didn't "talk the talk", I was getting sold an expensive bill of goods that may or may not be what I REALLY needed. I also had a bike shop talk up a bike to me, eventually selling me a 16" MTB (I'm 6'1"); I suspect it was because it was the only model of that bike they had built up at th shop. That STILL pisses me off to this day.

I'd also love to see FUN rides at shops. Not those supposed "no-drop" rides that are still draped in some sort of competitive dressing. That's bound to be off-putting to so many riders, and it kinda stinks of elitism.

Ammo said:
I love when a shop will tell me the extra things I need to know sans attitude.
I love when they go out of thier way to help.

I hate the attitude "you're a girl and you don't know anything about bikes" that I can come across.
I hate it that when I tell them all of what I need they look at me surprised, "wow, you know what a hex wrench is?"

I would like to see an all woman owned shop. There are a lot of women cyclists and I feel we should have a safe haven for workshops (I already know of the existing women's workshops), place to go for advice without feeling intimidated. Either that, or a place that completely revamps their attitudes and keeps an open mind for newbies without the pretentiousness.
What do you mean by "no drop," and competitive dressing would be themed rides?
I really like to see women in cycling and in bike mechanics. Never ever met another female mechanic from a shop though. As much as I agree, I don't think it matters WHO exactly runs a shop. Tell me more, if a shop was all women, vs. men and women, what advantages would it have for you?

justJason said:
Uptown is woman-owned and has a lot (relatively-speaking) of female employees. And I never get the holier-than-thou/too cool for school intimidation that's unfortunately too prevalent in many shops.

When I was younger and knew about jack-squat, I couldn't STAND when someone at the bike shop would come at me with that clinical bicycle jargon. I'd just sit there and nod and wish I knew what the hell this person was talking about. And I felt because I didn't "talk the talk", I was getting sold an expensive bill of goods that may or may not be what I REALLY needed. I also had a bike shop talk up a bike to me, eventually selling me a 16" MTB (I'm 6'1"); I suspect it was because it was the only model of that bike they had built up at th shop. That STILL pisses me off to this day.

I'd also love to see FUN rides at shops. Not those supposed "no-drop" rides that are still draped in some sort of competitive dressing. That's bound to be off-putting to so many riders, and it kinda stinks of elitism.

Ammo said:
I love when a shop will tell me the extra things I need to know sans attitude.
I love when they go out of thier way to help.

I hate the attitude "you're a girl and you don't know anything about bikes" that I can come across.
I hate it that when I tell them all of what I need they look at me surprised, "wow, you know what a hex wrench is?"

I would like to see an all woman owned shop. There are a lot of women cyclists and I feel we should have a safe haven for workshops (I already know of the existing women's workshops), place to go for advice without feeling intimidated. Either that, or a place that completely revamps their attitudes and keeps an open mind for newbies without the pretentiousness.
There are rides that are touted as "no-drop" i.e. no one gets lefts behind. But the average pace (at least what I've found) is 18-20 mph, much quicker than the average cyclist rides. If you were to show up to a ride with say, a swank 3 speed, dressed pretty much as you would everyday, and everyone else there is pretty much lycra-clad and armed with the latest carbon fiber technology, I'd wager you'd be kinda intimidated.

Not saying there SHOULDN'T be quick, racy rides (I actually do dig 'em), but I'd totally love to see an alternative.

Bean said:
What do you mean by "no drop," and competitive dressing would be themed rides?
Are you referring to shop-sponsored rides or club-sponsored rides or both?
I do agree. I personally like a slower paced, casual, sociable ride. We had a ride in October that was just that. Fast enough to not get clogged with people, but slow enough to make it last and be able to have a conversation with the person next to you.

justJason said:
There are rides that are touted as "no-drop" i.e. no one gets lefts behind. But the average pace (at least what I've found) is 18-20 mph, much quicker than the average cyclist rides. If you were to show up to a ride with say, a swank 3 speed, dressed pretty much as you would everyday, and everyone else there is pretty much lycra-clad and armed with the latest carbon fiber technology, I'd wager you'd be kinda intimidated.

Not saying there SHOULDN'T be quick, racy rides (I actually do dig 'em), but I'd totally love to see an alternative.

Bean said:
What do you mean by "no drop," and competitive dressing would be themed rides?
More of a shop-sponsored ride. Where everyone is invited, meet at a place, have a planned route, and a planned end point being anything from a social gathering to dinner to a work on your bike session.

J said:
Are you referring to shop-sponsored rides or club-sponsored rides or both?
The problem is that many people who own bike shops have no training in customer service/sales. They just have a hard time making connection with people. Not all, but a lot of them have this problem. Either they are driven by a desire to make money or just wanna show how much they know about bikes and talk down to you. I've done sales for a few years in college and have learned how important it is to connect to people and to be able to talk to everyone regardless of their intent or knowledge level.

I hear great stories about some shops while I hear horrible comments about others, and that is the difference. These small shops need to offer something more in terms of service and personal touch in order to be competitive with the online stores. I do, however, feel that it has gotten better in the last few years compared to 10-15 years ago when some of the shop owners were barely surviving and had to do things the old way.
I see. I ask because I've never really heard of a no-drop shop-sponsored ride open to the public. That would really be odd and unfortunate. But then again, I don't really know which shops in Chicago host rides.

I do know that sometimes this can be confusing, especially if a club/team ride meets or departs from a shop. New and prospective members will show up, and sometimes hop on. And unless there's a clear ride leader, who identifies the new person -- drops or confusion can occur. I've heard plenty of stories like this about the open xxx ride and even down here on the ucvc rides. Sadly, this can turn prospects off of the club without really getting a chance to know other riders.

Bean said:
More of a shop-sponsored ride. Where everyone is invited, meet at a place, have a planned route, and a planned end point being anything from a social gathering to dinner to a work on your bike session.

J said:
Are you referring to shop-sponsored rides or club-sponsored rides or both?
Keep your eyes open for the "Winter Solstice Ride". It should be posted here later today or perhaps tomorrow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

As far as shops go. We are looking for Ideas from all of you. We are starting all over from scratch and want to be less about bottom line and more about the cycling community as a whole.

What works for you? Please tell.

J said:
I see. I ask because I've never really heard of a no-drop shop-sponsored ride open to the public. That would really be odd and unfortunate. But then again, I don't really know which shops in Chicago host rides.
I do know that sometimes this can be confusing, especially if a club/team ride meets or departs from a shop. New and prospective members will show up, and sometimes hop on. And unless there's a clear ride leader, who identifies the new person -- drops or confusion can occur. I've heard plenty of stories like this about the open xxx ride and even down here on the ucvc rides. Sadly, this can turn prospects off of the club without really getting a chance to know other riders.
Bean said:
More of a shop-sponsored ride. Where everyone is invited, meet at a place, have a planned route, and a planned end point being anything from a social gathering to dinner to a work on your bike session.

J said:
Are you referring to shop-sponsored rides or club-sponsored rides or both?

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