I think that owning a bike shop offers a unique problem set, huge overhead costs razor thin margins and really a six month window when the majority of the business occurs... I think if you would be able to change that aspect of a bike shop you would have to be a magician of some sort, but most of the complaints about snobbery and the like seem to be inherent to bike culture from pro racing, messaging, freak bikes, classics, and even to the seasons and weather conditions people choose to ride in...
I think that if we as a community can break down our egos and realize that no matter what the differences we have, from casual bikers to the sponsored riders, we are all riding a human powered vehicle that would be a major improvement. But I think it is human nature to find your clic and create barriers and walls to protect yourself and break down others who are different.
IMHO I think that the best way of approaching a bike shop from a new perspective would have to be in the vein of Westown Bikes( I have no affiliation nor have I been), being a not for profit collective that offers a service to people, education, a space to work on bikes, and a place to build community. It doesn't eliminate the need for a bike mechanic or sales shop, but it seems to provide the eden of non snobbery that many look for. in short when you can bring down the prices of biking to give shops more leeway financially I think the paradigm can be changed, but until then the cycle will continue...
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.
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?
I Love LOVE LOVE Martin...Next runners up are Samantha and David since i haven't ridden with them yet. That's what i love about bike shops. Let's be honest unless you know the person selling you stuff they still HAVE to sell you stuff. It's a job.
Props! Its great to help people! And we rode together when Martin tagged the parked Audi...
Gabe said:I Love LOVE LOVE Martin...Next runners up are Samantha and David since i haven't ridden with them yet. That's what i love about bike shops. Let's be honest unless you know the person selling you stuff they still HAVE to sell you stuff. It's a job.
I just got back from Cycle Smithy where Samantha rang me up for a new tire!
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.